2. Thankfully, the Wallace trade rumors seem to have calmed down – let’s hope they have completely died. Sadly, it sounds like it took another team’s (the Warriors) trepidation about putting Gerald Wallace’s contract on their books for this to happen. The money isn’t really that bad (between $8.2 million and $10.6 million per) – but the 4 years left on the deal translate into some degree of financial inflexibility for the roughly 20 teams around the league that all think they’re going to sign Lebron, Wade and Bosh in the summer of ’10.
3. Anyways, for three quarters, today’s game seemed alot like Friday’s vs. the Hornets. The Cats had an especially good second quarter and were using good defense and a balanced offensive effort to give themselves a chance to grab a home win against a strong visiting team.
However, the Raptors figured it out and blew the Cats out in the fourth quarter. Chris Bosh and Andrea Bargnani combined for 24 of Toronto’s 26 points in the quarter, while the punchless Bobcats had 5 shots blocked and could only manage 12 points.
4. After a slow start, Bosh was fantastic. He ended the game with 30 points (on 12-19 FGs and 6-7 FTs), 15 rebounds and 2 blocks. He punished the Cats with his ability to hit the 15-20 foot jumper, but also looked great going to the basket. He had the dunk of the game at the end of the first quarter on a drive past Okafor from the left wing – fortunately for the Bobcats it didn’t count, as Bosh caught Okafor with an elbow while blowing by and got whistled for an offensive foul.
5. Sam Mitchell got a tech protesting the aforementioned call. Carroll hit the free throw; then Felton got fouled taking a desperation three at the buzzer and hit all three free throws for a nice swing to end the quarter.
6. Bargnani deserves mention; he proved to be a difficult cover for the Bobcats and ended with 18 points on 6-10 FGs / 3-5 3PT. Though he has clearly beefed up since coming into the league and looks better able to handle the paint, he still prefers to play on the perimeter. Adam Morrison and Gerald Wallace drew the task of guarding him much of the game, and neither were very effective.
7. Mixed bag for the Bobcats. Okafor clearly had an off game – not surprising since he was under the weather and faced with a bad matchup (Bosh/O’Neal/Bargnani). Both Felton and Augustin played OK at the point, neither distinguished himself. It’s nice to have Andre Brown out there for a few minutes per game to play tough defense and grab some boards; but when he gets his hands on the ball on the offensive end he’s an unmitigated disaster – he hurried and missed two putbacks today.
8. Jason Richardson continues to struggle, with only 12 points on 1-5 3PT. On the year, he’s shooting 40% from the field and 37.5% from three. This is well off last year’s numbers: 44% and 40%, respectively. However, last year’s numbers were significantly better than his career numbers, so maybe this is the dreaded “regression to the mean.”
9. Carroll played 12 minutes, Morrison 18; again they played together for a bit. It still seems to me that one of these guys is getting “showcased” to facilitate a trade. Morrison, having proven that he’s healthy and a viable NBA rotation player so far this season, seems the more likely trade candidate, given that he’s still on his rookie deal. Carroll’s deal practically makes him a Bobcat-for-life.
10. Sad, but true: two things that drove Bobcats fans/observers crazy last year (Felton playing at the 2 and Wallace playing at the 4) are happening regularly again this year. I’m not as up in arms about Wallace playing the 4 as others are. The argument that being forced to match up against power forwards was causing the concussions never made sense to me; the fact that he’s a skinny forward who is at his best when he’s flying (rather recklessly) to the rim or trying to get in the way of other dudes who are flying to the rim seems more likely the culprit. In other words, his innate attributes and predelictions as a player put him in harm’s way; not the coach who decides whether he starts at the 3 or the 4.
But Felton playing the 2 bothers me – mostly because we have two other shooting guards (Richardson and Carroll) who are taller and better shooters. But also because any failure by Felton to self-actualize as an NBA point guard is at least partially the result of a self-fulfilling prophecy. He’s on his third NBA coach so far, and has been jerked around between the point and the off-guard all along.
11. Next game: Tuesday night, 11/11 we play host to the new-look Nuggets. 7:00 start, as usual. Go Cats.