As the window for moving into a better playoff seeding continues to close, the Bobcats gained a huge victory towards their goal of moving out of their current rut as the 7 seed. As the Bobcats took down Brooklyn in an exciting five-point overtime victory, they were also gifted with a Wizards loss to the Suns and a Timberwolves win over the Hawks.
Tonight's game was ridiculously fun, in which every play got an emotional reaction, leaving the viewer on the edge of their seat right up to the final buzzer.
The final minutes of both regulation and overtime played out excruciatingly and in electrifying fashion. In the extra period, the Bobcats hit a huge three-pointer though Joe Johnson (THAT'S 7 TIME ALL STAR JOE JOHNSON TO YOU) retaliated with a gigantic three of his own. Back and forth the Bobcats and Nets volleyed mostly empty possession all the way up to Miles Plumlee's great, yet unfortunate (for him), block on Josh McRoberts' driving layup into the waiting hands of Chris Douglas-Roberts for the dagger jump shot from the left wing. Games like this create basketball fans.
Thanks to tonight, the Bobcats have managed to put distance between the Hawks at the 8 spot and gain some ground for the 6th seed. I'm not sure they have any chance of catching the 5th seed but a win over the Nets brings the Bobcats closer to that too if that opportunity in some way presents itself.
As far as the game itself went, it was an evenly matched affair the entire time. I thought the Nets outplayed the Bobcats in most ways in the first half. The ball movement was sound, they were creating open looks, and weren't settling for much. The Bobcats offense was sporadic and random, and the defense was having a hard time keeping up. All of that said, the Nets still only had a one-point lead at the end of the first half.
At halftime, the Bobcats must have made some adjustments because they looked and felt much better in the second half. They actually managed to grab the lead in the second half instead of just keeping it close and their offense was more methodical behind the two-pronged duo of Jefferson and Walker.
As the game went into overtime, I really didn't know what to expect. Both teams had played to their best ability and nobody had really outclassed the other. Every time someone would do something, the opposing team would answer right back. It was fantastic basketball.
All those praises aside, the Nets might have had a better chance at winning if they actually had someone or something that could stop Al Jefferson. With 35 points on 15-for-27 shooting, he was nigh on unstoppable, reasonably speaking. Mason Plumlee and Andray Blatche really had no answer for him the entire night. Big Al physically dominated them to the tune of 15 rebounds.
Looking at the box score, It's surprising how inefficient Kemba Walker shot tonight, with 20 points on 21 shots. Inefficiency aside, the 12 assists gave Walker a double double and he had some huge shots. His step-back jumper in overtime to give the Bobcats a three-point lead was just the most recent showing of how he can be so deadly on the offensive end of the ball. There aren't many folks in the NBA who can take that step-back and go up completely straight on the jump shot.
On the other side of things, maybe Deron Williams should have considered coming to Charlotte on his last contract instead of re-signing with Brooklyn because he sure loves putting up big numbers at Time Warner Cable Arena. He had 29 points, including five triples. The guy was almost unstoppable at times and he had the shot that eventually sent the game into overtime.
In one of the best games of the year entertainment-wise, the Bobcats managed to grab a huge win over a playoff team in their quest to try and get the 6th seed before the season ends. The Nets, on the other hand, played some great ball on the road and gave the Bobcats everything they had. Big Al went off, Kemba was great, Joe Johnson was always there to hit the big shot, and Deron Williams is nuts. It all got capped off when CDR hit the dagger off a blocked shot from Mason Plumlee. Excellent ending to a fantastic game.