Highest plus/minus: Brendan Haywood (+13)
Lowest plus/minus: Andray Blatche (-7)
I've gotta agree with Ivan Carter, that was a really strange game, though every game against Charlotte seems to follow a similar script. Roger Mason's shooting carried us to an early first quarter lead, and Caron Butler's strong third quarter erased a five point Charlotte advantage and carried the Wizards to victory.
We'll talk more about Caron in a later post, but despite struggling noticeably with his ankle injury, he played a strong game. Brendan Haywood continues to be a monster, especially in the first quarter, and, per usual, the Wizards were better with him on the floor. Jamison played his typical Jamison game, and there were only a couple instances where I thought he took bad shots.
But the story of this game was Roger Mason and his hot shooting. It's a little weird to watch Mason play the point, because it's definitely not his strength, but it's going to be interesting to see what happens to the guard rotation once AD comes back. My guess is that you won't see much of AD and Mason together, but then how do you get Mason 15-20 minutes a game and not bury Nick Young, who did not play well today, but still needs some minutes? I'm not too surprised that Mason had a game like this, because he can get on streaks, but I have been surprised that he's not turning the ball over, playing good defense, and delivering the ball to players in the right spots. He's certainly shouldn't take AD's starting job, but hopefully Eddie Jordan will split the minutes between Mason and AD more evenly.
As far as the defense goes, it's disconcerting to see the same guys get beat on screens. Jason Richardson can't do anything but shoot threes at this point, but nobody was forcing him to put the ball on the floor and drive. Butler, Nick Young, and even Stevenson were constantly caught sinking into the lane, which you just can't do against J-Rich. Gerald Wallace had his typical outstanding game, often times because we weren't laying off him enough. That's either bad scouting or bad execution, and seeing as how the players have stunk defensively for three years running, I'm leaning towards bad execution. It didn't cost us tonight, because the Bobcats have no inside game, but against a good team, that bad recognition will hurt dearly.
So long as we beat New Jersey and hapless Miami, we can enter the new year three games over .500, even without Gilbert Arenas. That's pretty impressive no matter how you slice it.