The Bobcats turned the ball over 22 times to the Raptors, the worst team in the league at creating turnovers. That's the kind of thing that will undo an otherwise solid offensive effort, which is exactly what happened, as the Cats lost, 107-103. It came down to the last few possessions, and Andrea Bargnani hit a clutch three with 11.9 seconds to go to effectively put the game away.
It was a great thing to see Charlotte finally hitting free throws at a superior rate, making 20-22. It was great to see Hedo Turkoglu rendered irrelevant again and limited to only 14 minutes. And it was great to see Boris Diaw back to something like his old self. But oh, those turnovers. The Cats' three main playmakers, Raymond Felton, Stephen Jackson, and Gerald Wallace, turned it over 6, 7, and 4 times, respectively. Again, that'll undo a lot of good work, which we'll run down in the highlights and lowlights after the jump.
-- It takes something like 25 impressions before someone totally internalizes a new concept, so if you're tired of reading it, please bear with me: Stephen Graham has proven over his entire career that he doesn't deserve any significant NBA playing time. That he gets minutes instead of a rookie, Gerald Henderson, who ostensibly was drafted to be one half of the Cats' back court of the future is odd at best and ludicrous at worst. The only way to justify Graham playing ahead of both Henderson and Derrick Brown is to make up BS criteria that can't actually be confirmed with concrete data. Can someone please tell Larry Brown that just because a guy who's roster filler is respectful and a good person doesn't mean he's the best choice to get minutes... because he's roster filler.
-- Wallace wanted to rebound (16). Felton wanted to rebound (7). No one else, apparently, cared to rebound. Nazr Mohammed ended up with only 9 minutes, even though he scored 8 points on 3-4 shooting from the field in that time. I understand that it's a stretch to expect him to slow down either Bosh or Bargnani, let alone contain them, but after a certain point, once it became clear neither guy was going to be slowed down, why not put the good offensive center back in the game? He wasn't going to be that much worse on defense than the pu pu platter of Diaw at center and Diop, and he's a better true big man option on the block. Unless he got hurt and I missed it while doing the dishes for the Official Girlfriend of Rufus on Fire, I don't understand why Mohammed was banished that readily.
-- Fun Gerald Wallace Fact that was sent in the other day: "Whatever side of line Gerald Wallace is on... it's the right side. If he crosses that line, he is still on the right side." I wholeheartedly concur. Aside from the turnovers, Wallace had another great game, further solidifying himself as the team's rock and a legitimate All Star candidate. The scoring was okay; he got 15 points on 13 attempts. But what really stood out was his 16(!) rebounds and his defense.
-- As noted above, Felton grabbed rebounds left and right to start the game, and ended up with the second most on the team. Better than that, he simply didn't miss from the field, going 10-12 and scoring 23 points.
-- It's a little backward, because Felton should be distributing this much, but S-Jax is creating for his teammates, and it shows in the box score. Ideally, Jax would be the object of those possessions, not the subject. Still, he ended up with 30 points on 18 attempts, and 5 assists, both team highs. I mean, if we're going to run the offense through Action Jackson, maybe we should consider finding a true shooting guard who can bring the ball up but won't be trusted to create, thus opening up creating responsibilities for Jackson and Diaw. It's a plan probably better suited for the triangle offense, or someone with more outside-the-box thinking, but it's worth considering.