It's a testament to Wallace's fantastic season thus far that 13 points and 6 rebounds is considered a disappointment, but as has been the case all season, when one of Felton, Jackson, or Wallace has a rough game, the team is hard-pressed to make up for that lack of production. If I may speculate with only flimsy evidence to support my musing, I think Wallace is still affected by the head issue that kept him out of the Knicks game. Why else would Stephen Jackson spend most of his time guarding Kevin Durant and Crash find himself on Thabo Sefolosha? And then when Jax was out with foul trouble, Stephen Graham guarded Durantula instead of Wallace.
With Tyson Chandler still out, a lingering Wallace injury is the kind of thing that will nudge the Cats out of playoff contention.
Highlights and lowlights after the jump.BAD
-- Larry Brown's obsession with Stephen Graham continues. It barely matters that he played perhaps his second best game of the season. There is little to no benefit gained from playing him so many minutes. If we're kind, we'll say he's a proven mediocrity, and if we're less charitable, we'll say he's a scrub and will be lucky to be in the league next year. Every other team in the league is in the process of finding out what their rookies are made of, but not the Bobcats, because Brown would rather play Graham. If I could get five good minutes with LB, this would probably be my line of questioning. What has Graham done to show that he deserves these minutes? What has Gerald Henderson done to show that he doesn't deserve those minutes? It's baffling.
-- Boris Diaw did a very good job, defensively, so it's not as bad as it seems from the box score alone. However, the guy didn't score until the fourth quarter. He shot 1-8 from the field for the game, ending with 3 points. He had 4 rebounds and 4 assists. That's the kind of offensive line that belongs to a defensive specialist, except that defensive specialists usually get more rebounds, an important part of Diaw's game that's lacking. I don't know what I'd do with him. Maybe it's time to consider bringing him off the bench. But, again, that would require LB to play someone like Derrick Brown and be willing to play him while he grows.
-- it's a shame Nazr Mohammed probably can't handle more than 30 minutes per game, but there's got to be a way to get him in there during crunch time while Chandler's out. Hell, he probably should be in the game in crunch time when the situation dictates an offensive big man, even when Chandler's healthy. In 27 minutes, he was 7-10 from the field for 16 points and grabbed 8 rebounds.
-- Stephen Jackson provides a kind of versatility the Cats need, both on offense and defense. He can shoot threes, drive the lane, post up, defend all manner of twos and threes, et cetera. However, when he's taking 26 shots and scoring 24 points, that's a lot of shots that are clanging off the rim and going back the other way. He made up for it tonight by getting 8 rebounds and dishing 5 assists, but he's no efficiency superstar, and when the shots aren't falling and he's not containing the other team's best scorer, it can be a big problem.
-- Eric Maynor is some player. Great pickup by OKC, taking advantage of Utah's desire to shed salary and understanding that Maynor had no real future there, but he does have a future as a platoon partner with Russell Westbrook.