When it matters most, that’s the phrase I had on the tip of my tongue tonight in the Overtime period. 5 minutes left to determine if the Bobcats live another day and they blew it. 2 games prior to that against “easy” teams, teams that when we all looked at the remaining games after that 4 game win streak, we all thought “Those are in the bag,” well, they weren’t. Leading much of the game tonight, the Bobcats didn’t have this one in the bag either.
I am happy as hell they’re still fighting. Lots of people will tell you they don’t care if they win, don’t care who plays and probably won’t watch or show up, but screw that. We’re here to watch, we’re here for things like Gerald Henderson going off for 32 points, in a real NBA game. Suck on that Larry. This kid couldn’t see the court, he was about sent to D-League this season, Coach Silas comes in, and he’s a new player. Or maybe, he was the same player he had been, just given a chance. 32 tonight for him on 12-22 shooting is awesome. 7-7 from the line, just as good and getting in Quintin Richardson’s head….the best.
Henderson runs like Rip Hamilton used to, kinda. He fights away from the ball to get free of his mark like Reggie Miller did, sorta. He just runs and chips and gets guys to rn into screens. Tonight he did this extremely well and it finally got to Q-Rich, so he was extremely physical for a play, then the ball went out of bounds off of him, on foul calls that weren’t made for about 20 seconds and then he ran his mouth at Hendo. Hendo didn’t back down, gave what he got and then got shoved in the face. Turkoglu stepped in as did Kwame Brown, like a big brother or something, kinda nice to see that. So Richardson got a double tech, Hendo got one (inexplicably), Kwame and Hedo got one as well. You can point to this as a turning point or a transition.
It showed that the Magic were serious, Stan Van Gundy sent Dwight Howard and Jameer Nelson back into the game and the Bobcats looked lost and shook. It also showed that the refs had zero control in this game, whatsoever. Steve Martin doesn’t get on the refs very much, I mean he’s a homer like anybody out there working for at team but he isn’t one to blame referees. He called them out saying they were a step late and a dollar short. He was right, it took them way, way too long to review that play, they didn’t back it up far enough, didn’t give Hendo a personal foul shot and they basically got it wrong. They, like every other crew in the league, also allowed Dwight Howard to do whatever he wanted. Dwight set moving screens and snow plowed guys in the lane for offensive fouls like that’s all he understood he was supposed to do. Yeah he could get away with it but come on, they have to see it at some point.
So I blamed the refs, I blamed the fight, I gave the one guy who scored like 10 more than anyone else credit….what am I missing here? Oh yeah, the Bobcats are officially out of the playoffs. There is nothing to play for now, not in the big picture. They could try to lose more than Milwaukee and maybe get below the Clippers, but it doesn’t really matter, the lottery is the lottery, you’ll still be relying on Michael Jordan and Rod Higgins to select the right guy, what does it matter if it’s 12, 13 or even 10 or something?
You have to give Paul Silas and his staff (depleted, still) credit for motivating 9 guys to play well enough to push an Eastern Conference contender to overtime on a night like this. 2nd game of a back-to-back, 2 straight losses to bad teams and the same 9 guys playing more minutes than they’re used to in most cases and they had a chance at the buzzer to end regulation. Credit DJ Augustin for that as well, he hit the big three to tie it up after going 1-10 from the floor and only scoring 3 points. Then he got the steal out front but he just couldn’t convert……wait for it………….WHEN IT MATTERED MOST!
Look, I’m not pissed, I’m not super disappointed. I just wanted more out of this year than 9th place. It looks like it’ll be 9th or 10th. I’ve said, Silas, Jordan and everyone in the building at 333 E. Trade have said “This season is a failure if we don’t make the playoffs.” Well, adversity be damned, this season is a failure. Larry Brown, trades, changes, frustrations, injuries and all of it, all got in the way of this team. Tonight, the final 5 minutes, overtime, a microcosm of the season. Couldn’t make it happen when things matter most, such a let down.