Bobcats Baseline Observations: Magic @ Bobcats 1/23/10
With their two stars struggling (more on that later), the Bobcats still managed to take the Eastern Conference Champs to OT due to the efforts of D.J. Augustin and Gana Diop. D.J. brought out his ’08-’09 game tonight going 8-14 from the field with five threes finishing with 22 points – most of them CLUTCH as the Bobcats were making their 4th quarter run. D.J.’s best game of the year without a doubt.
DIOP-IT-LIKE-IT’S-HOT defended Dwight Howard (10 points) so well in his 22 minutes of work, that Mark Cuban’s decision to offer Gana the full mid-level a couple of years ago now looks quasi-sane. Diop’s stats don’t look like much (6pts, 4rbs, 2blks) but his presence was felt on defense and his ability to run the floor in transition kept the Magic honest.
The Bobcats found themselves down by as much as sixteen points in the third quarter due to a barrage of three pointers by Rashard Lewis, Jameer Nelson, Vince Carter and JJ Redick. It wasn’t that the ‘Cats were playing bad defense, the Magic were just hitting a lot of ridiculous shots. Lewis’ 6’10” frame and long wingspan makes his high-release three unguardable; Nelson was having a St. Joe’s flashback with a gimpy Raymond Felton playing tight; Carter dominated early and disappeared late (surprise); while JJ checked in, got the “Christian Laetner Memorial Greeting” from the fans – then coldly nailed a three.
When the Magic are hitting their trifectas (14 total, 36% behind the arc) there’s not much a team can do other than try to match shots. Which brings us to…
Eight of Twenty-Nine. That’s what Stephen Jackson and Gerald Wallace shot combined. Add in Boris Diaw’s 2-9 and Raymond’s 6-15 and you have the starters KILLING the team’s chances for victory by anchoring a 40% shooting performance. Not to take anything away from the Magic (especially in OT when they took it to another level trapping D.J. and Ray on the perimeter and taking away the pick and roll) but JAX and CRASH just couldn’t get anything going. If Jackson normally “makes love to pressure” then this was a game in need of CIALIS. JAX launched ugly shot after shot and spent most of the game jack-jawing with the officials.
Same goes for Wallace – who didn’t help his All-Star campaign by registering a DUD while being held in check by defensive maestro Vince Carter (seriously, this actually happened).
The team’s focus seemed to be on the upcoming road trip for most of the game and this was exploited during the OT lay-down that saw Orlando scoring the first eleven points of the extra frame.
- 19,000+ at the TWC tonight! NICE JOB BOBCATS FANS! Maybe DR E’s recent crowd pimping really worked.
- If I had any remaining insecurities about my uber-receding hairline, they are now fully eliminated after seeing HD close-ups of Vince Carter. Thanks Vince.
- Raymond didn’t have a great game but his gutsy performance coming off of the ankle sprain was appreciated. If the team can ink him to a deal of around $6.5 – $7 million per, he’ll be a high value player in the League.
- As well as Nazr has been playing recently, he still doesn’t punch in those easy 2-footers as consistently or emphatically as Tyson Chandler. Chandler missed his 14th consecutive game and let’s hope that the team can get something out of him (either on the court or via trade) before the season is over.
Enjoy the Loss Bobcats Fans…