Let's set the scene.
The Bobcats are up by 16. Earlier in the game, DeSagana Diop dribbled baseline, spun against Kris Humphries, knocking him down and hit a turnaround jump shot. Brook Lopez, after scoring 66 points over the Nets' previous two games, has been held to four points. It seemed like everything was going in the Bobcats' favor.
Then the crowd started doing The Wave.
It was all downhill from there, in every aspect. Sure, Deron Williams put on the heroic performance, turning on God Mode and dropping 57 points, but goodness, that was the ugliest close game of NBA basketball I can remember.
The Nets went on a 65-48 run after the fans at Time Warner Cable Arena did The Wave. Forty-three of Deron Williams' 57 points came after The Wave. The Wave must die.
Deron Williams was unconscious tonight. Yes, the officiating was tremendously awful, but the man was fire, especially in the second half. And he still found time to drop seven dimes. No Bobcats player could stay in front of him. Williams has tremendous quickness, so this isn't a huge marvel, but the Bobcats also had no one to help on defense in the middle. Poor perimeter defense + poor interior defense = yeesh.
The rest of the Nets were not so hot. Kris Humphries didn't have much trouble fighting for 13 rebounds through Boris Diaw and the rest of the Bobcats frontcourt. Anthony Morrow shot pretty well, though he didn't get many looks.
Charlotte grabbed an early lead by capitalizing off of poor Nets defense. New Jersey rotated at the speed of those things that drive space shuttles to Cape Canaveral and the Bobcats were able to drive and find cutting players for easy points for an uncharacteristically high 46.2 percent FG shooting. The bench picked up the slack of the starters with some decent games from Byron Mullens, Kemba Walker and Derrick Brown.
But then New Jersey tightened their defense up a tad, forcing more turnovers and bad shots. The Bobcats offense turned dreadful, shooting 13-for-41 for the second half. The game followed suit as every possession for each team seemed to end in free throws. Dribble, dribble, dribble [tweeeeeet] dribble, dribble, dribble [tweeeeeet] dribble, dribble, dribble [tweeeeeet]. Oh, how it was painful.
Things didn't get less awful towards the end of the game even with the Bobcats staying close and the game getting less whistle-heavy. There were tons of terrible shots and all-around bad basketball. Deron Williams willed the game into watchability by himself.
Kudos to the Bobcats for staying in it, but they really didn't show the heart or execution to win this game late. Part of this is just in part to being a young team. Young teams will lose handles on double-digit leads. It's just how things work. Part of it is a dearth of talent and a bunch of experience and some coaching faults. This just felt all the more crushing because of how ugly it was.