Spurs take care of business
TOM SORENSEN charlotte.com
What was supposed to happen happened.
The San Antonio Spurs, who are as good as anybody in basketball, beat the Charlotte Bobcats 94-86. You'd constantly look at the scoreboard and expect the Spurs to be up by 15.
Instead, it was a mere eight or 10, a number that implied the Bobcats had a chance to come back. They did not.
When the Spurs had to have a basket, they could call upon Tim Duncan or Tony Parker to score it, or Parker or Manu Ginobili to set it up.
So let's look at some developments that weren't expected. Although this was the third game in the new building, there were many firsts.
It was the first time a courtside celebrity was booed. Celebrities at courtside included Charlotte 49ers coach Bobby Lutz, Carolina Panthers Brentson Buckner, Ricky Manning Jr., DeShaun Foster and Ricky Proehl, and race car driver Kurt Busch.
When the cameras flashed their pictures on the giant scoreboard, whom do you think was booed?
Hint: He was not a football player or a coach.
It was the first Primoz Brezec sighting. Most of the season, the big man has been little more than a theory. At Charlotte Bobcats Arena on Wednesday, he scored 13 points for the Bobcats and grabbed seven rebounds.
It was the first time a team has featured players from Slovenia, France, the Virgin Islands, Argentina and Alabama.
How many languages will you hear on the bus leaving the arena?
"Slovenian, French, Spanish and broken English," says San Antonio center Nazr Mohammed.
It was the first time a cheerleader fell off the shoulders of the guy carrying her. He realized she was falling and leaned backward to help soften the fall. She got up and went back to work. That's what cheerleaders do when times get tough.
It was the first SportsCenter-quality highlight by Charlotte's Emeka Okafor. Parker slipped the ball to Duncan after Brezec fell and Duncan, with the lane open, went high for an easy dunk.
Okafor responded by all but telling Duncan to get that weak dusty Alamo Western Conference garbage out of here, and rejected the shot the way a woman rejects a sportswriter at last call. Okafor had a moment. Duncan (29 points and 10 rebounds) had a game.
It was the first time a game at the arena did not go to overtime.
It was the first time Keith Bogans showed why he ought to be in the rotation. A 6-foot-5 guard, Bogans had four of Charlotte's impressive 14 steals, three assists, three rebounds and 11 points. If he had a jump shot, you could not dislodge him from the lineup.
So there were many firsts. There also was one quality this game shared with the two home games that preceded it.
The Bobcats made another late run, cutting a 12-point lead with less than four minutes to go to a five-point lead in the last 90 seconds.
Fans got excited, chanted defense and made noise. At this juncture, the Bobcats assignment is to, along with winning, give fans a reason to come back.