The Charlotte Bobcats defeated the Houston Rockets 102-94 at the Cable Box Tuesday night. Stephen Jackson had his best game of the year, scoring 43 points on 22 attempts from the field, and generally acted like the individualistic badass he is.
This was the first game for the Cats in which we saw the Jax who refuses to let his team lose. Maybe it's because he's a native Texan, born in a town about an hour and a half from Houston. Maybe it's because he finally found his groove in the Bobcats' offense, and nobody could stop him, not even Shane Battier and Trevor Ariza. Or maybe it was just an eventuality given his talent ceiling: eventually, he was going to have one night where his talent combined with good luck to make a superstar-caliber game. After all, there's got to be a best game of the season, and this could have been it.
Highlights and lowlights after the jump.
-- The reason I keep advocating for the rookies to get more playing time has to do with the end game. Giving Gerald Henderson and Derrick Brown DNP-CD again and again may serve present day goals by tightening the rotation and putting the very best players that we've got on the floor. However, we're not fighting for playoff position and a run at a championship banner that will fly forever. We're playing for both this season and to get better for seasons to come. Failing to give real NBA minutes to Henderson and Brown unnecessarily hinders their development and, thus, potentially, the team's future ceiling.
-- Stephen Jackson. As noted above, he scored 43 points on 22 attempts. But not only that, he grabbed 8 rebounds, dished 3 assists, got 3 steals, turned it over only 2 times, and made a key save during crunch time on a ball bouncing out of bounds.
-- Boris Diaw is back on the upswing. He scored 19 points on 13 attempts, got 6 assists, and, most shockingly, was active among the big men, scrapping his way to 7 rebounds and 3 blocked shots. So he turned it over 4 times. That's what he's been doing all season, only this time, he played the all around game we've been waiting to see from our mercurial power forward since May.
-- Houston's right in the middle of the pack at causing turnovers, but Charlotte's in the bottom five at giving up turnovers. The Cats are averaging more than 16 turnovers per game, but even with Diaw and Gerald Wallace turning it over 4 times each, they only totaled 11 for the game.
-- The corollary to the turnovers is that the point guards played an extremely solid game, in sum. Aaron Brooks and Kyle Lowry struggled all night thanks to Raymond Felton and D.J. Augustin both playing excellent on-ball defense. Don't get hung up on the low points and assists totals. The ball was running through Diaw much of the time in the half court, and the rest of the time, Jackson and others were creating their own offense.