Breaking News: Larry Brown Steps Down

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AP/Bob Leverone

Just prior to 4:00 PM ET, the Charlotte Bobcats announced that Larry Brown has stepped down as head coach of the Charlotte Bobcats.  Here are some initial links:

Official Press Release |  Letter to the fans

Sam Amick of AOL is reporting that the entire coaching staff has been let go.  Amick goes on to report that the new coach will be in place tomorrow.

This is a bit of a surprise.  I honestly thought that if Brown left, assistant coach Dave Hanners would get a chance as an interim coach.  I have no idea who will be stepping in.  Keep an eye out on this post and our Twitter feeds (Dr. E, ASChin, Cardboard Gerald) for updates and further discussion.

-Dr. E

UPDATE 5:00 PM: Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! and Ken Berger of CBSSports.com are reporting that former Hornets and Cavs coach (and current Charlotte resident) Paul Silas is the leading candidate to take over as coach of the Bobcats.  Former Hawks coach Mike Woodson, current Magic assistant/former Jordan rival Patrick Ewing, and current Pistons assistant Darrell Walker are also under consideration.

-Dr. E

Update 7:00 PM: And it’s official.  The Bobcats have named Paul Silas interim head coach.  Yahoo!’s Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting that Charles Oakley is likely to be added as an assistant coach.  Silas will be meeting with the media tomorrow at 1:00 PM ET and will have more details about the rest of his staff at that time.

Official Press Release re: Silas

-Dr. E

Bobcats Fall to Hawks as Losses Pile Up

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AP Photo/John Bazemore

Without an injured Gerald Wallace, the Bobcats fell to the Atlanta Hawks 90-85 on Friday night at Phillips Arena.  Joe Johnson, Al Horford and Marvin Williams led a balanced Hawks attack with 16 points each.

AP Recap |  Box Score |  GameFlow |  Highlights

The Bobcats never led, but were able to stay within spitting distance.  They closed to within 3 points with under two minutes left on two Stephen Jackson free throws.  But a Hawks 20 second timeout, followed by a Williams layup off a Horford assist, then a Stephen Jackson missed three-point attempt would effectively end the game as the Cats fell to 3-11 on the road and 9-17 overall.

Observations

  • Stephen Jackson suffered an right elbow injury in the first half.  It’s unclear exactly how/when it happened, but he was in enough pain to get x-rays at the half, then suggest after the game that he shouldn’t have played in the second half after the x-rays proved negative. Obviously, the injury will be re-evaluated over the weekend.
  • Boris Diaw led the Cats with 22 points (10-15 FG), 7 rebounds and 3 steals.  DJ Augustin also had 22, but it was off of 9-19 FG, which includes 1-7 3PT.  Ouch.  Dominic McGuire played 40 minutes, grabbing 17 rebounds but shooting 3-12 from the floor.
  • The Bobcats have now lost seven in a row to the Hawks at Phillips arena.
  • In just the latest red flag about this team, several of their postgame comments were positively rosy after shooting 38% and never leading. Coach Larry Brown and Stephen Jackson were encouraged by/satisfied with the effort, particularly on the defensive end, while Nazr Mohammed felt like the Cats were starting to develop an identity, and that he could at least sleep after this game (relative to the recent blowout in Memphis).
  • Next game is Tuesday night in Charlotte versus the Oklahoma City Thunder.  Tipoff is 7 PM ET.  It’s unclear as to whether Gerald Wallace or Stephen Jackson will be available.

-Dr. E

Bobcats Defeat Raptors On Jordan’s Night

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Nazr Mohammed via Kent Smith/NBAE/Getty Images

The Bobcats keep hope alive with a 97-91 win over the visiting Toronto Raptors on Tuesday night at the Cable Box.  Nazr Mohammed led the way with 18 points and 8 boards, while Tyrus Thomas returned to the lineup with 14 and 7 off the bench.

