The Cats may not have dominated, in the traditional sense of the word, but they asserted superiority in virtually every important aspect of the game. They rebounded, they got to the line, and they gave up few easy shots.
The Cats played their game and seemed to be a flowing team more than they have in recent games, when they mechanically tried to execute an offense according to prescribed choreography. Even with the strictest of offensive taskmasters like Larry Brown, offense requires flow and feel, which Charlotte has been lacking. Tonight, all that changed, in the half court offense and, especially, in transition offense.
It's possible everything just came together with Nazr Mohammed in the game instead of Tyson Chandler, or because Stephen Jackson continues to mesh with his new teammates... but I don't know.
Highlights and lowlights after the jump.BAD
-- The Bobcats' three point shooting is still abysmal. 1-10 pushes their terrible three point shooting percentage even lower. It is, noted, however, that they took fewer shots from distance in this game than they have been taking in recent games.
-- What does Gerald Henderson have to do to get real minutes? He only got onto the floor after the game was pretty much in hand. Even if LB believes keeping Henderson on the bench and playing S-Jax 42 minutes per game gives the team the best chance to win now (I don't think that's necessarily true), then he's shirking his responsibility to fairly evaluate young players by giving them NBA minutes. Tyler Hansbrough, DeJuan Blair, Austin Daye... even guys like DeMar DeRozan and Earl Clark, on teams having surprising success and with reasonable hopes for a playoff run, are playing more minutes than Henderson, which is utterly ridiculous.
-- Derrick Brown acquitted himself admirably. At least on this team, he's shown in the early going that he's a rotation player and deserves to run with the second unit. 13 points on 5-7 shooting and 4 rebounds in 24 minutes. Nice.
-- Because Gerald Wallace is scoring even fewer points this year, I'm afraid his contributions will be even less appreciated over the course of the season. The defense is still there, the rebounds are fantastic, and he's still getting to the line. Maybe he's not the tornado he was three years ago, but he's a much more refined basketball player. Aesthetically, it's less exciting, but competitively, it's exactly what the team needs.
-- Nazr Mohammed had a good game. Before we get too excited about it, though, realize that the Pacers' front court is among the worst defensive groups in the league. Troy Murphy and Tyler Hansbrough aren't exactly defensive stalwarts, and Roy Hibbert still struggles with excessive fouls at times. That said, Mohammed is showing why he's stuck around the league for so long. The Cats are lucky to have him around, but I'm still hoping Tyson Chandler finds his way and pushes Nazr back to the bench. 8-10 shooting for 18 points in 18 minutes. Wow.
-- Raymond Felton's seen his minutes cut in favor of Flip Murray at the point for stretches, and deservedly, since Felton's turnovers are up and his assists and scoring are down thus far this season. Tonight, though, in only about 29 minutes he had 6 assists and 0 turnovers. He'll be more attractive as a bench player worthy of a trade if he shifts further toward being a pure point guard.
-- 46-36 advantage in rebounds. 22 assists as a team. And they kept the Pacers shooting under 40% until garbage time. That was a thoroughly satisfying win.