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Suns 115, Bobcats 106 (OT): Blogcat's Take


The Bobcats were in Phoenix on Wednesday night, coincidentally just a day after I finished reading Jack McCallum’s revealing look at last year’s Suns team, 7 Seconds or Less.  I plan to do a full-blown review of the book in the next few days, but in short I would highly recommend it to anyone (other than my ignorant neighbor, the kind of guy who is immovable from the “basketball players are thugs” stance and who routinely cites the Latrell Sprewell choking incident like it happened ten days ago, rather than ten years ago).  Not only is it a terrifically expository page-turner, it’s inspiring to people like me.  In fact, I’m now thinking of turning these recaps I’ve been doing into a book of my own; perhaps I could call it 7 Losses in a Row or Less.
 
Anyway, closing out this west coast swing—which has turned into quite possibly the worst road trip since the Bay of Pigs invasion—against the Phoenix Suns was probably the last thing the defensively-challenged Bobcats wanted to do.  On the other hand, the nice thing about playing Phoenix is they tend to wildly inflate your own statistics—they’re like South America and currency.  Therefore, it was fitting that it was Brazilian Leandro Barbosa who contributed most to the Cats' eventual demise in overtime.  Barbosa scored 32 points (including 7-of-11 3-pointers) in the deadliest Brazilian shooting spree since City of God.
 
However, except for the Bobcats losing, this game had a number of surprising elements—going into overtime, for starters.  The Bobcats got a solid performance from everyone (how about that double-double from Jake Voskuhl?), had multiple leads, and out-rebounded the Suns 53-40.  Mercurial Phoenix head coach Mike D’Antoni, known for his legendary temper-tantrums, rants, and sideline antics, was so incensed with his team’s lackluster performance that at one point he even folded his arms and grimaced slightly.  Seriously though, the game got pretty chippy, as the refs called a total of four technical fouls and even ejected Amare Stoudemire early in the second half.  It was something you don’t expect from these fun-lovin’ Suns; it was almost like seeing a brawl break out at a Harlem Globetrotters game.    
 
Using the zone, the Bobcats eliminated cuts in the lane and forced the Suns to beat them from long-range—which, unfortunately, they did.  But the point is, we looked good as well.  Adam Morrison and Gerald Wallace get the Jay-Z award for their 22-points apiece (Wallace also added 15 rebounds), Matt Carroll had 16, and Brevin Knight scored 14 and had 9 assists.  Best of all, Raymond Felton had 13 points, 8 assists, and 8 rebounds for his best game in quite some time.  Rick Bonnell’s blog headline in today’s Observer reads “Felton Looks like a Point Guard vs. Suns,” which is the kind of thing I imagine Felton likes to read about himself, considering he is a point guard.  All in all, it was the kind of upbeat effort you like to see.  Perhaps Coach Bickerstaff put it best when he said after the game, “Some things we do out of necessity. A drowning man will grab a razor blade.”  Then again, perhaps Coach Bickerstaff didn't put it best, because I really have no clue what that means.
 
Finally, special props tonight go to commentator Stephanie Ready, who is certainly not shying away from asking the tough questions.  First, in an interview during the game she asked Sean May point-blank what he is doing for his daily cardio-routine while he’s been sidelined all this time with his injury.  Maybe it’s just me, but this struck me as sort of a sensitive subject to bring up, as we all know May isn’t exactly known for his hard-core training regimens even when he is healthy.  It was sort of like asking Barry Bonds what supplements he’s taking right now—not controversial on the face of it, but kind of touchy considering who you’re talking to.  Then, after the game, Steph asked Shawn Marion about a key blocked shot he had in overtime that pretty much broke Charlotte’s back, and she actually pointed out to him that it looked like goaltending.  “It was a blocked shot,” Marion quickly snapped back, “It is what it is.”  I’m sure I’m not the only one who loathes that phrase, especially in this case, when it wasn’t at all what it was; that the ball was coming down when Marion blocked it couldn’t have been more obvious if it was hanging from a parachute.  So anyway, go get 'em, Steph.  If only she had conducted that exclusive interview with Michael Jordan instead of Matt Devlin, maybe she would have asked MJ which shower-curtain ring dealer sold him that earring—you see that hula hoop he was wearing?  Thing was huge.        
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