The Charlotte Bobcats (18-54) came away with a 114-108 victory against the Orlando Magic (17-54) tonight, as the team slowly but surely inches towards the elusive 29th seed in the NBA. This also means that the Magic are a step closer to taking the Bobcats' place as favorites for the first pick in the 2013 NBA Draft. In other words, the highlights from tonight's game would make for a perfect "there can only be one" commercial.
In all seriousness though, the Cats played very admirably for the final 36 minutes of the game. The first quarter, however, felt like the matchup against Miami. Charlotte simply couldn't defend Orlando's passing game, which created a plethora of open shots -- at the rim and from outside -- not that an inability to defend the three is even worth mentioning at this point. Tobias Harris led all scorers with 12 points while Kyle O'Quinn, an unlikely hero, chipped in ten points as the Magic took a 19-point lead after the first quarter. O'Quinn, who hasn't played much this season, finished with a career high 23 points to go with 11 rebounds and six assists. His opportunistic scoring did more than just fill the void of Nikola Vucevic, who might miss the entire season.
Luckily, the Bobcats had their own scoring duo ready to unleash their wrath on the Magic. We'll get to that later, though.
The second quarter of this game belongs to Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Bismack Biyombo. Biz scored nine -- yes, nine! -- points off of 4/5 shooting while playing the entire quarter. He provided the Bobcats with an anchor on the other end, as he played a huge role in forcing the Magic to shoot just 36 percent from the field. MKG didn't have an impressive night statistically, but the energy he provided was indisputable. Trailing by just seven points, the Bobcats needed just one more outburst to take the lead and they'd get it... in a big way.
Gerald Henderson, who has been fantastic as of late, scored 15 points in the third quarter. Hendo's been averaging 24.5 points over his last five games, something that is either awesome or terrible for Bobcats fans, depending on where he ends up next season. Anyway, a mid-range jumper via Kemba Walker gave the Bobcats the lead with 5:52 to go in the third. Both Henderson and Walker ended up with 34 points each. Interestingly, both were also just one point shy of their career highs.
The Magic weren't done yet, though. With just eight minutes left to go in the game, Orlando found themselves ahead by seven points. Enter: Gerald Henderson, Part II. Hendo scored eight of his 34 points in the closing minutes of the game, going 4/4 from the field. Layups, shots in the lane, jumpers, you name it. To top everything off, former Magic player and new found Bobcats cult hero Josh McRoberts helped the Cats end a great game on a high note.
What a fun game.