Now you would think this means negativity and moping and such. I digress; once again there is much hope. Without Stephen Jackson. Without Tyrus Thomas. Without more than 1 center (again). Without a legit backup PG. The Bobcats fought from start to finish with the Orlando Magic. Dante Cunningham with a career high performance, and many players stepping up to the occasion. A full on, healthy Bobcats team with 2 functioning centers will be more than playoff worthy for next year. Dante poured on 21 pts on an efficient shooting night, and DJ Augustin added 19 as the Bobcats fell 89-77 to the Magic. More after the tip.
Slow start to the game as Orlando pretty much passed the ball to Howard and he did whatever he wanted. The Bobcats were up the challenge early as they matched Orlando point for point until the Magic pulled ahead late in the 1st. Neither Boris nor Kwame could do anything to stop Dwight's incredible strength. Hendo and Augustin made everything all right with some killer play. Only 1 foul was called on the Magic the ENTIRE 1st quarter. The Bobcats fought and fought to keep the score 17-23 after 1.
Things got a little hotter in the 2nd as each team began to score a little more freely. Matt Carroll came in and promptly knocked down a Matt Carroll-style 3. I really think he needs to get at least 7-10 minutes a game to truly be effective. He came in so sporadically early in the season and I think that had a lot to do with the ineffectiveness of his shooting and such. I know we have more talented players on the team, but if he's simply there to be a shooter, then shooters need to warm up. He brings a lot of hustle and dare I say....grit(?) to the lineup when he's in. He's got inspirational drive that a lot of guys could fuel off of. Personally, I would love to have him back after his contract is traded and bought out in the coming years(at league minimum of course). I think he's the type of player who could do a lot for our incoming younger guys in terms of leadership and guidance. That's my random opinion piece for the night. ON to the rest of the 2nd! The Cats shot an abysmal 1-6 from 3, but managed to shoot 46% on the half regardless of Hendo's 3/10 shooting. Dante Cunningham and DJ Augustin lead with 11 a piece. The Magic lead by 10.
A lot of the same in the 3rd as the Magic maintained a 10 pt lead for the majority of the quarter. The Bobcats fought and didn't give up, but had to start surrendering fouls to make Howard miss and hope for missed FT's. For such a depleted team you have to give them credit for the heart they displayed. Very, very few fouls were called the Bobcats way as DJ Augustin was more than abused under the basket on occasion. Each time the Cats would claw to single digits and make the lead less intense, Orlando would knock down a timely 3 and keep the game just out of reach.
As with all of the Magic/Bobcats games, the 3's they make hurt more than 3's made by any other team. As Steve Martin said "it's not how many they made, it's WHEN they made them". Simply every time the Cats had momentum and got the lead within 4 or so. The Magic would knock down a couple of heart wrenching 3's and extend the lead back to 10. Can't say enough about the effort and heart of this team. They simply do not have the firepower to keep up with this Magic team, and they certainly tried. I am one to normally complain about the refs since I'm a sour fan, but the refs simply would NOT call timely fouls on the Magic. Howard had NONE with 6 mins. to go in the 4th. It was rather disheartening as the Cats could not catch a break what-so-ever with the officials. Which, in my opinion, has been the case in the entire existence of the team and it's really rather ridiculous. Anyway, enough with that. I had to vent. The Magic blew it open in the 4th with a 16 pt lead with less than 4 mins. to go. The effort was there. The scoring and efficiency was not. With over 16 turnovers and 19 fouls the Cats could not catch a break. They made only one 3pt shot on the night as Orlando knocked down over 10. They simply could not keep up.
Ponder this for a minute, though. Kwame with a legit backup Center or a starter ahead of him. Tyrus and Jack healthy with Cunningham and Dub coming off the bench for them. Liv having a summer to work with Hendo, DJ, Dub, Cunningham, and Kwame. More chemistry. More team advancement and a better team. Start next season without the patented LB slump, and we could be in more than playoff berth contention by mid season. A decent draft choice and more solidity to this Bobcats team and we could be taking small leaps and bounds right before your eyes. It's all about perspective in the situation the Bobcats are in right now. I personally believe that it's going to be a FUN ride.
Clearly Dante was the TSP game breaker for the game with 21pts and 7 rebounds. He is going to be a great asset to keep around for this team.
What's up next?
Bobcats are back at home on Sunday to take on the reeling Wizards. Most of the TSP team will be at this game so, popcorn and other objects are a must for throwing and such. I kid. I kid. Fun times will be had by all. GO CATS!
Trade Street Post and Rufus on Fire (www.rufusonfire.com) Brethren...
You'll definitely want to stay tuned to our 2 websites...especially next season...
We have 2 Season Tickets that we will be giving away for some of the games next season, so you definitely don't want to miss out on those chances.
Finally, a small corner of Time Warner Cable Arena is ours for all of the home games...and I literally mean a corner...214 Row C seats 5-6. Official seats of Trade Street Post for the 2011-2012 season...