1. The shorthanded Bobcats lose again tonight, 95-90 on the road to the Mavs. Cats drop to 7-16, Mavs improve to 12-9. This also moves the Cats to 0-10 all time versus the Mavs. AP story here, box score here.
2. Apologies for the lack of a post on last night’s game versus the Hornets. Suffice to say, the game was an afterthought yesterday for us here at the Baseline. Apparently, it was for the Cats, too, as they looked shellshocked and got beat soundly. Perhaps the most disappointing thing was that neither Shannon Brown, Matt Carroll or Adam Morrison (especially Adam) were able to do anything with the extra minutes they were given.
3. And now for a few leftover thoughts on the trade:
a) I’m not gnashing my teeth over the loss of Jared Dudley as much as many others are. Yes, he was a decent player who was on a cheap rookie deal. But I think his contributions have been overrated because he is a low-maintenance/dirty work/hustle stats kind of player that us internet geeks tend to fawn over. He was also almost frighteningly unathletic, and I think that’s going to prevent him from having much of a career. Lastly, he isn’t nearly as funny as he (and Bobcats PR) seem to think he is.
b) It’s laughable how ill-informed some people who are paid to know and talk/write about the NBA actually are. I know there’s a lot of pressure to fill up space with words, but don’t make stuff up just because it sounds good. Couple of examples: last night I caught Bobcats color guy Henry Williams extolling Boris Diaw’s rebounding prowess. Oh, really? Hint: scroll all the way down and you can see that Diaw is one of the worst rebounding PFs in the league. And in Tom Sorenson’s blog post on the trade, he speaks of Diaw’s “athleticism” and “leaping” ability. Are they mixing up Diaw with Josh Smith, or Tyrus Thomas?
c) Along those same lines, I got a chuckle out of some comments from hopeful Phoenix fans around the internet. They think that Jason Richardson is going to be an explosive scorer, a beast finishing on the fast break, and a go-to guy at the end of the game. Reality: Jason Richardson occasionally has some explosive quarters, but he’s not an elite scorer. And it’s really looking like the second half he had last season was flukey – most of his numbers have regressed to his career means this year. His athleticism has diminished considerably over the past couple of years; and it was limited to begin with. Because he was primarily a 2-footed power jumper and not a 1-footed leaper, he really wasn’t that great at slashing, driving, or finishing on the break. He needs space and time to plant and jump of two feet – space and time are at a premium in the NBA. And if anything, he’s shown during his time with the Bobcats that he’s anything but a go-to guy down the stretch. From last year’s botched inbounds pass that allowed Ray Allen to hit a heartbreaking, game-winning three, to the two missed free throws with 30 seconds left against Miami on Monday night, he’s been a bit of a choke artist for us.
d) All that said, the Suns definitely got the better of this trade. That extra year on Diaw’s contract (2011-12) is the killer that puts it over the edge in a bad way for the Cats. All we can hope for is that Diaw is somehow motivated by the change in scenery and recreates his contract year for us.
4) Back to the Mavs game: this one wasn’t as pitiful as last night’s game in New Orleans. I missed the first quarter and a half and was surprised to see the Cats up by a few points midway through the second. But they were never able to pull more than a few points away from the Mavs, and I spent the rest of the second half just waiting for the other shoe to drop; or rather, for Dirk or Jet to drop in a back-breaking three. Dirk eventually dropped two such threes: one with six minutes left to give the Mavs a six point lead, and another with 30 seconds left for a four point lead.
5) The Cats started each half with an odd lineup of DJ, Felton, Carroll, Okafor and Hollins. Okafor also played with Mohammed for a stretch as well, and from what I could tell, it seemed like Mek was matched up on Dirk quite a bit. Was this a bit of foreshadowing for the rumored acquisition of a “true” center and Okafor’s move to PF? I hope not, as I’ve made my thoughts on the proper usage of Emeka quite clear in the past; but at least for tonight, Okafor seemed to acquit himself just fine to playing the 4. He also had another intriguing offensive game, going for 27 points on 12-17 FGs, while adding 17 rebounds. While Okafor has had a several good outings recently, I’m not about to get excited about it. I’m sure he’ll drop back into one of his funks soon enough.
6) With a bit more production from the any of the guards tonight, we might have been able to pull away from the Mavs at some point and finally win one against them. But Felton and Augustin were a combined 9-32 from the field, while Carroll, Morrison and Shannon Brown combined for just 19 points between the three of them.
7) On a positive note, Ryan Hollins scored 7 points on just 2 shot attempts. He made both those attempts (both dunks) and hit 3-4 FTs. I love to watch Hollins dunk, because he does it with the exuberance that my friends and I did when we were 16 and lowered our driveway baskets to 8.5 feet. He seems to get the same simple, childlike pleasure out of it that we did, too.
8) Next game is a home match against the Pistons Saturday night at 7:00. Diaw and Bell will likely be in the lineup, and if Gerald hasn’t been traded, he should be too. At least it’ll be interesting…