Charlotte Bobcats @ Pistons 1/13/09

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1.  Wow — great win by the Bobcats tonight on the road against the Pistons, 80-78.  AP story here, box score here.  Bobcats go 2-2 on the road trip and improve to 15-24 overall; Pistons fall to 22-14.

2. With nine minutes left in the fourth quarter, Rasheed Wallace hit a three pointer to put the Pistons up 74-67.  At that point, I began to mentally prepare myself to write my standard “Bobcats hang tough, but blow it down the stretch” postgame missive.  But alas, the Pistons would not hit another field goal for the rest of the game and the Bobcats do just enough on offense to pull out a win.

3.  Gimpy ankle, trade rumors and all, Raymond Felton came up huge and easily gets player-of-the-night honors tonight.  While the Pistons were ice cold and self-destructing down those crucial last 9 minutes, Raymond hit 4-4 FG (one of them a three) for 9 points, grabbed 2 big defensive rebounds, and had an assist to Raja Bell for another big bucket.

Raymond ended the game with 23 points (9-15 FG, 2-3 3PT, 3-3 FT), 6 rebounds and 9 assists vs. 1 turnover.   Watching Raymond play like this, and being reminded of what a good teammate he is (playing on the bad ankle, answering questions about DJ and the trade talk with total class) makes it harder and harder to accept that he’s going to be traded any day now.

We clearly aren’t going to re-sign him in the offseason, and thus have to get something for him now, so maybe his especially strong recent play will drive up the price we can charge.

4.  While Raymond single-handedly took care of things on the offensive end during the crucial finishing stretch, the Bobcats played great defense as a team on the other end.  With the starting lineup of Felton, Bell, Wallace, Diaw and Okafor on the court, the Pistons looked way out of sync.  The Bobcats forced a shot-clock violation with 6:15 left to set the tone.  The jump shots that Rodney Stuckey, Tayshaun Prince and Allen Iverson had been hitting earlier in the game completely stopped falling.  And the clincher was Emeka’s strong defense against Rasheed, who was induced into his sixth foul with under a minute left while trying to get post position on a huge possession.

5.  Come to think of it, the Bobcats (with the Pistons’ old coach, Larry Brown) really out Piston-ed the Pistons tonight.  The Bobcats kept the tempo to their liking, played great defense, never let any of the opponent’s stars beat them, rebounded well, and played smart, mistake-free, precision offense.

6.  Nice comeback game for Gerald Wallace.  After not taking a shot and getting benched for the fourth quarter of the last game against Washington, Wallace was aggressive on the boards and on offense from the get-go tonight.  With the Pistons back at full strength and starting a three-guard lineup, Crash got to go one on one against Rip Hamilton quite a bit, and ate him up at every opportunity.  The Bobcats wisely found Crash posting Rip up several times for easy buckets; Wallace ended the game with 18 points (6-14 FG, 6-6 FT) and 10 rebounds.

7.  So this win makes the Cats 8-8 since the big J-Rich trade, with four of those wins coming on the road.  Yes, two of the wins are against the Wizards and one is against the Grizzlies, but it’s still an encouraging stretch that shows what Larry Brown can do with some time and a few high-basketball-IQ guys.

Unfortunately, I’m not that encouraged.  Why?  Because the guy who has been leading the way during this 8-8 stretch (apologies to Boris Diaw) has really been Raymond Felton.  The same guy who might as well keep his bags packed because he’s going to get traded any day now.

8.  So the Pistons are kind of a mess right now, huh?  With Rip Hamilton, Allen Iverson and Rodney Stuckey, they have three 2 guards — none of whom are big/strong enough to slide up to the 3 and none of whom are particularly adept at running the point.  Stuckey is ostensibly the point guard, but let’s just say that he’s not making anybody in Detroit forget Chauncey Billups.  I mean, he’s a great combo guard already, but he’s got a ways to go when it comes to running a team at the point.