AP Recap |  Box Score

The first half was ugly.  In front of tons of empty seats, the Raptors went on a 20-2 run to take a 12 point lead in the first quarter.  Stephen Jackson was in foul trouble early and couldn’t get anything going as the Raptors took a 6 point lead into halftime.  The vibe in the arena was very negative; there was even some faint booing directed at the home team at a couple of points.

Halftime brought a ceremony inducting Michael Jordan into the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame.  It began with a quick and dirty, but nicely done Jordan highlight video (NCAA championship game winner, “look at that!” dunk, free-throw dunk from NBA dunk contest, game winner on Ehlo, switch-hands layup against Lakers, game winner against Jazz, etc. — the big stuff) that ended with Jordan taking ownership of the Bobcats.  Jordan came out to mid-court accompanied by Dean Smith, accepted his ring and plaque, and gave brief, gracious speech — no piss and vinegar like from the Basketball Hall of Fame induction speech.

At that point, most of the Bobcats had made their way back onto the corner of the court to watch.  Jordan shook hands with some of the other members of the Hall and spent another few moments with Dean Smith.

Jordan and Dean Smith via Kent Smith/NBAE/Getty Images

The crowd lapped it up and rightfully so.  It was a good ceremony.  More importantly, and maybe I’m naive for thinking this, but the Bobcats lapped it up, too.  OK, maybe “lapped it up” is too strong; they came out in the second half with a better effort, and I can’t help but think the positive atmosphere created by Jordan’s ceremony helped with that.

The Bobcats quickly evened things up in the third quarter, traded leads early in the fourth, and pulled away late as the Raptors self-destructed with backup guard Jerryd Bayless trying to run the show.

Jackson never did get it going (7 points, 3-8 FG), garnering a tech and eventually fouling out in the fourth. Gerald Wallace tallied 16 points, 4 rebounds, 4 blocks, 3 assists, 2 steals and 1 mildly tweaked ankle (left).  Matt Carroll played crunchtime and had a really nice assist to Boris with under a minute left to help the Cats pull away.

Observations

  • So I missed the DeRozan dunk live.  I was looking down at my phone — damn Twitter.  I looked up in time to see the backboard shaking and the Raptors bench freaking the hell out.  Rightfully so, now that I’ve seen the highlight.
  • There should be a name for the phenomenon where a traditional center starts, plays significant portions of the first and third quarters, is quietly effective, but then sits the fourth quarter as both teams go small and athletic.  Can we name it the Nazr Paradox?
  • So the Bobcats are at 9-15, a game-and-a-half out of the 8th playoff spot.  Barring a shakeup or a miracle, it’s pretty clear that this is where this team will hang out most of the season.  Every marginal victory like tonight strings us along, hoping for a spark, a 4 game win streak to get back in the thick of things.
  • The Bobcats will be on the road in Memphis for a back-to-back tomorrow night, 8 PM ET start.

-Dr. E

be sure to follow Dr. E, ASChin and Cardbard Gerald on Twitter

Bobcats Routed By Celtics

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"Microcosm" by Bob Leverone/AP

The Bobcats reached a new low in their 93-62 blowout loss to the Boston Celtics Saturday night at the Cable Box.  Quite literally the 63 points represents the Cats lowest output this season, and overall it’s hard to imagine things getting much worse than this.

AP Recap |  Box Score

You knew it was going to be a rough night offensively for the Cats, going up against Boston’s D.  Early on, though, it appeared as if the Celtics might have an equally rough night.  Both teams struggled to get and make shots as the Celtics limped to a 20-16 lead after the first quarter.

However, the Celtics were eventually able to cobble together some buckets from Kevin Garnett and their bench into a respectable evening.  But the Bobcats regressed further and further; inasmuch as its possible to regress from a 16 point opening quarter.  Thus, the Celtics ‘respectable evening’ turned into a complete demolition of the Bobcats.

For the game, the Cats shot 33.8% (including 1-11 3PT), were outrebounded 48-38, gave up 21 turnovers, and had 10 of their shots blocked.  They continued to struggle from the free throw line to boot, hitting only 13-23.

