The Bobcats were slowly getting choked out by an Indiana Pacers team that was outrunning, outgunning, and outhustling them. But then the fourth quarter happened, and the Cats came roaring back, only to be stifled by sheer bad luck, losing 104-103
The Cats couldn't slow down Danny Granger, Roy Hibbert, or Darren Collison. Furthermore, their own offense went stagnant in the first three quarters. In the fourth, they found flow and dynamism, but it was frustrating to take in all the action before then. Maybe Tyrus Thomas is a freelancing wild card, but for water to flow through a pipe most efficiently, it needs a little turbulence (#fluiddynamicshumor).
Game thread comment, lowlights, and highlights after the jump.
GAME THREAD COMMENT
Bcat2.0 -- I am all for bringing some Orange back. This game is so bad we have to talk about about alternate jerseys.
-- As noted above, Hibbert had a field day, with 29 points on 19 attempts, and 10 rebounds. Kwame Brown ain't all that on defense, but he's mountains better than Eduardo Najera, and "merely" significantly better than Nazr Mohammed. Hope all is well with Brown, having to address a death in the family, and that when he comes back, it's with a clear focus.
Despite that lack of defense for most of the game, at least the Cats did eventually figure it out...
-- Stephen Jackson attempted a three in the last minute of the game that was as reckless as could be. Down two points, he missed from distance (not exactly unexpected), and the Pacers had a chance to bring the ball back down the court and essentially put the game away. Indy missed and Charlotte rebounded, leading to new life, but Jax's ill-conceived attempt put the game in jeopardy.
-- I hate bringing up refs because I do believe that bad calls usually balance out, but this game had a couple key moments that clearly went against the Cats. The inadvertent whistle that led to four Indy points was one thing. That just happens. However, failing to call a foul on Collison as Jackson was clearly bumped before the final buzzer, in the act of attempting a three, is inexcusable. I get why they don't want to make a call there, potentially making themselves the story instead of letting 'em play, but there's no way around it: that was an obvious foul that the officials declined to call because it would have made the outcome of the game dependent on a referee, not a player.
-- The primary advantage gained by playing small -- e.g.: deploying Najera alongside Boris Diaw, or Najera alongside Gerald Wallace as the Bigs -- comes from spreading the floor and forcing the center, Hibbert, to play defense uncomfortably far away from the basket. On defense, in theory, it tempts the opposition to pound the ball on the post, and that could be detrimental to their attack, such as by having Hibbert, arguably their fourth-best offensive player, using up possessions. Huge props to the Cats for making the small lineup work against a lineup featuring a true center and three guys who have played power forward at various times in their careers (Granger, Mike Dunleavy, Josh McRoberts).
-- Wallace had a monster game, scoring 22 points on 15 attempts, pulling down a team-high 9 rebounds, and getting a team-high 6 assists. Throw in 1 block, 2 steals, and 0 turnovers, and it's easy to see how Crash was an All Star last year.