The Charlotte Bobcats held a 14-point lead with four and a half minutes to go in the second quarter and still managed to see that lead turn into a 17 point deficit Thursday night against the Mavericks. It's been few and far between when the Bobcats have held a double-digit lead this season, yet it wasn't surprising to see it shrink to just a six-point edge at halftime, nor was it surprising to see the Mavs take a double-digit lead themselves with just under nine minutes to play in the fourth quarter.
We all know the Bobcats are bad. In fact they are down right awful at times. I'm not trying to depress the fanbase or get all negative on everyone, but you know things have reached rock bottom when you are happy with the fact that at one point in the game Charlotte led Dallas by 14 points, and aren't overly concerned with the outcome of the game. It's been a rough season for fans, especially Ben, and it's got to the point where I take solace in seeing effort from these guys and watching competitive basketball.
Against the Mavs the Bobcats brought effort and delivered a competitive game for the most part.
Everything started out roses for Charlotte when Tyrus Thomas nailed a 17-foot baseline jumper to put the Bobcats on the board. It was the start of a relatively productive night for the enigmatic power forward who would finish with 14 points and eight boards on the evening. The story of the first quarter was Thomas and Byron Mullens knocking down long jumpers. Charlotte falls in love with the jump shot way too much but it worked early on against the Mavs. Thomas hit three mid-range jumpers and Mullens knocked down two for the early offense.
Despite knocking down long jump shots the Mavs took a three-point lead after Ian Mahinmi put the ball in the hoop with just three seconds remaining in the first. That set up an incredible play by D.J. Augustin who raced up the court, shot the ball as he was fading to his right and banked it in for a three-point basket to tie the game at 23.
The second quarter belonged to the Bobcats. Kemba Walker came in and instantly provided a spark by dishing off assists to Reggie Williams who nailed a three and D.J. White who sank a jumper. It was a great start for the rookie who then got in on the scoring when he nailed a 3-pointer to give the Bobcats a one-point lead, which they wouldn't relinquish until the third quarter. Walker finished with 10 points in the quarter and 12 for the game in just 16 minutes of action--#freeKembaWalker? The Mavs finished the quarter strong by getting to the free throw line. Mullens inexplicably fouled Dirk Nowitzki from beyond the arc to send him to the line for three free throws where he would sink them all. Mahinmi would also sink two free throws for the final points of the half to bring the deficit to a manageable six points heading into the locker room.
Just when you think that the Bobcats might snap their 14-game losing streak against the Mavs they go out and have a third quarter that makes you remember why they've never beaten Dallas. Charlotte held strong up until about the half way point of the third quarter when Dirk went all Dirk and sank back-to-back threes, which tied and gave the Mavs the lead. Dallas wouldn't look back and were able to build a six-point lead heading into the final quarter after a Vince Carter--yes, he's still alive and in the league--hit a three.
Rodrique Beaubois came up big in the fourth quarter for the Mavs with eight points. He hit a 10-foot runner to give Dallas its biggest lead of the game with 4:11 left to play, but the Bobcats wouldn't go away. Despite it looking like another double-digit loss for Charlotte, Corey Maggette and Gerald Henderson combined for 15 points in the final three minutes to help get the Bobcats within four with 26 seconds remaining. The Mavs would sink 3-of-4 free throws down the stretch to put the Bobcats' rally to an end, though.
It was a nice effort from the Bobcats, yet they still remain without a win against the Mavs.
Leading scorers: CHA Corey Maggette 21, DAL Dirk Nowitzki 27