It’s one thing to shoot poorly and commit more turnovers than usual against one of the best defenses in the league; but the other stuff (being badly outrebounded, having shots blocked and missing free throws) is indicative of the deeper issues that are engulfing this team.

Rick Bonnell wondered if the Friday night loss to the Pacers was the “beginning of the end” for Larry Brown in Charlotte.  After tonight, you have to wonder if we’re closer to the end, period.

The body language is bad team-wide.  No one has any confidence in their offensive game.  The effort on the defensive end is not there.  The two leaders, Gerald Wallace and Stephen Jackson, are not leading.  Essentially, the Bobcats appear to have checked out on Larry Brown and each other.

Meanwhile, the Carmelo Anthony trade rumors have picked up again, and again the Bobcats are rumored to be on the periphery of the discussions.  ESPN’s Chris Broussard’s source describes Michael Jordan’s attempt to get Carmelo as an effort “to save the Bobcats’ season.”

In a similar vein, it’s been reported that in the wake of this blowout, Michael Jordan addressed the team in the locker room after the game.

The shakeup is coming soon, folks.

Observations

  • The Bobcats MVP for the night has to be Tyrus Thomas, who sat out the game with a pulled quad muscle, but looked surprisingly dapper in a two-tone grey suit with tie.  I say surprisingly because I would have guessed that Tyrus would be more inclined to go with the Sean May benchwear look (baggy jeans, baggy untucked shirt, oversized jacket).  But no, Tyrus went all GQ.
  • On a serious note, Nazr Mohammed probably had the best game of any Bobcat (14 points on 7-11 shooting, 5 rebounds).  The Celtics were down to their fourth string center, rookie Semih Erden, and Nazr took him to school a bit in the first half.  However, in a curious move, Larry Brown sat Nazr in favor of Kwame Brown for much the second half because of Nazr’s three fouls.  So Nazr, the most effective Bobcat tonight, ended the game with only 17 minutes.  What are you saving him for?
  • It pains me to have to write this, but Gerald Wallace looks awful.  2-15 FG tonight — all bricks, charges and getting his shots blocked.  If Gerald was more diabolical, I’d wonder if he was trying to force a trade or get his coach fired.  He’s not that way (at least I don’t think so) so I have to think simply that he’s particularly affected by the funk that the whole team is in.
  • DJ was brutal tonight: 0-8 FG with 4 turnovers.
  • Next game is Tuesday; the Raptors will be in town for a 7PM start.

-Dr. E

be sure to follow Dr. E, ASChin, and Cardboard Gerald on Twitter


Bobcats Squeak By Formerly Streaking Nuggets

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Gerald Wallace's textbook jumper (via Kent Smith/NBAE/Getty Images)

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.

AP Recap |  Box Score

Observations

  • 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.

-Dr. E

Bobcats Escape With Overtime Victory Over Nets

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Larry Brown via Kent Smith/NBAE/Getty Images

After blowing a 5 point lead with 23 seconds left in regulation, the Bobcats control overtime for an ugly 91-84 win over the Nets on Friday night at the Cable Box.

AP Recap |  Box Score

This one was excruciating to watch.  The score at the half was 33-32 and had me googling for the lowest combined point total for half of an NBA game (don’t worry, 51 points has been done a couple times in the second half; 55 is the lowest for a first half).  The rest of the game saw an uptick in scoring, but it was still ugly and boring.  And the last couple minutes of regulation that saw the Cats nearly give the game away were nauseating.

Overall, the Nets shot 31.9% for the game, allowing three Bobcats to hit double digits in rebounds.  The Bobcats shot a little better at 36%, but kept the Nets in it with 22 turnovers.

I wish I could laugh this one off with the old “a win is a win” adage, but the truth is that this was another disappointing performance in a season full of them so far.  And with the season approaching the quarter mark, the Cats are in danger of settling into being a disappointing team.

