The Charlotte Bobcats cooled off the streaking Denver Nuggets 100-98 on Tuesday night at the Cable Box. The Nuggets came in winners of seven in a row and trying to get head coach George Carl his 1000th NBA win, but ran into a Bobcats team desperate to right the ship after suffering an ugly loss over the weekend.
And so the desperate home team did just enough to win. There were some nice signs, which I’ll note below. But as nice as it is to notch a victory over a good opponent and temporarily quiet the negative buzz that had been growing around the team, there are still glaring problems.
The Bobcats have been very shaky late in games this year. Tonight they led by 8 with 90 seconds left, but let the Nuggets right back in it with sloppy play that continued right down to the buzzer, allowing Chauncey Billups a chance at a tying jumper at the buzzer. The way it was going, I half-expected Chauncey to stop at the three-point line and drain a game-winner.
Additionally, turnovers continue to haunt the Bobcats — they had 18 of them, leading to 28 Denver points. The defense, while adequate tonight, is still several notches below the level it was at last year. Nazr Mohammed is bringing very little to the table. Tyrus Thomas still hasn’t quite taken that step that we were all hoping he would this year.
- For one half, it was like we had the old Gerald Wallace back. Crash had 17 at halftime, including two alley-opp jams. But in the second half Gerald was conspicuously quiet, adding only another three points. He also missed six free throws.
- Despite a sore calf, Stephen Jackson led the way with a very solid 23 points, 9 rebounds and 7 assists. Jack was making love to his jumper tonight with 11 3-point attempts — and only tw0 free throw attempts — but he hit five of those 3-pointers, so we’ll let it slide.
- Wallace, Jackson, and Boris Diaw shared the task of defending Melo tonight and acquitted themselves pretty well. Melo was held to 22 points on 21 shots and had 4 turnovers — a pretty pedestrian line for him. Then again you have to wonder if that kind of line will become more typical for Melo as he plays out the string this year with a team he has no intention of being with next year.
- Tyrus Thomas was very effective in limited minutes tonight: 16 points (6-8 FG, 4-4 FT) with 4 rebounds in just 15 minutes. Ty would have almost certainly been out there for several more minutes to close out the game, but left with “left quad tightness” and didn’t return.
- I understand that Larry Brown is always searching for the next George Lynch, but I’ll be glad when the Dom McGuire Project is over. Since McGuire has been available over the past few weeks, he’s been averaging about 15 minutes a game. Problem is, he hasn’t produced much. Bigger problem is, those 15 minutes are Derrick Brown’s minutes. I have no problem with McGuire getting some burn now — LB needs to get comfortable with what he can and can’t do out there — but Derrick Brown is younger and has a higher ceiling. He’s the one that needs the burn.
- Had to chuckle when I saw this blog post from Bonnell about Larry Brown gushing that Monday’s practice was the best in months. The first commenter did the honors: “Practice? We talkin bout practice!?” Never gets old.