At 10:27, Tayshaun made a layup.
At 9:15, Stuckey made a free throw.
At 8:48, Sheed made a three.
At 7:43, AI made two free throws.
At 5:44, Stuckey made a free throw.
At 4:22, Rip made a free throw.
And that's it. Overwhelming those two field goals and five free throws were a series of contested shots and a shot clock violation. In the end, in a furious final four minutes, the Bobcats played solid defense, nothing fell for the Pistons, and Raymond Felton became a temporary All Star, scoring three times and assisting on a fourth basket to put his team ahead.
Felton will get the glory, but he wasn't the only bright spot. Gerald quickly allayed my fears about a negative reaction to Larry Brown's unfounded criticisms and bounced back with 18/10 in 43 minutes and 6-14 shooting. Emeka continued his steady All Star caliber play with 13/9 on 6-11 shooting in only 33 minutes. Diaw and Bell had up and down nights, but the team defense and Felton's shooting star made up for it all.
Did we learn anything new tonight? Probably not. Felton is still prime trade bait. Diaw is going to have these nights, but at least his effort and ball movement were still there.
Tonight did reinforce something Queen City Hoops has pushed recently: The Bobcats' starting five have been a monster group. Admittedly, they've played only a few minutes together, relatively, but in that time, they've essentially outplayed the Celtics' starting five, and played as well as the Cavaliers do when Varejao comes in for Ilgauskas, with roughly the same ORtg and DRtg. I still think Raja Bell is no longer the defensive ace he once was, but reputation helps him, in the sense that teams are more reticent to challenge him than they probably should be.
For what it's worth, when Augustin and Felton are in the game together instead of Bell, the defense goes completely to hell, but they've also had an uptick in offensive performance to make up for it. DJ has had precious few minutes with the starting unit in place of Felton, so I'm skeptical of the record thus far, but if they can scheme something up to protect him, defensively, against guards who will back him down, a healthy Augustin could be a serious upgrade on Felton's offense.