Observations

  • The Bobcats emailed out a well-publicized message on behalf of Stephen Jackson on Friday afternoon.  Some communications major/PR person wrote a bit for Jack that contained an apology for his suspension and a promise to behave better.  In a nice turn of events, Jack seemed to take the whole issue to heart, was very much in control, and had a good game.  25 points, 6 assists and 5 rebounds.  And maybe it was just a coincidence, a freak one night thing, but in this first game back from his suspension/wake-up call, Jack seemed rededicated to driving the ball to the hoop — and was rewarded for it with 13 foul shots, of which he hit 12.
  • Gerald Wallace finished with 12 points, 13 rebounds and 5 blocks, but still just looks off.  His stats are off from last years, but actually not as much as I expected them to be.  I keep waiting for him to break out of his funk, but it hasn’t happened yet.
  • Boris had a nice line with 11 points, 16 rebounds and 8 assists and really shut down Brook Lopez.
  • Dominic McGuire got the nod off the bench instead of Derrick Brown, but I can’t imagine that will happen much longer if Dom keeps shooting 1-7 FG and posting the worst +/- numbers on the team.
  • The Nets were playing without Devin Harris (injury) and Terrence Williams (sent to D-League), so I guess that matters.  But man are they awful.  I can’t imagine any other teams the Bobcats could have defeated with this effort tonight.
  • I think @CardboardGerald summed it up best with this tweet: “Bobcats win, thousands die of boredom in tragic “game.” Never forget @BaselineDrE. He was brave.”  Indeed.  12/3 Never Forget.
  • Bobcats are in Philadelphia to take on the 5-14 76ers Saturday night — 7:30 PM ET start.  Needless to say, if the Cats want to hang around in the playoff conversation in the East, this is the kind of game they need to put in the win column.

-Dr. E

be sure to follow Dr. E, ASChin, and Cardboard Gerald on Twitter

Bobcats Show Signs Of Life, Defeat Rockets

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The Charlotte Bobcats defeated the Houston Rockets 99-89 on Friday night at the Cable Box behind a strong second half and double-doubles from Boris Diaw and Gerald Wallace.  The Cats started out sluggish (again) and were down by as much as 11 in the second quarter.

But the Bobcats starting five (Nazr Mohammed edition) took control in the third quarter and never looked back; they outscored the Rockets 54-37 in the second half.  Now I’ll have to qualify this by noting that the Rockets were without Aaron Brooks and Yao Ming (and weren’t very good with them, anyways), but the way the Bobcats played in the second half was the closest to how they played last year during their playoff push that I’ve seen yet this year.

AP Recap |  Box Score

Observations

  • The Rockets were seriously underpowered.  What happened to Kevin Martin?  16 quiet points; though apparently he is averaging 23 ppg this year.  Just didn’t see it tonight.
  • Gerald had another tough shooting night (6-21 FG) but kept at it and ended up leading the Cats with 21 points, 14 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals and 2 blocks.  He had another spectacular block of a Chase Budinger breakaway jam that was wrongly called a foul.
  • Boris Diaw stole the show offensively in the second half, ending with 20 points (9-14 FG) on a mix of long and mid-range jumpers, hooks and scoops.  He even had a strong drive to the bucket that ended in a near-dunk.  I see in the play-by-play that it’s being credited as a dunk, and that’s very kind of the home scorekeeper.  Boris also added 10 rebounds.
  • Stephen Jackson (16 points), Nazr Mohammed (15 points on 6-9 FG, 7 rebounds), and DJ Augustin (11 assists/1 turnover) all had nice games.
  • Off the bench, Ty Thomas was quiet, but Shaun Livingston had one of his better games as a Bobcat, with 10 points on 4-7 FG.
  • So this is my third year being a season-ticket-holder, and I’ve successfully avoided being shown on the scoreboard bigscreen.  But tonight, I attended the game with Cardboard Gerald, and my streak was ended during the first possible break in the first quarter.  Such is the power of Cardboard Gerald.
  • One of the LadyCats’ hair extensions fell out while she was dancing.  I can cross that one off my Bucket List now.
  • The Bobcats are headed to Milwaukee for the second night of another back-to-back — 9PM ET start Saturday night.

-Dr. E