Coming out of the gate, Gerald Henderson continued his recent brisk scoring pace, making three of four shots. Dante Cunningham was also quite effective offensively for the Bobcats, matching the offensive output of Gerald Henderson behind typical mid-range shooting. The Nets were able to hold a lead throughout the quarter behind the scoring prowess of Sasha Vujacic (Yes, you read that correctly. Vujacic took seven shots and was one the main scoring catalysts for the Nets during the quarter. This seems to be an unfortunate but necessary need for the current injury-depleted roster of the Nets.). Also contributing offensively for the Nets was Brook Lopez, with eight points and a single (and presumably lonely) rebound. The Nets led 29-25 as the quarter came to the close.
The Nets seemed significantly out of rhythm to open the quarter (notably Travis Outlaw, whose shot looked definitively out of sync) and the Bobcats momentarily were within a point of the Nets. However, the Nets quickly roared back behind a seemingly confident Jordan Farmar and a dunkathonic Brandon Wright (The word "dunkathonic" may not be in the dictionary, but it seems fitting considering the number of dunks that he seemed to achieve with ease). The ball movement of both teams actually significantly improved by mid-quarter, and Ben Uzoh even made a three. Just as quickly as it improved, the Nets offense soon began to stall. This was partially due to the inability of the Nets to get the ball into the post to Brook Lopez, and partially due to a plentiful number of threes taken and missed by Stephen Graham. The Nets soon corrected these problems, and Brook Lopez, whom the Bobcats had no answer for defensively throughout the game, quickly scored six points. D.J. Augustin was able to intelligently drive to the basket and score near the end of the quarter, helping the Bobcats stay close to the lead of the Nets. Both teams frequently had difficulties defensively, often completely forgetting to rebound or display any kind of interior defense. As a generally even second quarter came to a close, the Nets led 53-49, going into halftime.
The third quarter opened up slowly, with the Nets shooting 0-5 in the first 2:30 of the quarter. Gerald Henderson and Boris Diaw continued to shoulder the majority of the scoring burden for the Bobcats, making wide-open shots as Nets defenders looked on, often helplessly. Jordan Farmar scored the first six Nets' points to open the quarter, and the lackluster (which is probably an understated adjective in this case) play of the Nets allowed the Bobcats to take a 66-60 lead with 5:34 remaining. When Ben Uzoh subbed into the game for Farmar in the middle of the third quarter, the Nets offense largely ran plays to aid in posting up and isolating Brook Lopez, who then distributed the ball well to cutting Nets' guards. The Bobcats, who had the advantage at every position (skill-wise) other than center, began to increase their lead (Random note: I love Gerald Henderson's catch-and-shoot mid-range jumper to a terrific extent). Lopez came to life even more offensively as the quarter came to a close, and the Bobcats' lead dwindled down to 79-73 going into the third quarter.
The fourth quarter continued the trends of the third quarter, with the two teams trading jumpers and missed layups. Brook Lopez impressively fought through defensive double teams, and Gerald Henderson was able to make an equally impressive quick-release hook shot at one point. The Nets continued to make minuscule yet consistent dents into the Bobcats' lead, largely behind some very impressive offensive moves by Brook Lopez (Kwame Brown seemed unable to guard him frequently, and even double teams were often ineffective against Lopez.). After a made jump shot by Vujacic and two free throws by Farmar, the Nets were tied with the Bobcats, 91-91, with a little more than three minutes remaining. Dante Cunningham answered the Nets charge (with one of his many made jump shots on the night), only to be countered by another Vujacic three-pointer. For one of the first times during the night, the Nets' home crowd seemed to become somewhat lively, even booing Boris Diaw as he attempted a free throw. However, with1:06 remaining, Diaw soon took the wind out of the crowd's proverbial sails with a coolly confident step-up three-pointer. Following a made floater by Lopez, Cunningham answered with yet another jump shot, putting the Bobcats up three with 12.7 seconds remaining. On the next Nets' possession (with the Nets needing a three pointer to tie the game), Sasha Vujacic snuck into the corner, caught the ball on the inbounds, and hit an open three, tying the game at 103-103 with 10.9 seconds remaining. With the Bobcats needing someone to step up and secure a Bobcats' victory, D.J. Augustin delivered. After a Boris Diaw screen at the top of the key, Augustin created separation from his defender with a quick dribble move, stepped back to a point just within the three-point line, and calmly made a jumper with only 1.1 seconds remaining. After the Nets were unable to produce a shot attempt in the final second, the Bobcats claimed a close victory, 105-103.
Key Performances: Bobcats
D.J. Augustin: 19 points (8-17 FG), 11 assists, 4 rebounds
Dante Cunningham: 21 points (10-16 FG), 4 rebounds, and 3 assists
Boris Diaw: 20 points (8-11 FG), 6 assists, and 2 rebounds
Key Performances: Nets
Brook Lopez: 31 points (12-23 FG, 7-8 FT), 4 assists, and 3 rebounds
Jordan Farmar: 20 points (8-12 FG), 9 assists, and 3 rebounds
Sasha Vujacic: 19 points (7-13 FG, 3-5 3PT), 3 assists, and 3 rebounds
Random TIdbits, Facts, and Observations
- Am I the only one who thinks that Jordan Farmar's hair is looking kind of cool as of late?
- At one point, I think I heard the Nets play-by-play announcer, Ian Eagle, say that Brook Lopez had "feathery touch", after a made shot by Lopez. I wasn't one-hundred percent sure what it meant, but I thought it sounded pretty accurate.
- Dan Gadzuric left in the third quarter with an apparent injury, but returned to play late in the fourth quarter.
- Dante Cunningham 21-point game was his career-high for scoring in a single game. Good work, Mr. Cunningham.