Tell a Bobcats fan that Stephen Jackson and D.J. Augustin would combine to shoot 1-13 through the first three quarters, and she'd probably think the New Jersey Nets had opened up a sizable lead and made the final quarter a mere formality. She would be wrong, and pleasantly surprised by the Cats' resilience shown in their fourth-quarter comeback and ultimate victory, 85-83, Charlotte's first win of the season.
Despite Jax and Nacho's struggles, the Bobcats stayed competitive behind step-up games from Gerald Wallace, Boris Diaw, and Nazr Mohammed, none of whom had particularly impressed in the first three contests. Wallace left the floor in the second half with a turned ankle, and, understandably, he seemed less willing to throw himself around on either end of the floor. Even before the injury, Crash hasn't been the same force of nature he was almost all of last season, probably because he's far more conscious about how reckless he can be and how much strain that puts on his body, leading to a more controlled, less dynamic style. He still shows flashes of that dynamism, as when he leaped over Brook Lopez for a rebound, or in those first few steps on the fast break before remembering he doesn't want to fly into the third row after dunking. Come back, Gerald. We want the whirlwind again.
Diaw has been plagued by a severe case of tentativeness over the past year. It's not that he should be the first or second option, especially when Wallace, Jackson, and Augustin are in the game, but that he seemed so totally incapable of being aggressive on offense. Deference is a valuable trait, but there can be too much deferring, and Diaw was one of the few guys who has deferred too much. That said, it was shocking to see him take 18 shots, by far the most on the team in this game.
Remember: the Nets are a lot better than 12 wins in 09-10 might imply. This is a quality road win.
Game thread comments, lowlights, and highlights after the jump.
GAME THREAD COMMENTS
Ft.Mill Bobcat -- Boris got tired of all the haters and is putting up some big numbers
(After the last-second scrum for the ball...) Ourdaywillcome -- DJ recovers the fumble! First and ten
-- Bad Stephen Jackson is bad. He ended up with 12 points, getting a jump start with two fourth-quarter three pointers, but he was pretty brutal before that. If an NBA player takes more than ten shots, he'd better be making at least a few of them, not going 2-12 from the field.
-- D.J. got schooled by Devin Harris tonight. While Augustin shot 1-7 from the field for 5 points, Harris shot 7-17 for 19 points. Augustin dished 7 assists, Harris dished 8, and D.J. gained back some ground with 0 turnovers to Harris's 3. In the end, it was very uncomfortable to see how clearly Augustin was outclassed.
-- Diaw's hot hand meant he played big minutes, leaving Derrick Brown with fewer than 6 minutes. It's kind of a good problem that the Cats have a question about depth and finding minutes for deserving players, but it's also disappointing that Larry Brown can't figure out a solution to the problem.
-- Boris Diaw came up with his best game in months (see what I did there?), scoring 24 points on 10-18 shooting. As noted above, it's unsettling that he took that many shots, but he showed that he's capable of hurting teams that deign to stick an indifferent defender on him.
-- Nazr Mohammed was limited by early foul trouble, but he made the most of his time in the game, scoring 12 points on 6-8 shooting from the field.
-- Gerald Wallace not only had an efficient scoring night, pouring in 20 points on 6-11 shooting, but he also got back into the rebounding groove, with 11 on the night. The turned ankle is troubling because he so depends on elite athleticism, but he's Crash, so I'm obligated to believe he can adapt effectively, as he always does.
-- Cheers to DeSagana Diop, who kept Brook Lopez in check. Lopez ended up shooting 6-17 from the field, and Diop was a big part of that poor shooting night in his 18 minutes.