Thursday, February 01, 2007

Bobcats 104, Knicks 87

With a few minutes left in the Bobcats blowout victory over New York, commentator Matt Devlin asked sidekick Stephanie Ready, “Would you agree that this is the best Bobcats stretch in the team’s history?” Like there are a bunch to choose from! This 9-7 run is really the only Bobcats stretch in their history. Matt might as well have asked Stephanie if she agreed that the songs off the Tubthumper album were the best stretch in Chumbawamba’s history.

The Bobcats beat up on the Knicks Wednesday night, and the Charlotte crowd was positively eating it up towards the end—I couldn’t get over all the kids in little Bobcats outfits! Man, it was enough to make me believe the children really are our future. The sight of them filled me with the same warm feeling I get anytime I see articles about kids getting excited for the next Harry Potter book; it’s just always refreshing to see packs of junior high schoolers interested in something other than video games or random acts of vandalism.

Anyway, the Knicks played most of the game in a zone defense, but it hardly mattered, because Gerald Wallace played most of the game in a zone, period. G-Dub turned in his second consecutive superhuman effort, this time setting the single-game franchise record (the best four-quarter stretch in team history, if you will) with 42 points. Wallace hit an Iversonian 11/17 free throws and was almost good to a fault at driving to the hoop, because he single-handedly put Jared Jeffries in foul trouble, thereby forcing Isiah Thomas to reluctantly bring in the much better David Lee. Wallace also converted an All-Star Game level of alley-oops, many with such reckless abandon that I spent half the game cringing. Stephanie noted that “we never get tired of seeing Gerald make those alley-oops,” which I would agree with, but less because of his athleticism and more because I’m terrified that it’s just a matter of time before something horrible happens, like he gets his head caught up in the netting and inadvertently hangs himself.

Meanwhile, Emeka Okafor shrugged off early foul trouble to finish with another 15 rebounds and dominate Eddy Curry down low. This provided the game’s only real drama, as Okafor sat most of the first quarter with two fouls, then picked up a third and even a technical in the second. Oddly, it wasn’t until about 3 minutes later that Matt and Stephanie pointed out—almost off-handedly—that Okafor’s benching “might pose a problem.” Yeah, with no Melvin Ely, Othella Harrington, Sean May, or Primoz Brezec, I’d say it definitely "might" (note: the headline on Wednesday read: “Bobcats Center Harrington Out 3-6 Weeks”, and when I saw it I kept thinking that the real news would be if the headline read “Harrington In 3-6 Weeks”). Curry, it should be noted, is quite possibly the League’s only high-scoring, non-rebounding center. It made me wonder if you could have this sort of statistical misalignment elsewhere. How strange would it be, for instance, if you had a high-rebounding, no-assisting point guard? Or a high-fouling, no-assisting point guard? Oh wait, that actually wouldn’t be strange at all, that would be Stephon Marbury.

Ha! Sorry, I actually like Steph, I just had to throw a little “zinger” in there. And the Knicks really could have used more of Curry’s scoring last night, because they managed to go the first 10 minutes of the fourth before getting a field goal in the period. Yup, that wasn’t a typo: they hit some free throws, but it wasn’t until 1:54 remained in the game that they made their first regular bucket. And some of the shots were bad. On a couple of them, I’m not even sure what Jeffries was aiming for, unless he thought the hoop was up in the light fixtures somewhere.

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