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Bobcats edge Trail Blazers 97-92, spoil Wallace's return

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What more can you ask for in a home game than a close win against a good team, an energetic crowd and free pizza?

Oh, and the Bobcats moved closer to the playoffs.

So, it was a pretty good night!

Though the Bobcats fell behind in the third quarter, Stephen Jackson carried the Bobcats en route to their first win in six games.

Charlotte also got great games from newcomers D.J. White and Dante Cunningham off the bench. Meanwhile, the Indiana Pacers were defeated by the Toronto Raptors, putting the 8th seed even closer to Charlotte's possession. Though their records are the same, Indiana holds the tiebreaker, having beaten the Bobcats three out of four games.

Trail Blazers vs Bobcats boxscore

Before the game began, the Bobcats put on a short Gerald Wallace tribute video at the end of warmups. It was a very classy show of appreciation and received a warm ovation, despite a slightly disappointing crowd. While the upper deck filled up nicely, the lower bowl had lots of empty seats. Regardless, the crowd was the most alive I've seen it since probably the playoffs. Gerald got a decent amount of applause whenever he checked into the game as well, though I would have liked it to have been louder.

On to the first quarter. Despite having NINE turnovers in the quarter, the Bobcats emerged with only a three-point deficit thanks to effective containment of LaMarcus Aldridge and forcing the Blazers to give looks to the offensively-challenged Marcus Camby. And although D.J. Augustin was sloppy in the quarter, he was able to get draw fouls and score some freebies.

In the second period, the Bobcats cut down on their turnovers but struggled to find scoring outside of Augustin. One of the guys who stepped up was D.J. White. Looking more and more like the steal of the trade deadline for the Bobcats, White was all over the court (in a good way), grabbing rebounds with fervor (7, including four offensive), some of which led to putbacks, and he had an astounding block of a LaMarcus Aldridge baby hook. Color me proud of the Bobcats organization for taking a chance on him. A very good find. Portland continued to struggle finding their own offense with Aldridge shooting only one of five in the second quarter. At the half, the game was all tied at 45.

But then the third quarter came, and it looked like so many third quarters that we've seen before: abysmal shooting and poor defense brought about by bad rotation. Augustin's shot was no longer falling and he couldn't penetrate for looks inside. Jackson was struggling to find his shot as well and most of the Bobcats offense came through Gerald Henderson or Dante Cunningham, who showed that he has more than just a spot-up jumper. While the Bobcats struggled, Portland utilized effective ball movement to help take a six-point lead heading into the final quarter.

But whereas the Bobcats team sans Stephen Jackson would usually crumple like a folding chair in situations like these heading into the fourth, this team with Jackson is much different. Although he can be very inefficient, Jack's scoring ability is much needed. And tonight's fourth quarter showed exactly what he's capable of. Eighteen points in the final quarter alone on 11 field goal attempts, with two buckets from downtown. It was amazing to watch. Even with a hand in his face, he was still able to knock 'em down. And the Trail Blazers couldn't keep up to match his efficient scoring performance. The Bobcats tightened up their defense, rebounded the ball and closed out a tight game to get the win.

And to add a cherry on top, Patty Mills missed a pair of free throws in the fourth quarter giving everyone in attendance a free individual-sized pizza from Donatos!

TL; DR Version: Jackson drops 18 in fourth, DJ White strong in close win over Trail Blazers

A Note on Tyrus' Night: It wasn't much to talk about. He had a rough time offensively but rebounded pretty well in 24 minutes. It looked like he was pretty cautious while he was on the court, so as he gets more comfortable coming off of his injury, I expect him to get back to his more aggressive style.

GameThread Comment of the Night:

I like what we got in the trade.

White and Cunningham were +30 for the game and combined for 27 points, 11 boards, 2 blocks and 11 of 15 shooting. NOT. TOO. SHABBY.

If we had to trade Crash and Nazr, we got some talent back….and got two round picks. Hope the trade was the first step to rebuilding and gaining some respectability. Just need an upgrade at PF/C and kick Diaw’s a** to the curb.

- ddbumpus

Video I took of Gerald Wallace checking into the game