I’m going to get a little dramatic here with the opening (set the mood, like candles and BoysIIMen only, I’m trying to let you know, this win was a big deal):
Trade rumors, demands and assorted BS circle, hanging over the heads of both franchises, as they meet on a night, much like any of 66 other nights for either team. Yes, those rumors, reports and demands hang like the guillotine on a ever thinning thread, threatening to fall and change the fortunes of either franchise at any given moment. It was a normal night in the NBA, on a grind of 5 games in 7 days, 4 of which are at home for the Bobcats. The expectation was that the Magic would come in and steamroll the Bobcats, for the 11th straight time, if you include the playoff sweep. Vegas had the Magic as a 9 point favorite. After all, the Bobcats had lost 6 straight and only 4 wins on the season. But, nope, things changed, for one night anyway.
Those swirling, heavy, dark, menacing rumors involved Dwight Howard, as they have all season. The others, involve the Bobcats. Yes, the Bobcats, not as in some Bobcats or a few guys, but the entire team, if I had to guess, could be had for a price. Mainly, as fans, we’ve all been expecting and hoping for Boris Diaw to get gone. However it would have to happen, many fans, most fans, want Boris out of town. Well, Boris Diaw and his agent have requested either a trade or a buyout. The gall, but we’ll have to discuss that in a different post. But that set the stage, leading up to the game.
The Bobcats won, not because the Magic played down or gave up or didn’t show up. The Bobcats won because they outplayed the Magic. There is one guy you can point to as the leader, who started and sustained the energy and without question, that man was Bismack Biyombo. A double-double of 10 points, 15 rebounds (6 of which were on the offensive end, extending plays), and 6 blocks while playing against Dwight Howard, a guy who many consider to be the best big-man in the league right now. Dwight had 15 points, 17 boards and 2 blocks.
Corey Maggette had the points, 29 to lead all scorers but his was the foundation of offense that guys like Gerald Henderson (16) and the rookies (Kemba Walker and Biz with 10 each) built on top of. Even Eddy Najera got into the action with 7 points.
Two things set the tone to let the Bobcats get things to go the way they wanted, in my opinion: the benching of Boris Diaw and Paul Silas’s ejection. Silas is sticking up for the guys who are sticking with it. Diaw is heading for the hills and in no position to make demands, therefore his insistence and the team’s reaction galvanized the roster behind young Stephen Silas for the better part of 3 quarters and in an astounding fourth quarter, in which the Bobcats held the Magic to 13 points.
I’m going to bask in the glow of this one. The Bobcats deserved it and the fans deserved it more than anything. I hope it leads to some momentum for these younger players, but of course, I think they’ve got to protect the bottom in order to get the most ping-pong balls. More than anything I’m just happy for a win.