[picappgallerysingle id="8618127"]The playoffs put all of your faults on display for the world to see. There is no hiding, There is no covering up. If there is an area of your team that can be exploited then you better believe that it will happen in front of 20,000 screaming fans and a national television audience.
Here are two big things that we’ve learned in the first 3 games:
- Jameer Nelson is on another level than Raymond Felton. Jameer has punished Ray this series to a tune of 77 points to 36 ( the assists are a wash with 14 apiece through 3 games). We all appreciate what ray has done for the bobcats during this year’s regular season, he is tough as nails, loyal and he plays hurt, but Jameer Nelson seems to have him seriously shook.
- Boris Diaw is a piece that does not fit alongside Gerald Wallace and Stephen Jackson. In this series the bobcats desperately needed a 3rd scorer to step up and take some of the pressure off of Crash and Jax. Boris responded with 6, 5 & 6 points in 3 games. In 3 games he has only taken 17 shots when people have been begging him to shoot. His lack of aggressiveness is a huge problem.
Looking at game 3, the Bobcats had so many things going in their favor. They had the wildest crowd to see an NBA game in this city in at least 10 years.
They managed to get Dwight Howard in foul trouble yet again, limiting him to 13 points and 8 rebounds in only 26 minutes before he fouled out with 3 minutes remaining in the 4th. They limited Rashard Lewis to 14 points, they held Vince Carter to 10 points but still managed to leave this game down 0-3. How did they manage to do this? Jameer Nelson lit up the Bobcats again with 32 points (19 in the first quarter), 4 rebounds, 3 assists and 4 steals. The combination of Raymond Felton and DJ Augustin simply could not contain him. If you can’t figure out NBA handicapping you can still win by following the free NBA picks offered by experts.
The crowd was giddy when Howard had three fouls – and a technical to boot from referee Joe Crawford – with 10:40 left in the first half after getting called for an offensive foul tangling with Chandler in the post.
It didn’t matter early with Nelson dominating. As in Game 1, Nelson constantly beat Felton off the dribble for easy layups when he wasn’t hitting 3-pointers. His four-point play that included the sight of Felton flailing away in attempt to grab him, ended a 19-point, 7-for-7 first quarter.
Even though Nelson was ripping the Bobcats point guards apart, the Bobcats were still in excellent position to win this game when Dwight Howard fouled out with a few minutes remaining. With Howard out of the game the Bobcats should have made drive after drive to the basket, but instead they let the Magic off the hook by taking ( and missing ) several three pointers in those closing minutes. I hate to say that they panicked, but they clearly did not take advantage of Howard being out of the game, instead they settled for threes which is clearly not their strength.
Next up, game 4 at home Monday night. Let’s hope that the fans bring the same level of energy that they did on Saturday afternoon and lets hope that the players are not discouraged after that painful loss in game 3.