Bobcats, Brown Snag One From Sac-Town

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Jordan Watches Kwame Brown Beat The Kings

The Charlotte Bobcats pulled out a win in Sacramento to start their longest road trip thus far this season. Despite several bumbling moments late in the game, the Cats kept the Kings at arms-length throughout to notch a 94-89 win over their host in Sacramento.

AP Recap | Box Score

1st Half Notes

The game started ugly, with a lot of stoppages due to a hyped up referee crew. With so many whistles, neither team established a groove and both squads had to sit big men due to early foul trouble (Boris Diaw for Charlotte and DeMarcus Cousins for Sacramento). The first quarter was an exhibition in bad shooting.  The Bobcats could maybe blame this on time-zone difference, and the Kings could say that they suffered coming off of a back-to-back in Portland.  So, the poor shooting allowed for a load of rebounds and most of those came in the form of offensive boards for the home team.

Sacramento has a good reputation for their rebounding, and it appeared that Charlotte’s crew intentionally tried to avoid focusing on just battling them on the boards. The Bobcats were working to move the ball in transition and score quick, easy points. Had they stood around to the paint after shots, the game would have moved much slower and given the advantage to the Kings. This “strategy” led to a double-digit lead in the second quarter, where Gerald Wallace started to take over. Crash has been a bit “ho-hum” lately, and it was nice to see him drive to the hoop and finish strong. He’s capable of a lot more than he’s shown over the last month, and the team will need more of his presence on this road trip.

The Kings have some decent, young talent and guard Beno Udrih put a lot of work in to use his size against DJ Augustin early in the game. Tyreke Evans was covered by the taller Stephen Jackson, but scored easily to start. Surprisingly, Kings forward Jason Thompson showed a load of offensive ability and hustle during his first half minutes. Despite the bright spots for the Sacramento’s team, the Bobcats began to establish a flow on offense in the second quarter and Kwame Brown’s presence grew larger and larger on the defensive side of the floor. Things were rolling for the Cats to close the period, and it was great to see the guys building chemistry on the road trip as they talked and joked in the time-out huddles.

2nd Half Notes

Foul trouble was the theme for the start of the second-half of this game. Boris Diaw and Eduardo Najera both entered the 3rd Quarter with 3 fouls apiece. Diaw quickly snagged his fourth and it seemed as thought the Frenchman had barely seen the floor during the match. Najera was plugged in at the Power Forward spot, and handled his promotion excellently by nailing an open 3-pointer and getting to line on quick cuts. Stephen Jackson was fairly quiet throughout the first 2 quarters and somehow picked up 3 fouls in less than 2 minutes of the 3rd period, leading the Bobcats into the penalty very quickly. Interestingly, Kwame Brown kept taking the ball up strong and could not get the refs to call foul on the Kings defenders. Finally, after several bumps and slaps, DeMarcus Cousins was called for his 4th foul mid-way through the 3rd. Despite the lop-sided calls, Brown never lost his cool and kept working hard on both ends of the floor to snag 11 rebounds in the period.

After a streak-for-streak match by the teams to open the final quarter, the Bobcats found themselves struggling to establish offensive consistency. Shaun Livingston showed a few nice driving, pull-up shots, but that wasn’t nearly enough to settle the Kings momentum. Carl Landry threw down a strong dunk (with the beat of Snoop’s classic “What’s My Name?” playing over the arena soundsystem) to spark a rally for Sacramento. During their push, the Kings enjoyed Nazr Mohammed’s lack of presence on defense and made him look even more “ugh” on offense.

Coach Paul Silas must have seen enough, and unleashed Kwame Brown onto Sac-town about half-way through the 4th. Quickly, Brown forced Cousins into his 6th foul and eliminated the Kings’ best big man. While Stephen Jackson stepped up, Gerald Wallace went quiet for many of the final minutes. The most consistent force for the Cats was clearly Kwame Brown. Teammates worked to feed him and he defended the paint, allowing them to run out on the break. Boris Diaw re-entered the game late, and kept up a habit of making unnecessary passes until knocking down a 3-pointer that should have been the “nail in the coffin” shot with 1 minute left. Unfortunately, Charlotte finished ugly and left the door open for the Kings to cut it close. The Bobcats settled down when it counted and survived the scare to finish the game like professionals, winning 94-89.

