Bobcats Fight Valiantly, Spank Orlando 100-84 for 5th Win!

March 6, 2012; Charlotte, NC, USA; Charlotte Bobcats center Bismack Biyombo (0) and Orlando Magic forward Hedo Turkoglu (15) go after a loose ball during the game at Time Warner Cable Arena. Bobcats win 100-84. Mandatory Credit: Sam Sharpe-US PRESSWIRE

Tonight's recap comes from one of our mods, Paul Rizzuto:

As an impartial observer, I came in to this game on the heels of
watching the Bobcats surrender 57 points to Deron Williams. The small
Bobcats backcourt corps, combined with Williams going God Mode, proved
to be a deadly combination for the home team. Williams lit up the
Bobcats for a Nets franchise record. What do the Bobcats give me for
an encore? A date with Dwight Howard.

Admittedly, I don't know too much about the Bobcats. I know they would
annihilate the University of Kentucky in a best-of-7 series, and I
know their roster. In order to better acclimate myself, I jotted down
a few questions the piqued my curiosity about a team relatively
unknown to me. How would the Bobcats try to contain Dwight Howard? How
will the Bobcats fare chasing Ryan Anderson around the perimeter? How
does Maggette compare to his time with my Warriors? How has Gerald
Henderson progressed? The following is my attempt to answer those
questions and give a little recap of the game in the absence of one of
the normal contributors.

The Magic jumped out to a quick double-digit lead behind their own
strong shooting and poor offensive execution from the Bobcats.
Although Biyombo essentially neutralized Dwight in the first quarter,
Bobcats defenders routinely lost track of Orlando shooters, and they
took advantage. It didn't seem like anything the Magic were doing on
the defensive end was particularly disruptive to Charlotte, but rather
Charlotte's decisions of offense were particularly disruptive to
Charlotte. With a few minutes left in the first quarter a quick series
seemed destined to define the game: despite the Bobcats' best
defensive efforts in almost forcing a shot clock violation, Richardson
nails a 3, followed by Maggette mishandling a lob on the other end.
Thankfully, this game was far from over.

The second quarter began with more of the same; the Orlando shooters
rained threes as the Bobcats offense sputtered. The Corey Maggette I
once knew in Golden State seemed to have lost his ability to draw the
fouls that defined his game. I wasn't the only one who noticed the
lack of foul calls in Maggette's favor, and Paul Silas let the
officiating know that we weren't pleased. The free throws from Silas'
ejection ballooned the Orlando lead to 18, and that's when all hell
broke loose. The Orlando offense was reduced to poor shot selection
and Glen Davis one-on-one plays (what?), the officiating pushed more
calls in Charlotte's favor, and the Bobcats took advantage with a
momentum-swinging 14-1 run to end the half down 5, 48-43.

After halftime, the Bobcats continued their surge behind the Corey
Maggette/Bad Porn I know and love/hate, and when Maggette needed help
he received it from Gerald Henderson. Henderson took his sweet time
showing up to the game, but made several important plays on offense
down the stretch to keep the Bobcats within reach of the elusive fifth
win of the season. One thing was clear to me watching this team in the
third quarter: despite their record, despite their shortcomings, this
team isn't going to roll over and play dead. The young guys are out
there trying to improve, there are guys out there hustling, this team
is out on the court to compete. I'm sure the team has had and will
have duds in the effort department but seeing this type of game is
certainly encouraging for a young team struggling this deep into the
season.

The first thought that entered my mind as the Bobcats jumped out to a
short lead was that as a young team, the Bobcats would have a tough
time protecting it. Much to my surprise and delight, the Bobcats dug
in and made some gutsy plays on both ends. The effort and energy on
defense was visible; maybe too much at times as Bobcats players found
themselves out of position for defensive boards, but I would much
rather see that problem than a lack of heart. Maggette and Henderson
were relentless on offense, and the Magic couldn't find the range to
eat into their deficit. A few more stops and win number five was in
the books.

My Thoughts:

Bismack Biyombo. I held it in this long, but I can't any longer. What
an impressive game for the rookie. Biyombo effectively neutralized
Dwight Howard on the offensive end: denying multiple entry passes,
establishing good defensive position, grabbing defensive boards. On
the offensive end, Biyombo showed off a nifty little turnaround jumper
on more than one occasion, in addition to a few put-backs. The other
day I read a tweet that Biyombo was well on his way to being a bust.
First of all, it is way too early to declare a rookie a bust. Second
of all, is simply is not true. He makes rookie mistakes, he's still
learning the game, and he needs to become more polished, but boy does
he have a ceiling. Sure, my Dwight Howard book of defense this season
has been written by Mark Jackson and his hack-a-Howard strategy, but
Biyombo played him damn well, finishing with a stellar 10-15-7 line.

While Ryan Anderson didn't prove to be much of a problem for the
Bobcats, they did seem to have trouble keeping track of shooters. The
Magic didn't make them pay consistently enough, so this wasn't as big
of a problem as I surmised pregame.

Corey Maggette seemed to be the same player he's always been, and
fortunately for the Bobcats he churned out a good game tonight.
Maggette attacked the basket relentlessly to get to the charity
stripe, had the midrange game going, and even hit a trey!

I wasn't able to focus on Henderson as much as I wanted, but he was
clearly able to turn up his offensive game a notch to help Charlotte
pull out the win. Next time I watch Charlotte I'll look to his
defensive game, as I hear he isn't too shabby on that end.
I see some other little thoughts I wrote down, but they're mostly
throwaways (Tyrus Thomas...what? Earl Clark...what? And seriously curse
Starbucks WiFi). Don't go too hard on me, this is my first recap ever
so I'm not very season, but if you guys ever need another win you know
who to call.
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