The Charlotte Bobcats played two excellent games at home, but still got swept by the Orlando Magic, losing Game 4, 99-90. If we learned any Big Picture Lessons from this series, it's that the Magic are a juggernaut with Dwight Howard and merely very solid without him. That's scary for all the other teams in the NBA. LeBron may be taking names, but I'm wondering if I should come with the Magic if I want to live.
With 3:30 to go in the game, Stephen Jackson drove the lane and tried to lay it in. There was contact, but it wasn't clear if there was a foul. Jackson went down in a heap in the lane while the Magic gathered up the miss and took it the other way. For just a split second, he was thoroughly defeated and so over this series. Thirty seconds later, fouled Tyrus Thomas on another drive at the rim. Howard and Vince Carter did that fake "I'm laughing about this but really I'm mocking the referees' incompetence" laugh.
Big Bad Dwight didn't like the refs' performance the past four games, and he was as open as he could be about it, but, of course, if you ask Bobcats fans, just about all of them would probably say there were way more calls going the other way. Which just goes to show that nobody knows what a foul is. I'm just happy to not have to watch Howard's whining and Jameer Nelson's cocky strut after swishing another dagger three.
In a day or two or three, we'll have a season retrospective, start looking forward, and perhaps even enjoy the rest of the playoffs. We'll see. Have to decompress first.
Game thread comments, lowlights, and highlights after the jump.
GAME THREAD COMMENTS
and1droid -- improper use of turtleneck/blazer combination [on Stan Van Gundy]
StudMuffin15 -- Maybe [Jax] and pressure are taking a break for a bit.
-- Theo Ratliff completely fell apart. He's never been much of an offensive performer, but this was disastrous, and his defense wasn't much, either.
-- Stephen Jackson: 2-11 from the field and a team-high 4 turnovers.
-- 21-33 (64%) from the free throw line isn't going to cut it. I suck at shooting free throws, and that's what I shoot.
-- The Cats took 19 three point attempts. I love threes. They're the most effective scoring tool in basketball. But the Bobcats don't have any superb shooters; they have guys who slash to the basket both off the dribble and away from the ball and can finish at the rim. In their best games this year, their three point attempts totaled in the singled digits. The ideal -- and still somewhat realistic -- team is one that plays tremendous defense, shoots threes ridiculously well, and has a bunch of guys who can create their own baskets by getting to the rim and finishing with authority. The Magic do two of those three exceptionally well, and Dwight Howard can do the third thing. The Cats do two of three, but they abandoned going to the goal.
-- Gerald Wallace scored 17 points on 6-12 shooting, grabbing 5 rebounds in the process. No matter the results, he made this season worth watching.
-- Tyrus Thomas ended the season with a huge game: 21 points on 9-12 shooting, and 9 rebounds.
-- Yet again, the Bobcats got Howard to foul out, forcing him into foul trouble early, and keeping him there. He played less than half the game, which was a good thing, because when he did play, he got 13 rebounds.