The Charlotte Bobcats and Toronto Raptors staged a chippy contest with a playoff atmosphere at the Cable Box. In the end, the Raptors pulled out the win, 103-101, despite a huge free throw disparity and giving away crunch time opportunity after opportunity.
In many ways, it was exactly the kind of game Charlotte did not want to have. Whereas the Cats try to force a slow-paced, low-scoring, defensive environment, the Raps prefer to engage their opponents in shootouts, since their per-possession defense is rather awful. Each team had more than 90 points before crunch time, trading buckets time and again as the crowd swayed with each lead change.
Game thread comments, lowlights, and highlights after the jump.
GAME THREAD COMMENTS
Ourdaywillcome -- I was more focused on [D.J.] running around like he was trying to catch a live chicken on the court instead of staying in the offensive sets.
OldschoolBlue -- noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo...
-- Boris Diaw got 7 assists, and he did shoot 5-12 from the field, but more and more it looks like he's passing up open shots in an attempt to make sweet passes. It's admirable that the dude actually wants to be a great passer, but, crazy as it may seem, there are still too many times when that attitude is detrimental to his play, and he'd be better off either shooting or doing something more creative rather than making the extra pass. In sum, it's as if he's concerned with the whipped cream when he should be concerned about the cake.
-- Andrea Bargnani came to life in the fourth quarter. He'd been mostly contained, starting the game 3-11 from the field, but he ended up 6-14, for 16 points, with 9 rebounds. I hate having to face seven-foot gunners who are actually good at shooting.
-- For the first time this year, I'm going to make an explicit refereeing comment... There's something wrong when Jarrett Jack can stand at the three point line, throw his hands into his opponent, then fling his arms and the ball in the air and receive three free throws each time. He's making zero attempt to shoot or perform a basketball move. Rewarding that kind of play devalues the game in a way that not even the most egregious charge-flops do.
-- Rebounding was a problem for the Bobcats, but Gerald Wallace led the team once again, pulling down 8. That was on top of his 17 points.
-- Raymond Felton probably had the most complete game of any Bobcat, scoring 18 points on 12 attempts, including 4-5 from three, and dishing 7 assists. Other than Jarrett Jack's free throws (three of which were due to a foul on Augustin), Felton also did a solid job defending the opposing PGs.
-- Speaking of D.J. Augustin, he shot 3-3 from three point range and had 5 assists in his 17 minutes.
-- I didn't realize it until looking at the box score, but Larry Hughes had himself a game, scoring 13 points on 6 attempts, thanks to shooting 5-6 from the free throw line.
-- The free throw differential was stacked heavily in the Bobcats' favor. Charlotte shot 25-31 while Toronto shot 15-24, and that's after last-minute fouling to stop the clock.