Despite only dressing 8 players due to Thursday’s trades, the Charlotte Bobcats defeated the Sacramento Kings 110-98 at the Cable Box on Friday night. Stephen Jackson settled down after an early technical foul and led the Cats with 30 points on 11-19 FG.
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The Kings were without their best player, Tyreke Evans (plantar fasciitis), and aren’t that good with him, so this is nothing to get too excited about. Nonetheless, there were some encouraging signs.
Obviously, the fact that the Cats were able to win so shorthanded is a story. After the expected starting five of DJ, Gerald Henderson, Jack, Diaw and Kwame Brown, the Cats could only call on Shaun Livingston, Matt Carroll and Eduardo Najera off the bench. Winning any NBA game with just those 8 guys is noteworthy no matter the opponent.
But most importantly, the guys that need to step up did so — at least for one night.
For better or worse, this is Jack’s team the rest of the season. And under stressful circumstances, made even more so by the presence of his nemesis, referee Eli Roe, you wouldn’t have been blamed for expecting the worst of Jackson going into the game. Like clockwork, Roe called Jackson for a charge just minutes into the game. Jack was immediately rattled, drew a tech (from Derrick Stafford, to be fair), and was benched. But Jack was able to gather himself, avoid any further trouble with the referees, and pour in his 30.
DJ Augustin played his second straight solid game coming out of the All-Star break, torching Beno Udrih for 23 points on 9-11 shooting.
And Gerald Henderson dropped 21 points (8-17 FG, 5-6 FT) to continue his strong February.
- On the other hand, Boris Diaw was pretty much a no-show. Knowing Boris, he’ll probably give pretty much the same effort tomorrow night, but end up with a near-triple-double.
- I appreciate what Eduardo Najera has brought to the table in Tyrus Thomas’ absence. On some nights, his toughness and defense have been a godsend to Paul Silas. But this better be the first and only time I see him shoot five three-pointers in a game.
- DeMarcus Cousins was fun. Where to start? 13 points, 10 rebounds and 7 turnovers. Seven turnovers? But the talent is obvious, and in such a huge body. If the Kings could get an elite young point guard (Kyrie Irving?), move Evans to the 2, and have those three figure it out together — watch out. And then there was the random benching to start the second half. But my favorite is Cousins’ array of scowls. Seriously, he had this one in the first half when a call didn’t go his way that showed elite, freakish expressionism. I’m thinking Cousins is going to be the first rookie since Rashad McCants to make it to my 1st Team All-Sourpuss squad. Hopefully he’ll get to spend some time with Stephen Jackson at the photo shoot, because I think those two are kindred spirits.
- So I see that Indiana lost to the blown-up Jazz, which means the Bobcats are just a half-game out of the 8th playoff spot. You know, it’s not as if the Pacers are some juggernaut, or some veteran-laden steady team. They’re young, with an interim coach, and they rely pretty heavily on Danny Granger. I’m just saying it’s not impossible for the Cats to overtake them, especially with Tyrus Thomas getting ready to return. Stranger things have happened.
- The Cats will practice tomorrow, and expect to have Joel Pryzbilla, Dante Cunningham and DJ White there to get acclimated. Next game is Sunday evening, 6PM ET against the Magic in Orlando.