Both the Charlotte Observer and the AP chose to comment on Gerald Wallace's relationship with Larry Brown and the player's subsequent growth this season as the ledes to their recaps of the Bobcats' 96-85 victory over the Knicks.
And why not? Wallace scored 23 points on 7-12 shooting, grabbed 9 rebounds, and dished 8 assists. It was vintage Gerald Wallace, from the loping dribble on the break to the shot swatted off the glass, and no one New York threw out there had a chance at stopping him.
Brown can be as self-serving as he wants and talk about how Wallace "just wants to be coached", and Wallace can attribute all he wants to Brown, but Crash isn't really a better player than he was when on the court in 05-06, or 06-07. His rebounds, assists, shooting rates, blocked shots, and turnovers are all right in line with what he's done throughout his career. Steals and per minute scoring are down a bit, but I suspect that's a function of gambling less on defense and having more than one other legit scoring option in Raja and Boris; he's probably a little better on defense, and the same on offense, but other guys are also threats to score, so he looks unselfish (a HUGE plus in certain value systems) whenever they get theirs. Whatever, though. If it means more people appreciate what Wallace brings to the table, I can live with all the stuff said people make up in their heads to get there.
If the Bobcats had lost, Raymond Felton would have been the goat. Seriously, dude. You are not DJ Augustin. The rookie's a better offensive player than you are. He's quicker off the ball. A better shooter. Turns it over slightly less. You, sir, shouldn't lead the team in field goal attempts with 4 more than anyone else. You shoot 29% from three, and 41% from the field, so maybe you ought to be more selective with your shots and do everything in your power to keep from going 3-17 again.
Augustin came in to the game and lit up the Knicks, so it was positively baffling that Brown removed him with only a few minutes to go and left the game in Felton's hands. The notion of a hot hand may be a bunch of kerflooey, but Augustin's simply never a black hole on the court, while Felton goes there at times.
All in all, a satisfying win on the weekend in front of a packed house. It's a shame the season's going to end with four straight games on the road.
-- Gerald gets the pub, but Augustin's 19 off the bench on 8-9 shooting in only 26 minutes barely warrants a mention by the AP.
-- I've been to enough games I've memorized and can parrot the Lady Cats' choreography to Rihanna singing "Live Your Life" just before tip. The Official Girlfriend of Rufus on Fire thinks that when I do the dance in the stands it's simultaneously adorable and the most embarrassing thing this side of being driven to prom by your parents.
-- At halftime, One Tree Hill took over the arena to shoot a sequence. The AP story gives away what that sequence was. For anyone who follows the show (like my buddy, Eric, who claims it's legitimately a great television series because it's got something for everyone), I won't give it away, but it was certainly fascinating to be there while the PA announcer told the crowd and crew what to do.