I don’t want to say I’m devastated, but color me disappointed. With a sellout crowd of over 19,200 on hand for the annual Charlotte Bobcats Nascar night, featuring 4-time Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson and Ladycat Jordan’s boyfriend Denny Hamlin, I would’ve hoped for a big win and settled for just a win. I mean, with a crazy home record of 18-4 coming in, what else should I expect? And at the end of regulation, it seemed that was what was going to happen. But instead, the Bobcats came out totally flat for overtime and were outscored 14-3 in the period to lose by a final of 106-95, after coming back from a 16 point deficit in regulation.
The game started off rather tepidly, with Charlotte losing each of the first three quarters and entering the 4th down by 10. About the only bright spots up to that point were Nazr Mohammed (12 points/9 rebounds) and Raymond Felton (14/5/4 assists) playing solidly on both ends of the floor. Soon to be named All-Star Gerald Wallace was held scoreless for much of the game, although he did finish with 9 points and 10 rebounds. In the fourth, along with Wallace, DJ Augustin (22/2/1) and DeSagana Diop (6/4/2 Blocks) asserted themselves as key players in the comeback. Diop would’ve had 8 points, but a jumper from about 10 feet out was called off for a shot clock violation. Down 92-90 with 6.8 seconds left, the ‘Cats came out of the timeout and Stephen Jackson (15/5/4) hit a floater from under the basket to send the game into OT. After that, well, lets just say it wasn’t pretty.
If you want to find places to put the blame, there are plenty. The Bobcats missed 6 free throws in 22 attempts, shot just 39.8 percent from the field (including a combined 10-38 from Boris Diaw, Stephen Jackson, and Gerald Wallace), and outside of DJ Augustin’s 5-9 3 point shooting, the team was 4 of 18, which comes out at an atrocious 22.2 percent. They had their shots blocked 11 times and were outrebounded by 7. And while it appears that the officials cannot count to three when the Magic have possesion, the Bobcats could have won despite bad officiating – which had Stephen Jackson complaining all night long, including him being assessed with the game’s only technical foul – that allowed Howard the freedom to have dinner and dessert in the lane. They had their chances and let it get away.
Charlotte now starts a six game road trip:
Monday in Denver (facing former Bobcat Malik Allen and G/F Stevie Graham’s brother Joey) – Sportsouth 9:00 ET
Tuesday in Pheonix (facing former Bobcats Jason Richardson and Jared Dudley) -FSCR 9:00 ET
Friday in Golden State (facing former Bobcat Vladi Radmanovic and announcer Dell Curry’s son Stephen) – FSCR 10:30 ET
Saturday in Sacramento (facing former Bobcat and tub of lard Sean May) – Sportsouth 10:00 ET
Monday the first in Portland (facing former Bobcat Juwan Howard) – Sportsouth 10:00 ET
Wednesday the third in Los Angeles against the Lakers (facing former Bobcats Shannon Brown and Adam Morrison) – Sportsouth 10:30 ET
Notes: Tyson Chandler missed the game once again, and while he is supposedly “day-to-day” I don’t think we’ll be seeing him anytime soon….DJ Augustin appeared to regain his confidence for at least the fourth quarter, expecting to make shots instead of hoping….Larry Brown played his centers 46 out of a possible 53 minutes, which is one of the highest amounts in a long time….Brandon Bass, the player many Bobcats fans have been clamoring for in a trade, had a DNP-CD, so don’t expect to see him in a Charlotte uniform….Dwight Howard was the only player with a double-double, collecting 10 points and 20 rebounds….The Bobcats wore special NASCAR themed uniforms, with checkered side panels; Jimmie Johnson recieved a special #4 “Johnson” jersey at halftime in honor of his 4 championships….