Bobcats Show Signs Of Life, Defeat Rockets


The Charlotte Bobcats defeated the Houston Rockets 99-89 on Friday night at the Cable Box behind a strong second half and double-doubles from Boris Diaw and Gerald Wallace.  The Cats started out sluggish (again) and were down by as much as 11 in the second quarter.

But the Bobcats starting five (Nazr Mohammed edition) took control in the third quarter and never looked back; they outscored the Rockets 54-37 in the second half.  Now I’ll have to qualify this by noting that the Rockets were without Aaron Brooks and Yao Ming (and weren’t very good with them, anyways), but the way the Bobcats played in the second half was the closest to how they played last year during their playoff push that I’ve seen yet this year.

AP Recap |  Box Score


  • The Rockets were seriously underpowered.  What happened to Kevin Martin?  16 quiet points; though apparently he is averaging 23 ppg this year.  Just didn’t see it tonight.
  • Gerald had another tough shooting night (6-21 FG) but kept at it and ended up leading the Cats with 21 points, 14 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals and 2 blocks.  He had another spectacular block of a Chase Budinger breakaway jam that was wrongly called a foul.
  • Boris Diaw stole the show offensively in the second half, ending with 20 points (9-14 FG) on a mix of long and mid-range jumpers, hooks and scoops.  He even had a strong drive to the bucket that ended in a near-dunk.  I see in the play-by-play that it’s being credited as a dunk, and that’s very kind of the home scorekeeper.  Boris also added 10 rebounds.
  • Stephen Jackson (16 points), Nazr Mohammed (15 points on 6-9 FG, 7 rebounds), and DJ Augustin (11 assists/1 turnover) all had nice games.
  • Off the bench, Ty Thomas was quiet, but Shaun Livingston had one of his better games as a Bobcat, with 10 points on 4-7 FG.
  • So this is my third year being a season-ticket-holder, and I’ve successfully avoided being shown on the scoreboard bigscreen.  But tonight, I attended the game with Cardboard Gerald, and my streak was ended during the first possible break in the first quarter.  Such is the power of Cardboard Gerald.
  • One of the LadyCats’ hair extensions fell out while she was dancing.  I can cross that one off my Bucket List now.
  • The Bobcats are headed to Milwaukee for the second night of another back-to-back — 9PM ET start Saturday night.

-Dr. E

Baseline Observations : Rockets @ Bobcats 3.13.09


Rockets defeat Bobcats 3.13.2009

The Charlotte Bobcats let a close one slip away against the Houston Rockets on Friday the 13th.  Like a true NBA competition, it all came down to crunch time.

Box Score | Recap 

Throughout all four quarters, this was a tight game with each team trading the lead and “mini-runs” to counter each other.  The largest player on the court was also the the most dominant – Yao Ming.  There was really no answer for Yao, who showed a full array of post moves, defense, and shooting range.  The Bobcats focused most of their defense on quieting the rest of the Rockets and accepting their fate against Yao in the paint.  Obviously facing a tough match, Emeka Okafor had no luck offensively early in the game and he was visibly tired from his work inside against the 7’6″ center.  Larry Brown chose to plug Desagana Diop into the game to rest Okafor, and his fresh legs may have helped to restrain Yao briefly.

Elsewhere on the court, Boris Diaw was caught in early foul trouble and Vlade Radmanovic benefited from a bump in first half minutes.  He really took advantage of the opportunity during the second quarter with a series of drives and great outside shooting.  Rad Man really used his assignment on Brent Barry well.  Barry is an easy cover for a player as big as Vlade and couldn’t catch up as the Serbian came off screens.  While neither team was explosive on offense in the first half, Gerald Wallace found his usual numbers by playing like Gerald Wallace.  More importantly, he kept Ron Artest from finding a rhythm in the first half.

The Rockets have a force of a trio in Yao Ming, Ron Artest, and Shane Battier.  All can score in the paint, play strong defense, and hit mid-range shots.  The Bobcats survived the first half with only Yao scoring well.  The third quarter saw Charlotte struggling to knock down shots and Houston’s trio warming up.  Both Raymond Felton and Raja Bell threw repeated bricks at the rim.  Bell didn’t register a shot for the entire quarter.  Boris Diaw couldn’t find consistency in his offense and after a quick foul, he had to play a bit softer than usual on Luis Scola.  Scola took advantage of the match up and showed his inside game, taking Diaw into the paint at every chance.

Despite their struggles on offense, the Bobcats entered the fourth quarter down only by 5 points.  The game became much more intense after a few minutes of the final period.  The Bobcats pushed to close the gap to 3 pts (72-69) with a string of steals that lead to fast break buckets.   Each team then tightened their defense and traded stops before Vlade Radmanovich was fouled shooting a 3 point attempt.  He knocked down 2 of 3 and the Bobcats were only behind by 1 with seven minutes left in the game.

The Rockets regained the lead but after a big steal and save by Raja Bell on Houston’s side of the court, Bell tipped in a put back attempt by Okafor to give Charlotte a 1 point lead.  By this point – it was crunch time.  

Raymond Felton returned to replace DJ Augustin and Gerald Wallace rotated back in for Radmanovich. Augustin had searched for offense the entire game with little success shooting or creating assists.  He frequently lost track of the perimeter shooters when driving into the lane.  The inside presence of the Rockets didn’t allow DJ a single chance to use his reverse layup move, so he had to pass to the nearest teammate – thus, extinguishing the set play for that possession.  In contrast, Felton attempted shots when the opportunity presented itself and passed based upon what he was reading on the court.  The Bobcats guards came up big in the final stretch of the game.  Although Raja Bell had shot a terrible 2 of 12 going into the 4th, he was determined to keep shooting.  Luckily, he started hitting the baskets that the Cats needed.

It looked like a rough ending for Charlotte at 2:08 left in the fourth.  But there was still more action to come.  With the shot clock running down on the Rockets Yao Ming caught a pass at the top of the key and knocked down a three pointer (his first of the season) to push Houston’s lead to 6.  Coach Brown called a time out and somehow things started to click.  Raja Bell answered with a 3 and then Diaw put in a quick layup after a Felton steal to close the deficit to 1 point.

On the next possession, Ron Artest was determined to make a big play and held the ball longer than anyone had all game.  Gerald Wallace matched him move for move and as Yao Ming attempted to set a screen for Artest he fouled Wallace turning possession over to the Bobcats.  Less than a minute was left in the game and Charlotte need to score.  Okafor missed a close attempt inside against Yao, but the ball bounced back to the direction of Raja Bell who shot it off the glass and through the rim.  Cats took the lead 86 – 85, but that didn’t last long.  Ron Artest shook Gerald Wallace off of him and hit an open shot from the top of the key to put the Rockets ahead by 1.  Following a miss by Raja Bell (his first of the fourth quarter), the Bobcats had to play the foul game. After Aaron Brooks put in two free throws, a three pointer was Charlotte’s only hope of tying the game.  Unfortunately, Ron Artest saw the play coming from a mile away and blocked Radmanovich’s attempt with 7 seconds left, snatched up the ball, and put it in on a fast break to seal the game.