The Bobcats and Nuggets fought back and forth, with neither team proving superiority until late in the fourth quarter, when Charlotte went on a mini-run, jumped ahead, and didn't look back until the horn sounded on a 107-95 win.
It's encouraging in the big picture that the Cats dropped a Western Conference power like the Nuggets, even considering that Denver was on the second half of a back to back, and even considering that one of their key cogs, Kenyon Martin, was held out with an injury. On occasion, Charlotte has shown the ability to play like this (see the Cleveland game), and it's incredibly satisfying when they put it all together for a full game. It's fantastic to win those games, but even if they lose, we don't come away feeling like we put ourselves through the ringer.
Highlights and lowlights after the jump.BAD
-- Can Boris Diaw be disappointing if he's not really doing anything negative? It's just that he's not doing anything positive, either. I'm sure we can do better than an upper middle class man'sfor our starting power forward.
-- 10 minutes for Stephen Graham? Really? 4 minutes for Gerald Henderson is atrocious. At least Derrick Brown got 8 and a half minutes.
-- Tyson Chandler. Dude. Please. Get it together. Or admit you've got an injury and rest until you're at full health.
-- I don't think I can sing Gerald Wallace's praises any louder. The man deserves an All Star campaign if ever any player deserved one. Anyone want to make an advocacy video? 25 points and 16 rebounds tonight. We've gotta be careful not to grow complacent and take Crash for granted. He. Is. A. Beast.
-- I think when Good Raymond Felton shows up, it leads to a success cycle. He'll never be a great offensive player, and he's Bad Felton when he acts like he is. What I mean by that is that if he's Good Felton through the first three quarters, distributing, only taking shots when it'd be crazy for him not to, then when Must Take Crunch Time Shots Felton shows up, he's already established his willingness to facilitate, which the opponent must respect. Thus, it's easier for Must Take Crunch Time Shots Felton to score, even if, optimally, he shouldn't be taking those shots. 14 points on 6-7 shooting. Only 3 assists, but 6 steals! I love the idea that he might tailor his game in themodel, only taking way fewer three point attempts. Spend energy playing tough defense, facilitate on offense, and be fearless in a scoring role when every other option is cut off. (I know hope is a dangerous thing...)
-- I like when Stephen Jackson plays a bigger role facilitating, too. It actually plays more to Augustin's and Murray's strengths when Jax and Diaw take on point forward responsibilities, so when those guys are at the nominal PG position, maybe that should be the strategy. In any event, Jackson's 6 assists were a welcome sight, and I think it would open up the offense a bit, and perhaps jump start Diaw's game again, by giving those forwards more creative responsibilities, especially when Good Felton isn't in the game.
-- Team defense was excellent, as usual. I feared they wouldn't have an answer for Ty Lawson, but they held him in check. They kept Chauncey in check. 'Melo scored 34, but turned it over 6 times. J.R. Smith needed 16 shots to get his 16 points. Only Nene rebounded in double figures.