Bobcats 99, Rockets 89
Boris Diaw arrived at the arena about two hours before tipoff
riding a Segway. He maneuvered the motorized two-wheeler through
the halls and drove it straight into the locker room.
It fit right in with the forward’s eccentric, laid-back
personality. It allows him to never get rattled, but his easygoing
style at times can infuriate his teammates.
On Friday night, Diaw was aggressive and focused, showing his
versatility in scoring 20 points, grabbing 10 rebounds and fueling
the Charlotte Bobcats’ comeback in their 99-89 victory over the
slumping Houston Rockets.
”When Boris plays like that we’re hard to beat,” said Gerald
Wallace, who shook off a poor shooting night to add 21 points and
14 rebounds. ”We tell him that every night. He thinks pass first
and shoot second. We want him to think shot first and pass second.
Because when he’s aggressive we’re a whole lot better as a
With owner Michael Jordan sitting courtside, the Bobcats
dominated the second half, with Diaw doing a little bit of
everything. He hit 9-of-14 shots to make up for Wallace’s 6-of-21
And as usual, Diaw just shrugged about his big role as Charlotte
rallied from an 11-point first-half deficit to end a two-game
”It depends on what the defense is doing,” Diaw said. ”If
they make me shoot I’m going to shoot the ball.”
Shooting is what did in the Rockets, who wilted in the second
half under a barrage of bricks.
Chase Budinger scored 19 points off the bench and Kevin Martin
added 16, but they combined to shoot 12 of 32 from the field. The
Rockets lost for the fifth time in six games as they play without
the injured Yao Ming and Aaron Brooks.
”It’s a make-or-miss league. By that, when you miss shots, the
sky is falling down,” said Shane Battier, who was 1 of 9 from the
field. ”When you make shots everything is honky-dory. Sometimes it
is as simple as that.”
Things sure looked simple for Diaw.
He scored on a post move, a mid-range jumper and a driving layup
in just over a minute to put Charlotte ahead 82-76 with 7:03 left.
After Budinger’s two free throws cut the deficit to two, Diaw hit
another jumper, scored in the lane and then grabbed a contested
rebound that led to Stephen Jackson’s clinching 3 in transition to
make it 93-82 with 2:41 left.
”He brings so much – when he’s aggressive,” Wallace said of
Diaw. ”Be aggressive, look to attack. Don’t be laid back and sassy
and look to pass.”
Jackson added 16 points and Nazr Mohammed had 15 points and
seven rebounds two nights after he was benched for a smaller lineup
in a loss to New York. It was a needed win for the Bobcats, whose
early season struggles contradicted Jordan’s bold proclamations
that they were a better team than last season.
Jordan, who sits at the end of Charlotte’s bench, was animated
in the first half.
”I heard my owner say ‘We have to start guarding,”’ coach
Larry Brown said. ”I think he’s pretty knowledgeable. I don’t
think we guarded great the first half.”
The second-half defensive intensity wore down the Rockets, who
wasted a good start.
Budinger, shooting 18 percent from 3-point range coming into the
game, buried 3 of 5 in the first half in which the Rockets led by
as many as 11 and became the latest team to frustrate Wallace.
Coming off his first All-Star appearance, Wallace’s slump
continued with a 2-of-10 shooting first half that included another
charge as he struggles to get to the basket. With Jackson getting
into early foul trouble, the Bobcats had few offensive options.
That changed in the third quarter, when Wallace was able to get
to the foul line and the Rockets started settling for – and missing
Charlotte started the period on a 9-0 run and the Rockets shot 7
of 23 from the field as the Bobcats took a 72-68 lead entering the
”We need to be ready to play when we know they’re going to push
and try to make a run to win the game,” said Luis Scola, who was
held to 11 points on 4-of-11 shooting. ”We’ve got to know those
runs are coming and we’ve got to not let that happen.”
Notes: Rockets coach Rick Adelman repeated Yao and Brooks are
still ”weeks away” from returning. … Bobcats G Gerald Henderson
missed his seventh straight game with a sore left knee. … Rockets
undrafted rookie G Ishmael Smith was a popular guy before the game
in his return home. The Concord, N.C., and Wake Forest product has
seen increased minutes with Brooks sidelined. ”I’ve had to throw
him out there in situations, but he’s handled it very well,”
Adelman said. ”We really like him.”