ORLANDO, FL - APRIL 18: Jameer Nelson #14 of the Orlando Magic drives past Raymond Felton #20 of the Charlotte Bobcats in Game One of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2010 NBA Playoffs at Amway Arena on April 18, 2010 in Orlando, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)
Stephen Jackson battled through a hyperextended knee suffered at the end of the first half to finish with 18 points and 9 rebounds, but Gerald Wallace was the Cats' most dominant player, scoring 25 and pulling down 17 rebounds. For the Magic, Dwight Howard tallied 9 blocks (though 1 was clearly a goaltend, and I counted at least 2 that were mere near-blocks that the hometown statistician gave him), and Jameer Nelson torched the Bobcats in the first half, ending up with a game-high 32 points.
The main takeaway is that the Cats played tough, and even though they were never in control of the game, they made it closer by the end than the first half indicated it should have been. Again, with a little luck, the Bobcats could have changed the complexion of the game earlier in the third quarter and created a more favorable situation in crunch time.
Game thread comments, lowlights, and highlights after the jump.
GAME THREAD COMMENTS
baron_davis needs a fro -- If you can make the Magic stop hitting 3’s, contain Dwight Howard, and stop getting blocked by him, I’m pretty sure you’ll win this game. :))
stingy d -- I just don't understand Jax sitting unless he is done. But he played. I figured he was still ok.
-- Jameer Nelson shot 10-18 from the field and Rashard Lewis shot 8-11. Though I remember many of Nelson's shots were contested, and I suspect that he was a bit lucky to finish with as many makes as he did, the Magic's other jump shooters weren't pressured nearly enough, resulting in 13-30 shooting from behind the arc for Orlando.
-- I'm supremely annoyed that Larry Hughes played 20 minutes while Tyrus Thomas played only 8, even if it was because Jax got hurt. Thomas was a part of one of the team's most effective units (with Felton, Jackson, Wallace, and Diaw) and Hughes is the most dangerous type of gunner: the one who's convinced he's far better than he is. We've already got Jax for our gunning needs. Hughes didn't lose the game for us, but crikey, he puts me on edge when he's in.
-- Gerald Wallace shot 8-13 from the field for 25 points and pulled down a game-high 17 rebounds. At the very least, he's showing a national audience what we've been seeing all season long.
-- Stephen Jackson played much of the second half, even after hyperextending his knee on the final sequence of the second quarter. Though he shot 6-18 from the field on his way to 18 points, he also grabbed 9 rebounds.