(Ed.: Evan Dunlap over at Orlando Pinstriped Post writes about a more realistic and scientific outcome, in which somehow the Bobcats win.)
So close, and yet so far!
Jumping out to an early lead, the Bobcats rode a masterful offensive outburst from Gilbert Arenas scoring on his own basket until Orlando found themselves down a cool dozen to the visitors and Stan Van Gundy yanked him from the game. Then, as expected, Dwight Howard's elbows started finding their way through faces and stuff en route to jumping really high and putting the leather sphere into a netted metal circle. Basketball, you guys!
Even the face mushing that should have been the deciding factor was a draw, as Gerald Henderson and Quentin Richardson mushed each other simultaneously. Clearly, it was going to be a closely-fought battle of pure basketball talents.
And then Eduardo Najera came in the game and the Bobcats somehow found themselves in a deep hole heading into halftime. Oh, Eduardo.
The rest of the recap is after the jump.
But the Bobcats would not go quietly into the night - oh no, they would not roll over easily! D.J. Augustin started doing his patented 'run really fast and somehow make a layup without getting blocked' thing and Gerald Henderson's hair set some nice screens to free up Kwame Brown for some deep treys (PS nice addition to your skill set, Kwame!).
The next thing you knew, the Bobcats were back in it.
But hark - here comes Orlando's secret weapon! Yea verily, Van Gundy did unleash the Beast of the Southeast. For when he comes onto the court, 'tis like looking directly at the Sun. You may know him as "Chris Duhon." And holy cow, did Duhon do his thing last night. He rocked and rolled, finishing with a double-double in turnovers and fouls (somehow).
Disappointingly, Kemba Walker did not finish with a zillion points like I had hoped, but it didn't even seem necessary with a 13-point lead at the beginning of the fourth quarter. Even with D.J. White yamming on some suckas, the momentum was turning. Not even Tyrus Thomas' natural-looking 'get stuck on the baseline after picking up my dribble' move was stemming the Magic's comeback.
Boris Diaw and Hedo Turkoglu were basically non-factors, especially after Hedo invited him to have a bunch of pizza during a timeout.
With a few minutes remaining, Dwight Howard remembered he wasn't Joel Anthony and started scoring at an incredible clip. Ryan Anderson made one of those three-pointers that he always makes because he's Ryan Anderson and the next thing you knew, it was a tie game with 10 seconds left with the Bobcats in possession.
What happened next was like Deja Vu. Gerald Henderson sprung himself for a curl like we've seen so often before, but Corey Maggette, was all like, "Naw b, I got this." After which, he moonwalked for about six seconds, did a front-flip and then put his defender in a choke hold until time ran out. Alas, opportunity missed.
Then in the overtime periods, no one scored. It was kind of bizarre, but the two teams decided they were, like, super-duper tired and thought it would be best if they all just sat down for the rest of the game.
To decide the game, the referees took a drastic measure and put the game in sudden death, pitting Dwight Howard and Paul Silas in a winner-take-all smile-off. Unfortunately, Paul was still reeling from the Henderson-Richardson face mush faux pas, and as such, was not up to full smiling potential. Dwight Howard thought of how much he enjoys the Disney Channel and grinned so brightly than everyone in attendance got a tan. Yes, even J.J. Redick.
The Magic were awarded 20 points and the Bobcats sulked back to their bus, dejected from a narrow defeat.