Charlotte Bobcats vs Mavs 3/1/10
The Charlotte Bobcats fell to the Dallas Mavericks at the Cable Box 89-84, falling to 0-12 versus Dirk and Co. all time. AP recap here, box score here. After fleetingly moving up into the 8th spot when Miami lost back-to-back games over the weekend, the Cats have fallen back to 9th place in the East at 28-30 overall.
The Cats came out strong in this one, building an early 20-9 lead midway through the first quarter. Another spurt to end the second had the Cats up 53-43 at the half. Tyrus Thomas had a great first half, keeping Dirk quiet on the defensive end and pacing the Cats with 12 points.
But the second half was a different story, as the Cats could only muster 31 points the rest of the way and were overtaken midway through the fourth quarter. The offense looked like a hot mess.
Here’s what you need to know: The Cats had more turnovers (11) in the second half than field goals (9). Tyrus Thomas led the Cats with 16 FGA. Gerald Wallace had just 8, with only 1 (a 20 foot jumper) in the deciding fourth quarter. Stephen Jackson finished with 20 points on 6-14 FG, but spent more time fussing at referees and turning the ball over (6 times) than scoring. There were three airballs in the fourth quarter, plus a monumental brick by Boris on a three attempt.
Meanwhile, despite decent defensive efforts from Boris Diaw and Tyrus Thomas, Dirk Nowitzki heated up and finished with 27 on 12-23 FG to put the Cats away. Caron Butler went for 22 on 10-16 FG, while Jason Terry contributed 20 on 8-17 FG off the bench. The Mavericks are now the hottest team in the league with 8 wins in a row.
Why did the Cats fade so badly after a solid first half? You could argue that the Cats don’t have a go-to guy like Dirk, who can get buckets and draw double-teams. You’d be partially right, but in Stephen Jackson we have the closest thing we’ve ever had to that guy, and he’s been pretty good this season.
You could argue that the pressure of facing the elite Mavericks, knowing that they were winless against them all-time, got to the Cats and caused some tightness. I couldn’t prove you wrong. It’s certainly happened before.
But tonight it appeared that the main factor was fatigue. I tweeted halfway through the fourth quarter that the Bobcats looked to have “run out of gas” and I was right. You could just feel the exhaustion and sense that the Mavs had more in the tank. (Sad, since they were coming off a late back-to-back AND are more veteran-heavy than the Cats are.)
We’ve been worried about it all season. Gerald Wallace leads the league at 42.4 minutes per game, while Stephen Jackson is sixth at 39.5. Now look at the the rest of the guys at the top of that list (Monta Ellis, Rudy Gay, Kevin Durant, etc.) — all younger. Crash and Jack have too many miles on them to be playing 40+ minutes a game regularly, and I fear that we’re starting to see all that court time take a toll.
- Glad that Jordan finally bought the team, hope it leads to him being around and engaged more often, but I could care less whether he plays HORSE with Gerald Henderson at shootaround or gladhands local politicians. Wake me when he does some real homework and makes a good first round draft selection, or shows some understanding of the salary cap.
- No Nazr (back spasms), Chandler (foot/ankle) or Diop (knee) tonight. Really could use Nazr back playing 15-20 mins, then Theo playing 10. Might allow Gerald to get a couple more minutes of rest.
- So the Cats won’t be signing Larry Hughes or Mike James, but what about Michael Finley? Sounds like he’s headed for the Celtics or Lakers, and not sure how much he brings to the table anymore, but you’d hope that Jordan/Higgins at least make a call. Is Finley still a Brand Jordan guy?
- Next game is Wednesday night in Boston — sounds like Pierce will be back in the lineup.