Charlotte Bobcats guard D.J. Augustin (14) drives past Los Angeles Lakers forward Pau Gasol (16), of Spain, and Derek Fisher (2) the second half of the Bobcats’ 94-84 win in an NBA basketball game in Charlotte, N.C., Tuesday, March 31, 2009. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
You cannot deny how well the Bobcats match up with the Lakers.
With tonight’s win 94-84, the Bobcats have won six of their last seven games vs. L.A.
In front of a sell-out crowd, one that included a fist-clenching Michael Jordan, the Bobcats proved why their name needs to be in every playoff conversation.
Six players scored in double figures for the Bobcats tonight, led by Gerald Wallace with 21 points, 13 rebounds, and five blocked shots, his third double-double in the last four games. His ability to get to the hole can leave people questioning why he’s not always as aggressive. Remember that he received a collapsed lung and a broken rib in his last game vs. Lakers.
G-Force (Wallace) spoke about finishing the season strong.
“For us, every game is big right now. We want to come out and perform at our best. These (games) right now are considered playoff games for us. We’re trying to sweep them.”
The Lakers found themselves in the game but behind all night. They shot only 39% as the Bobcats showed up on defense blocking shots left and right, ending the game with nine blocked shots total. Kobe Bryant shot a stale 11-28 guarded by Raja Bell, and Boris Diaw at times.
“They (the Bobcats) always play us very well”, said Bryant. “They have good guards, athletic forwards and big guys up front. You have to give them credit. They always play hard.”
Bryant only made it to the line three times all night, and the Lamar Odom-Pau Gasol tandem with 36 points combined was not able to carry the load. The Lakers received such little support from their bench (11 points) that coach Phil Jackson must have been wishing he had Vladimir Radmonovic back. Radmonovic scored seven points in fifteen minutes off the bench and D.J. Augustin scored 14 in 19 minutes.
The win by the Bobcats (34-40) moves them one game behind Chicago (36-40) for the eighth playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The Lakers drop to 58-16 and still have a commanding lead on the Spurs for first in the Western Conference. Bobcats coach Larry Brown continues to express his pleasure in his teams progress.
“I told our guys we did a phenomenal defensive job. With that in mind we can do a better job of controlling our boards and give ourselves a chance. We had some sensational performances. Emeka was great, Gerald was great, Boris was great, the whole Kobe (Bryant) with 25 (points) on 28 shots is an incredible defensive job.”