Loose Notes:

Kwame Brown had a big double-double with 13 pts / 18 rebs! In a post-game interview, Kwame credited Asst. Coach Charles Oakley for pushing him during practice.

Boris Diaw made some bad fouls to keep him on the bench. While Najera filled in adequately, this could have been a big game for Boris to exploit the youth and inexperience of the opposing youngsters for the Kings.

Michael Jordan made the trip to see his club in Sacramento. It was also reported that he was at the Blazers-Kings game in Portland the night before. With Rod Higgins at his side, is he doing a little personnel scouting or just supporting his team on their big West Coast swing?

Gerald Henderson never found a rhythm in this game. He had a really sweet hang-in-the-air scoop lay-up early in the game, but showed nothing else. Dominic McGuire failed to impress, as well. D-Mac was forced to guard a lot bigger forwards, so he did well just to survive.

Lastly, I wanted to bring up a topic that’s been on the minds of a lot of Cats fans – rebuilding. It seems like the savvy thing to say is that a small-market team needs to follow the “build through the draft” model to succeed. If the San Antonio Spurs are the the prototype of this model, it should be noted that they are an anomaly. David Robinson and Tim Duncan don’t come around too often, and the Spurs struck gold twice. When folks (and fellow Baseliners) preach the “rebuild through the draft” method, we need to realize that a team like the Sacramento Kings are the most likely outcome of this plan. I hear that the Kings were really good about a decade a go. What’s been going on out there since?  Hmmm?

Bonus Link : Recap By Sactown Royalty

-Mike

Bobcats Find A Way To Lose To Philly

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Bobcats Lose A Close One In Philadelphia

The Charlotte Bobcats traveled to Philadelphia to take on the 76ers in a mid-day MLK Day game. The match paired two of the most unimpressive teams of the Eastern Conference, both putting  on out-of-rhythm performances for long stretches. Each team tried their hardest to lose this game, but the Bobcats were finally able to hand it over to the home team in overtime. The suspension of Tyrus Thomas for “throwing ‘bows” during Charlotte’s last game may have been one factor to aid Charlotte to this loss to Philly 96 – 92.

AP Recap | Box Score

The Start

The Bobcats had a bit of trouble getting things up and running early in the game. The 76ers worked to entertain their crowd with steady offense at the onset, making all of their shot attempts for the first 4 minutes. The Cats hung around, but were forced into taking a lot of outside shots that would not drop for any of the starters. Boris Diaw showed solid defense and pretty efficient shot selection during his early minutes. Interestingly, Kwame Brown was the best offensive option that Charlotte had in action. The team’s two captains, Gerald Wallace and Stephen Jackson just didn’t seem to work out against Philly’s defensive scheme. Wallace was nearly invisible until Jackson went to the bench at the end of the first quarter. At that point, Crash took it straight to the basket on consecutive drives for easy points.

Neither team could hit a shot in the second quarter. Stephen Jackson replaced Wallace and stunk it up for the rest of the half. Pennsylvania-native, Gerald Henderson showed little effectiveness and the rest of the Bobcats couldn’t find the hoop despite their efforts (Shaun Livingston did show some hustle, but without buckets). It seemed that the Bobcats were absolutely stymied on offense without Boris Diaw on the floor. We’ll need a real “X’s and O’s” type to ascertain what the 76ers were doing against the Cats. My guess is that the team relies on Jack to bail them out of such ruts, and he just didn’t have anything going for him during most of the game. Still, the teams went back-and-forth and Philly held a 1pt lead going to end the half. It could have been much worse considering that the Bobcats had shot 0-10 from behind the arc.

The Second Half

The Bobcats came out on a tear to start the third (which is not quite how they usually roll). Boris Diaw stayed hot with two 3-pointers to spark Charlottes 13-2 run. Every Bobcat on the floor contributed during the run, except Stephen Jackson who went scoreless for the quarter. Of course, the Cats went back to playing their style of 3rd Quarter basketball and let the 76ers back into the game. This was possible due a streak of 10 straight misses and nearly 10 minutes without a field goal. It was if Larry Brown was haunting the team from his old office in Philadelphia. Again, the team struggled with Boris getting rest on the bench. While Charlotte needed someone to step up on offense, they only got Captain Jack to miss a load of shots and throwaway two turnovers to close the period.

