A complete turnaround from Sat. night. The first of a streak?
The goal was efficiency, and it showed up everywhere against the Raptors. They shared the ball, with 32 of 44 baskets assisted. They rebounded the ball, winning that battle 41-40. They attacked defensively, forcing 24 turnovers and holding the Raptors to 38percent shooting.
They even made their free throws (18-of-19). Talk about playing the right way.
“We were real efficient,” said Brown, who would have said just the opposite after a 108-100 loss to the Timberwolves. “I love it when everybody shares the ball.”
Brown can't remember an NBA game where no player took more than 13 shots. That was Wallace, who made 8-of-13 from the field for 25 points, plus nine rebounds, five assists and three steals.
The Bobcats (29-38) put up 89 shots – 18 more than the Raptors – and made 49 percent. The difference in shot opportunities was all about defense – they converted 24 turnovers into 28 easy points.
Charlotte's biggest flaw in Minnesota was haphazard defense, particularly against the high screen-and-roll. That would have been costly against Toronto because both its starting big men, Chris Bosh and 7-footer Andrea Bargnani, are such good outside shooters.
“That's a team that's hard to guard,” Brown said, “especially because you have to guard Bargnani out on the court.”
They did a good job of that. Bargnani shot 4-of-11 overall and 0-of-3 from 3-point range. Bosh had some good moments (18 points and 14 rebounds), but there was never a point in the second half when this game looked in doubt.
Now they're a game out of the eighth and final playoff spot in the East.
“We've got to play this hard all the time,” Wallace said. “If we keep letting games get away, we'll look back at the end of the season and say, ‘We did this to ourselves.'”