Even though they didn't have Gerald Wallace, the Charlotte Bobcats went to Amway Arena in Orlando and defeated the Magic, 96-89. The Cats selectively doubled Dwight Howard in the post, which didn't do much to stop him from scoring 27 points on 12-14 shooting, but their strategy did result in the rest of the Magic, especially Rashard Lewis, struggling to get points.
This game was a fine display of the Bobcats' best qualities: oppressive defense, attacking the rim, and timely shooting from distance. When they don't turn the defense up to 11 and settle for less than perfect jump shots, they're not a playoff-caliber team. But when the Cats do all those things, they're capable of beating the best teams in the league. They can take a best-of-seven series against anyone, but I'm not sure they'll be able to pull that off twice. They can only overcome so wide a talent gap.
The Cats are now 34-31.
Game thread comments, lowlights, and highlights after the jump.
GAME THREAD COMMENTS
Aisander D -- Is Gerald Henderson or Derrick Brown playing tonight? Or did they both come down with a nasty case of MyTeamJustSignedSomeGarbage-itis?
maverick24 -- The Theo trade was a great success. I'll slap anyone who disagrees.
-- Tyrus, I love you man, but you've got to cut down on your shots. You're there to block shots and attack the rim, especially on the break. He scored 9 points on 9 attempts and has attempted 13 shots per 36 minutes with the Cats. Compare to Crash, who attempts under 11 shots per 36 minutes.
-- Boris Diaw shot 4-5 from the field for 9 points and played a major role in holding Lewis to 3 points on 1-7 shooting.
-- Stephen Jackson had a solid all around game again, scoring 28 points on 10-20 shooting, with 6 rebounds and 6 assists. One of his best attributes is being able to play a variety of roles, from point guard to power forward, and when he's at the nominal three, he can do it all.
-- As a team, the Magic shot 11-32(!) from three. Lewis was awful. Jameer Nelson was 2-10 from the field. Brandon Bass was 0-3. Jason Williams was 2-6. It seems like they found a balance between making life relatively difficult for Howard (results aside) and guarding everyone else.