Charlotte Bobcats @ Pistons 4/5/09

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1.  Aaannd CUT!  That’s a wrap on the Bobcats’ playoff chances.  The Cats can’t execute down the stretch again and drop a must-have game against the Pistons Sunday night, 104-97.  AP story here, box score here.  The Cats drop to 34-43 and are now a full three games behind Detroit and Chicago, who are tied for 7th place.

2.  Without Raja Bell, Larry Brown went with Cartier Martin as the starting 2.  Tough matchup against Rip Hamilton for the rookie, and Brown must not have liked what he saw, as Cartier never saw the floor again after his initial 9 minute stint.  Dontell Jefferson made his Bobcats/NBA debut with 9 minutes in Raja’s spot in the second quarter.  Radmanovic started the second half in the spot; then in the fourth quarter, the extra minutes went to DJ.

Sensing a theme here?  No one could quite fill Raja’s shoes.  On a crucial night, we needed one of the guards to step up and no one did.

3.  The Bobcats came out of the gates hot, hitting their first four shots for a 10-2 lead.  However, things would quickly cool off and the Bobcats eventually found themselves down by 17 midway through the second quarter.  They clawed their way back and went into halftime down 51-44, then overtook the Pistons in the third, taking a one point lead into the final period, 69-68.

4.  Then the fourth quarter happened.  Thus far, I’ve buried the lead, which is that Will Bynum singlehandedly finished off the Bobcats tonight.  It would be one thing if Chauncey Billups, Rip Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince and Rasheed Walllace came together to shut down the plucky Bobcats, but it was nothing like that.

Chauncey’s been traded to Denver; Rip was ejected after picking up his second technical at the end of the third period; Prince had a quiet 14 points and a -4 +/- for the game, and Rasheed was rusty and pretty quiet himself (12 points, 6 rebounds).

Will Bynum, formerly of the Roanoke Dazzle and Maccabi Tel Aviv, obliterated the Bobcats by scoring 26 points in the fourth quarter.  The Bobcats as a team had only 28.  Only a few of Bynum’s points were on jumpers; most of them came after Bynum blew by DJ Augustin and either got a layup, got fouled, or both.  I suppose this performance may answer the question: Why isn’t DJ playing more in the fourth quarter?

Bynum set two records in the process.  He set a new career high with 32 points (25 was his previous best).  And his 26 in the fourth represents a Pistons record for points in a quarter.

5.  Meanwhile, the Cats couldn’t get anything sustainable going.  DJ and Boris both missed a couple of threes apiece, any one of which would’ve been huge.  Again, no one seemed to be able to figure out how to get Gerald Wallace involved; he eventually fouled out.

The closest the Cats got was within 3 a couple of times with under a minute left; but each time, the Pistons were able to get the ball in Bynum’s hands.  By this point, he was locked in and hitting his free throws like they were afterthoughts.

6.  Okafor had a decent game: 14 points (6-10 FG) and 16 rebounds.  DJ led the Cats with 22 points, but as previously mentioned, was scorched by Bynum.  And Raymond Felton again led the Bobcats with 17 FGAs, only hitting 7.

7.  Well, this dalliance with the playoffs was very fun while it lasted.  Next game is the last home game of the season — Tuesday night against the Sixers.

-E

5 thoughts on “Charlotte Bobcats @ Pistons 4/5/09

  1. crushed..

    Ouch, well that was fun while it lasted. Trying to find a silver lining in this, we generated some buzz about the team and still get to keep our first rounder. I'd give that up in a second though for the playoffs.

    I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on who the Bobcats will draft. Gerald Henderson? Tyreke Evans? Willie Warren?

  2. Still a VERY successful season by the Bobcats considering where they started. They are one or two pieces away from being very dangerous. To reiterate: Let Felton + May walk, draft someone like Gerald Henderson and then sign Allen Iverson. 50+ wins and possible home court advantage.

  3. E

    Oh, don't worry about draft coverage. Even though we're probably just talking about the 13th pick here, we'll still cover the hell out of it.

    You're on the right track with Henderson, Evans and Warren. Replacing Raja Bell with a dynamic young 2 has to be the top priority for us. I'd also add DeRozan and Terrance Williams to that list. Maybe even Harden or Steph Curry if their stock slips.

    But right now it's too early to even say who's going to be in the draft. And besides, we can still dream for a little lottery magic, right?

  4. BTW- I finally read this blurb from Chad Ford about Stephen Curry

    "Summary: Jan 15 Update: Curry might be the most controversial player on this list…There's been talk that the Bobcats could be the club that covets him (and the seats he'd fill) the most ? but it's way too early for that speculation. Besides, you'd think MJ & Co. would have learned by now that drafting players with local or marketing appeal (e.g., Raymond Felton, Sean May and Adam Morrison) doesn't help much if they're not going to be stars."

    Ok… Well, maybe Steph is a younger version of AI (doubt it) and yeah, he did grow up in Charlotte and his dad is well liked in the area (I'm sure my mom will go to at least 10 games a season if Steph is the pick). Sounds strange to me though. Don't think Steph works here and there's a good chance that the Knicks will pluck him up before Charlotte drafts anyway.

  5. I agree – the Bobcats have done much better than I expected after the first few weeks of the season. Nearly every off-season, I'm so excited to predict a #7 spot in the Playoffs. Now, looking toward next year, it's finally a strong probability.

    The only way that the Cats could keep Raymond is if they pick up a "go-to" guy via free agency or trade and Felton returns for a fair price. Raymond would do far less damage to the club if he wasn't in the situation to shoot them out of the fourth quarter. He's hit some big shots throughout the season, but he's used that success to risk far too many poor shots in the clutch. If he knew that in those tight situations he can only shoot after a better scorer has touched the ball, he would fine.

    It's too early for the draft speculation. Talking about Stephen Curry to the Cats is just too obvious. I'm sure that tons of casual sports fans would like to read that headline and then never step into the arena afterward. A proven draw (like Allen Iverson / Steve Nash) and a winning club is the best way to build a steady fan base back for the Cats.

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