The story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde best personifies the 2010-11 Charlotte Bobcats campaign. After spending the latter part of February and early March mired in a losing slump, we as Bobcats fans were spending just as much time talking about lottery selections in the NBA Draft, as we were first round playoff match-ups. However, the Ides of March have now brought upon us a three game winning streak capped by last night’s dramatic finish against Milwaukee at the Cable Box in Uptown Charlotte.
Stephen Jackson led the Bobcats’ score sheet with 18 points, but Gerald Henderson stole the show in the waning moments. Scoring the final seven points for Charlotte, Henderson came off of well-positioned screens and nailed back-to-back jumpers from the elbow in clutch fashion to secure the Bobcats win. The second-year pro has stepped up all year since Coach Silas gave him the green light and his future is bright in the Queen City. Prior to being injured late in the game, DJ Augustin was dishing out dimes like candy. DJ’s replacement, Shaun Livingston was sidelined as well in the third quarter after Drew Gooden went WWE on him with a pretty brutal foul. D-League call-up Garrett Temple filled in nicely down the stretch and the rest of the Charlotte bench shouldered the load for the ailing Bobcats.
The crowd was in it down the stretch and helped the Bobcats get that extra push to keep the Bucks at bay. Gerald Henderson rolled off a beautiful screen from Dante Cunningham and nailed the go-ahead bucket with 21 seconds left in the game. After Brandon Jennings missed what appeared to be a pretty clear path to a floating lay-up with 12 seconds left, Charlotte recovered the loose ball and the man-of-the-hour, Gerald Henderson called a time-out from the floor with ball in hand. After one failed inbounds attempt by Boris Diaw, the ‘Cats called a second time-out to re-group. They should have shelved Diaw and let someone with more confidence be the player putting the ball in play, but again it was Boris. After almost getting a second 5-second call, Diaw tossed the ball towards Stephen Jackson amongst a crowd of Bucks players. Milwaukee recovered the ball and drove down the court and put the ball in Jennings’ hands for the win. He blows the first attempt, but Milwaukee gets the rebound, dishes it back out to Jennings on the wing for another attempt, but it falls short. Carlos Delfino comes flying through the lane for a last second tip –in attempt on the Jennings miss, and the game ends in epic fashion. Breathless for the last few seconds is the best way to describe the finish in Uptown.
Milwaukee’s towering presence that is known as Andrew Bogut had his way all night in the paint against Charlotte dropping 26 points and grabbing 9 rebounds. Brandon Jennings brought his “A” game and complimented the big guy with 26 points as well. Jennings was worth the price of admission as he routinely shook defenders and diced through the Bobcats defense. Adding insult to injury, Jennings also snagged 8 rebounds against a weak Charlotte interior. The Bucks owned the paint all evening and the lack of a big man was present for all 48 minutes of this game. Chalrotte’s Kwame Brown was inactive due to a family emergency, which would probably have limited the Bucks on the glass and in the lane. DJ Augustin, Shaun Livingston and Tyrus Thomas suffered injuries in the game last night, and they are listed day-to-day.
The thrilling win last night vaults Charlotte one game ahead of Milwaukee in the race for the final playoff spot. However, we still sit one game behind Indiana, who seems to mirror our play almost identically. They own the tiebreaker, but we have two games in hand on them. With nine games to go until the end of the regular season, let’s hope there’s more Hyde than Jekyll.