How did the Bobcats manage to sweep their home-and-home series despite injuries to Raymond Felton, Brevin Knight, and Sean May, none of whom played? Three reasons: 1) Primoz Brezec was also injured and didn’t play (ha! see the1's comment), 2) the opponent was the Atlanta Hawks, and 3) newcomer Jeff McInnis has stepped in and completely mastered the intricacies of the Coach Bernie Bickerstaff’s offensive juggernaut machine. McInnis scored 17 points, had 9 assists, and recorded no turnovers in 42 minutes of action. If Jeff were a Megadeth song, he’d be “Symphony of Destruction,” as his inbound passes to Emeka Okafor (19 points) and Gerald Wallace (12 points) dropped like bombs on Atlanta’s crumbling interior defense.
The Bobcats also got some step-up performances out of Matt Carroll (22 points on 9/12 shooting) and Adam Morrison (18 points on 8/14 shooting). In fact, the Cats shot a team record 64.9% from the field, allowing them to extend a 10-point lead at the start of the 4th quarter for a change (rather than what they usually do, which is piss it away faster than a drunk on his 10th can of Coors Light). Veteran Derek Anderson was instrumental in holding the team together down the stretch, capitalizing on mismatches and drawing fouls. I confess my own bias here, as I tend to describe a typical Anderson ploy (e.g., getting a foul on a runner that nobody in the arena—most of all Anderson himself—believes has any chance of going in) as “crafty, cagey,” whereas with Dwyane Wade I would describe the same move as “annoying, irritating.”
Gerald Wallace also continued to be everything he was before the injury, down to and including a lousy free throw shooter. He also warned after the game that his shoulder injury will affect his free throw shooting for the foreseeable future. This is pretty funny, considering he wasn’t any good at free throws to begin with, so I guess it gives him a nice out. It’d be like if Jake Delhomme comes back next year and warns that his thumb injury might affect his ability to avoid throwing terrible interceptions. But who cares, because we don't love for G-Dub for his free throws, we love him for what he did last night, which is getting to the hoop, getting two steals, and getting satisfaction for his male cravings to kill and win.
For the second straight night, the Cats also managed to contain the only real threats posed by the Hawks. Joe Johnson had a quiet 22 points (although he’s so reserved, he’d probably score a quiet 82 points). Meanwhile, Josh Smith put up just two points and—more importantly—two middle fingers, getting himself ejected after only 17 minutes. Whoever plays the Hawks next owes us one.
So no complaints here, as we’ve now crawled out of the Southeastern cellar. The only thing that continues to befuddle me is the Melvin Ely situation. We’re not playing him, nor have we traded him, and yet we’re paying him over $3 million. Only the Bobcats could manage to overpay a player while simultaneously failing to make the League’s minimum payroll requirement.