Obviously, they have plenty of veteran talent to make it to the playoffs this year, but I can’t imagine them making any noise once they get there.  In the big picture, they need to rebuild around Stuckey (as a 2 guard) and Tayshaun, right?  Amare Stoudemire might be a nice fit with those two…

9.  Next game should be a fun one.  The Portland Trailblazers come to town Saturday night, 7:00 start.  I like how the Blazers have gone from internet darlings to challenging the Celtics for the “most hated team in the league” in just a half season.  Trying to force a player to retire so you can get some cap space, then threatening all the other teams in the league via email who might want to sign him will do that…

-E

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9 Responses to “Charlotte Bobcats @ Pistons 1/13/09”

  1. Adam
    January 13, 2009 at 9:26 pm #

    The 4th quarter was pretty ugly for both teams but something in the three that proceeded it had me believing that this wasn't going to be another one of the those games. 'Cats hung tight with them and then finished when it mattered.

    Yeah, it does suck that Felton just so happens to be the guy currently hot and will probably be gone in a few weeks (if not days) but give LB some credit. Look how well they've done since the JRICH trade.

    Anybody else as surprised about Juwan Howard as I am? No idea that guy had anything left in the tank and here he is running the floor and playing D. Nice pickup.

    I like how LB used Boris later in the 4th as the PG and had Raymond run off screens as the scorer. Though I'm not so sure who'll take on that role (late game jump shooter) once Felton is gone.

  2. Reggie
    January 14, 2009 at 2:28 am #

    just saw at charlotte.com that even the reporters dont want the trade to go down. check this out:
    http://www.charlotteobserver.com/bobcats/story/47

    anyway, real nice road win for the cats. even though it came in the final seconds, but im not complaining.

    this game really showed how much of an asset raymond is to the team, and for us to virturaly give him away is plain stupid. im pretty sure we could get a decent starter for him, or we could look for a better backup SF than morrison.

    im sure raymond will be delt before the deadline, but i want him to go somewhere where he can win. a lot.

  3. mike15
    January 14, 2009 at 6:10 am #

    Reggie – I agree entirely.

    Felton is certainly not Chris Paul or Deron Williams. He is a solid NBA guard, though. His "intangible" skills and talents are big for the Cats and would be an asset for any team. If he's traded or not, he's going to be right behind Ben Gordon for big money this off-season. We really need to get something of value in exchange.

  4. Reggie
    January 14, 2009 at 6:48 am #

    hey, what if we did this trade:
    http://games.espn.go.com/nba/features/traderesult

    that way, the clips get a good backup for baron, we dump may, and morrison is out of the "shouldda couldda wouldda" talk

    but im sure the clips wouldnt want raymond cus they already got eric gordon.

  5. Adam
    January 14, 2009 at 5:23 pm #

    Reggie-

    I like the trade more than the Diop deal except for the fact that Camby is getting a bit up there in age. His deal is attractive though because it expires sooner than Diop's and is reasonable for player of his caliber. A Camby/Okafor/Diaw frontline also makes moving GForce for quality SG more of an option as well. Ricky Davis? Homecoming to the city that drafted him?

  6. Papa Irish
    January 15, 2009 at 12:02 pm #

    could you see the bobcats unloading raja or adam for mainly cap space?

  7. Papa Irish
    January 15, 2009 at 12:14 pm #

    Adam Morrison or Raja Bell to the C's for Brian Scalabrine, your pick of Jr Giddens, Bill Walker, Patrick O'Bryant, Big Baby, and 1 maybe 2 2cd round picks

    yes? no?

    haha I no its not exciting but thats all we have to offer

  8. Reggie
    January 16, 2009 at 6:34 am #

    papa irish-

    the C's are a team of excellence. theres no way that they would even consider looking at morrison. period.

    maybe we can give him and sean may to the C's for two extra bench seats or maybe some tickets to a celtics game. just sayin.

  9. Reggie
    January 16, 2009 at 9:25 am #

    hey all, the cats just sent ryan hollins (who i think will be good) and matt carrol (who hasnt been so productive under Brown) for Diop.

    this is great because they got exactly who they wanted without giving up too much or felton for that matter. heres the story:

    http://www.nba.com/bobcats/release_diop_090116.ht

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