When Rashad McCants--Rashad McCants!--is your second most effective player on the floor, after the still-raw rookie who got shoved around by several different Bobcats big men, that's a formula for losing, even when the 'Cats are having something of an off night for three quarters. The fourth quarter was the difference, where Charlotte finally pulled away, as expected, to win 104-88.
With Kevin Martin and Andres Nocioni both scratched, McCants and Jason Thompson were the bright spots in an otherwise horrid evening for the Kings. Together, they shot 16-29 from the field, scoring 42 points. Thompson was especially efficient at 6-9, with 11 rebounds. That was tempered by an up and down defensive performance, but he was probably the best player on the floor for Sacramento this night. McCants scored 30 points on 20 attempts, but didn't play any defense (as is his wont), and only tallied 1 assist and 1 board.
Everyone else on the Kings combined to shoot 18-58 from the field, or 31%. I mean, they took 87 shots to the Bobcats' 68! The Kings made 34 field goals, the Bobcats made 33, and Charlotte won going away because they went to the line for 23 more attempts than Sacramento.
For the Bobcats, Gerald Wallace's 25 and 12 should make opponents take special note that the old Crash is peeking out from under the quiet exterior. Check out his last seven games. He's been a terror in six of them; only the Spurs have held him in check.
Emeka Okafor stepped up to dominate Spencer Hawes on both ends of the floor. He put up 16 points, grabbed 10 rebounds, and blocked 4 shots.
A quick summation of Rashad McCants's thoughts during the course of the game:
Ball! Here! Now! I'm open! I made it! You didn't believe in me! Hear me roar! When they score, all it means is you can pass it to me now! Ball! Here! Now! What do you mean, "scoreboard"?
In case you can't tell, I was stunned to see McCants hoisting like Ben Gordon on a bender. And then, after he, improbably, reached the 30 point plateau, he jogged back down the court, pounding his chest and yelling something unintelligible through the arena sounds, seemingly oblivious to being behind in the fourth quarter.
-- I still can't tell if the crowd is cheering sarcastically or sincerely when Sean May plays in garbage time. Every time he touches the ball, there's a buzz in the building.
-- A moment that was not at all sarcastic played out as Gana Diop horribly missed three free throws, but as the referee prepared to give him the ball for his fourth, about half the crowd rose to its feet, cheering for him to make it. They hushed as he got the ball, and then he calmly drained it, running back on defense under a shower of whoops and applause.