Charlotte Bobcats @ Wizards 3/23/10
In sharp contrast to their overtime no-show last week in Atlanta, the Charlotte Bobcats went for the kill and dominated the extra period against the Washington Wizards Tuesday night to break a two game losing streak and maintain their hold of 7th place in the conference.
This Is What Happens When You Don’t Hit Jump Shots
Despite thoroughly dominating the Wiz in the paint (at last count I had the Points in Paint differential at 50-20) the Bobcats couldn’t buy a decent jumper. Check out the shot chart: The Bobcats only made one three pointer and a total of four shots outside of twenty feet for the ENTIRE GAME + OVERTIME. The poor outside shooting dropped the Bobcats’ overall shooting percentage for the game to 39.4% even though interior players Boris Diaw, Theo Ratliff and Tyrus Thomas shot better than 50% from down low.
Stephen Jackson takes most of the blame again tonight. I’m hoping that his recent struggles shooting the ball are just the result of a slump. It’s not pretty, folks (Warning: These stats are NSFW): For the month of March, JAX is 38% from the floor, 25% from downtown while adding over 3 turnovers a game. Yet inexplicably the Bobcats went to Jackson at the end of regulation for the win with just :08 on the clock. JAX measures, fakes and finally launches a guarded three. Clank. We’re goin’ to OT.
Once in OT, it was again the Raymond Felton show – Ray hit two quick buckets to set the tone for the extra period, solidifying his place as the Bobcats most clutch scorer.
MJ Has Assembled A Lot of Talent
The Wiz announcers brought it up and I’ll bring it up again, the Bobcats have a lot of talent on this roster. While it is frustrating to watch a team with so much talent struggle in a road win against a lottery squad like the Wiz, you can’t help but be amazed at how deep the team is compared to roster just two seasons ago. Tyson Chandler continued his recent progress with eight boards and five points in 19 minutes. Tyrus Thomas looked solid with a 7 & 7 off the pine in 20 minutes. D.J. showed flashes of competence.
Lord Stephen Graham, who dropped consecutive 19 point games in Crash’s absence last week didn’t even make it off the bench but is now a proven asset. The young players stuck to the end of the bench (Gerald Henderson, Derrick Brown and Alexis Ajinca) have all shown promise. The team’s two injured centers (Nazr Mohammed & Gana Diop), despite unsightly contracts, are legitimate players in the League. Oh, and then there’s the starting center…
If I’m Dwight Howard, then I’m enrolling in the Theo Ratliff mentoring program this summer. The 15 year vet was supposed to be a last ditch insurance policy in case Diop, Mohammed or Chandler couldn’t make it back. Turns out that the Cats stole a 6ppg, 4.5rpg, 1bpg quality big man at the deadline for nothing. He hits his free throws too. Theo is 20-21 from the line in March — that’s good for 95% from the stripe. Ratliff played great again tonight against the Wiz dropping 10 points and 7 boards. What’s most amazing about the 36 year old is how spry he is after all these years. Obviously genetics and body type help — he’s more in the mold of a Kareem or Mutumbo than an O’Neal or Walton — but damn, I never saw this type of performance coming.
- I’m sure Chad Ford and John Hollinger would love the Wizards’ future. Unfortunately the present pretty much sucks. Their players look very skilled but very raw. I’m not sure if Flip Saunders is the right type of coach to grow these young players into a contender. I’m certain that this isn’t what he signed up for as the Wiz seemed primed to make a Playoff push with an aggressive offseason that brought in sharpshooter Mike Miller and bench sparkplug Randy Foye from Minny in exchange for Ricky Rubio-induced blueball.
- Speaking of Minny (whom the Cats will be facing off against at home on Wednesday night), not only do the Wizards employ the T’Wolves former head coach in Flip Saunders but they’ve also brought everyone’s favorite Roswellian and former Wolves PG, Sam Cassell, into the mix as an assistant. I wonder if we’ll ever catch Cassell flaunting his phantom elephant testicles after diagramming a good play.
- The Wolves game is the start of a five game homestand for the ‘Cats. If they can take care of business in at least four of those (especially against TOR early next week), then they’ll have pretty much locked up their first Playoff appearance.