Charlotte Bobcats vs Heat, 1/20/10
The Charlotte Bobcats defeated the Miami Heat 104-65 on Wednesday night at the Cable Box to improve to 21-19 and move into 5th place in the Eastern Conference. AP recap here, box score here. The win represents the largest margin of victory (39) and the least points allowed (65) in Bobcats history and caps off a perfect 6-0 home stand. The Bobcats are 9-1 in 2010 and officially the hottest team in the NBA.
How weird is that to read? It is extremely strange for me to type. Not all 9 victories in the new year have been totally impressive (just Monday the Bobcats barely withstood a furious rally to eke by the Kings), but for the most part, the Cats deserve every bit of being called the hottest team in the NBA. They are playing defense at a playoff, maybe championship level. They have not just defeated some good teams (Spurs, Suns, Heat), they have destroyed them, broken their will.
Much like the win over the Suns last Saturday night, this one was essentially over after an amazing first quarter. The Bobcats swarmed on defense and shot the lights out on offense for a 38-17 lead after 12 minutes (Jackson had 15, Nazr 10 of those 38). The Cats shot 14-18 (82%) to set a franchise record for FG% in a quarter. Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, sensing that his team was in danger of being totally overwhelmed, called 3 timeouts in the opening frame. Alas, it did no good. He could neither break the Bobcats’ momentum, nor get his own squad going.
The rest of the game was spent calmly watching out for a Heat run (ala the Kings game on Monday) that never came, then hoping that the starters would be able to get some rest down the stretch. Indeed they were able to. Stephen Jackson finished with 24 points (7-10 FG, 10-12 FT) in 33 minutes; Raymond Felton had 14 points (6-8 FG) and 5 assists in 27 minutes; Nazr Mohammed had 16 points (6-9 FG) and 10 rebounds in just 16 minutes.
You might look at Gerald Wallace’s line and wonder what all the fuss about his supposedly sprained ankle was for. Wallace’s availability was the subject of several Bonnell blog posts in the past couple days and a couple of Tweets from me today, yet he went for 20 points (5-11 FG, 8-8 FT), 10 rebounds and 5 blocks in 36 minutes. However, I will submit that Gerald was actually taking it a bit easy on the bum ankle tonight, especially on offense. Seriously, he settled for several jump shots and was rather passive on that end of the court. And still ended up with 20 points. All-Star.
- No one showed up for the Heat. Superstar Dwyane Wade was held to 16 points on 6-16 FG by Stephen Jackson. He was further dismayed when he had to share the court with Joel Anthony and Dorell Wright at times.
- BobcatsBreak has postgame video on lock.
- Raymond Felton continues to play amazing defense. Defense in the NBA is undeniably a team thing, but still, Raymond deserves particular praise.
- Gana Diop had an intersting game: 17 minutes, 7 rebounds, a steal, a huge block and 6 fouls for the DQ. And 0 points.
- If you’re feeling scroogey and looking for any negative, look no further than Acie Law. He played the last 8 minutes of junk time and was dreadful. I don’t see any way he’s in the league next year.
- Next game is Friday night in Atlanta, 7:30 PM start. Good chance to measure ourselves against a team ahead of us in the standings.
- Then the Cats are back home on Saturday night to face Superman and the Magicians (7PM start). I am expecting the biggest crowd of the year — let’s sell this one out, folks. We’ve got the hottest team in the NBA, we’re facing an elite opponent, and it’s the last home game before a Western Conference road trip — no excuse not to make it out to the game.