The Bobcats overcame a sluggish first quarter, beating the Miami Heat 83-78. Miami made extensive use of zone defense to frustrate the Cats and force them to become jump shooters, which they are ill-suited to do. But in the fourth quarter, D.J. Augustin stepped up huge to bring the Bobcats back, hitting a four-point play, pushing the tempo to start breaks, and getting to the rim when no one else could.
Unfortunately, it's looking more and more like Charlotte's opponents are going to play zone, if capable, and dare them to make jumpers. While Raymond Felton and Gerald Wallace have shot well from distance this season, they've been improving shot selection and only shooting wide open threes rather than improving their actual shooting skill. When the defense plays zone, Stephen Jackson and DJ Augustin are the only guys on the roster, really, who should be attempting those shots, and Augustin will have trouble with his height and get his shot contested fairly easily. So, yeah, that leaves Jax, and he's shooting only 32% from three this year. If there's only one three point shooter on the roster, and a shaky one at that, other teams would be crazy not to play zone if it's part of their repertoire.
The Bobcats are now 31-31. Tomorrow night's game is in Philadelphia, so let's see if they can play more like they did in the fourth, and not like they did in the first.
Game thread comments, lowlights, and highlights after the jump.
GAME THREAD COMMENTS
Ft.Mill Bobcat -- We are trying to get down 17 so we can match our biggest comeback of the season.
Stevarino -- I don’t really like Felton taking threes but that was some of the best ball movement I’ve seen all season.
-- Boris Diaw was playing so well recently, too, nearly getting a triple-double last game. He played really well late in the fourth quarter, but until then, he was the worst kind of passive, passing up shots in the paint to try to make slick passes. He finished with 11 points on 11 attempts, 8 rebounds, and 5 assists. Like I said, late fourth quarter was good, but they might not have been in the position of having to come back if he'd played at that level all game.
-- The old problem was that Gerald Henderson was sitting while Stephen Graham got ample minutes. The new problem is that Derrick Brown is sitting while Stephen Graham gets ample minutes. I think Larry Brown wants to give me an ulcer.
-- Gerald Wallace couldn't score tonight, getting only 8 points on 11 attempts. But he still played a plus game, grabbing 17 rebounds. He's absolutely worth the price of admission.
-- Raymond Felton and D.J. Augustin, combined, have to be in the conversation for most effective PG combos in the league, behind the elite Paul-Collison, Nash-Dragic, pairs, and probably behind the Rondo-Robinson pair, but they've got to be better than Westbrook-Maynor, Fisher-Farmar, and just about any others pair out there (I'm sure I'm missing someone). Tonight, Felton had a double-double, and Augustin scored 10 points off the bench on only 5 shots, sparking the team in the fourth until the crunch time lineup came in.
-- Tyson Chandler and Theo Ratliff are doing their jobs. I've been shocked to see Ratliff putting the ball on the floor with reasonable efficacy, and Chandler looks like he's staying within himself and making sure he makes the correct play rather than aiming for the spectacular play -- leave that to Tyrus Thomas.