The 76ers started the 4th Quarter by owning the paint on offense. The Bobcats had no ability to stop Louis Williams as he tore through their defense for 21 second half points. DJ Augustin just couldn’t handle the larger Williams, and couldn’t knock down shots to make up for it. Augustin and Jackson appeared just about useless for much of the 4th. The game was close to being out of reach with Philadelphia holding a 9 point edge with less than 5 minutes left. But suddenly, Kwame Brown came to the rescue. Well, it was actually Elton Brand’s arm to Kwame’s face on a close lay-up that did it. Brown hit the shot attempt and the free-throw. Brand was called for a flagrant and the Cats used the possession to set up Boris for a straight-ahead 3-pointer. The momentum swung and Charlotte held control of the game until the final seconds.  Matt Carroll (another Pennsylvania-native) knocked down 2 free-throws to give the Bobcats a 3 point lead with less than 10 seconds, and it seemed like the road win was sealed. Unfortunately, Louis Williams wasn’t done and hit a game-tying 3-pointer from the corner with 4.7 seconds left. Charlotte used their final timeout to setup the old pass-it-around-to-Stephen-Jackson-for-a-long-range-miss play and executed it with precision. So, the folks in the arena caught a little bonus basketball and had to put off dinner for another half-hour.

Overtime

Early in the extra period, the Bobcats worked on rookie Evan Turner with Boris Diaw and Stephen Jackson. Once that well was dry, the teams seemed to counter each other with blows until the final minute. In the meantime, Boris Diaw notched his first triple-double as a Bobcat and Kwame Brown pulled down his 16th rebound of the game. Still, the great stats just couldn’t add up to a win. With just under 40 seconds left, and the game tied, Andre Igoudala hit a pull up jumper over Kwame to give the Sixers a two point lead that wouldn’t fade as the home team finally got the win over the visiting Bobcats 96-92. In the case that these two teams are tied for the final Playoff slot, Philadelphia will hold the tie-breaker advantage with this win over the Bobcats. From what I recall, the Bobcats have also lost the tie-breaker to the Bucks.

Loose Notes

To start the televised game broadcast, Dell Curry let it slip that he had just downed a 5-Hour Energy and 2 cups of coffee. In no way did I ever think DC had such a need for uppers. Also, in no way did any of those chemicals speed up his Southern draw.

Thaddeus Young had a horrible game trying to finish around the rim. He missed two dunks, had one blocked, and missed two lay-ups. He was pretty bad at the free-throw line as well.

Kwame Brown had another really good game (15 pts, 16 reb, but a crucial turnover). It’s tough to get overly-excited when the team isn’t winning, but this guy might be a pretty good value. The television crew mentioned an instance during a recent practice when Asst. Coach Charles Oakley really got into Kwame’s face. It’s nice to see him react with a performance like this. At the end of the season, we’ll need to evaluate which player was a better addition between Brown or Livingston.

Nazr Mohammed seems to be back to form… and that form is of a backup Center for a mediocre NBA club.

During the broadcast, I spotted a Mini-Shelden Williams sitting on the front-row near the Bobcats bench. If you watched the game on Fox SportSouth, you know who I’m talkin’ about.

Boris Diaw’s triple-double (25 pts, 11 reb, 11 ast, 1 turnover, 2 blocks) would have been a lot more fun to jot down had the Cats pulled out the win. Still, it’s nice to see the Frenchman display his full range of skills on the court. That stat line is crazy!

The Bobcats have a rematch with the 76ers in Charlotte on Thursday. Let’s hope for revenge!

Bonus Link : Recap from a Sixers Fan Blog, Liberty Ballers

-Mike

Diop Done For The Season

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Desagana Diop Shelved By Achilles Injury

Just as ‘Gana Diop had started to show what he could do on the court, his season was put to an end. The injury that sent Diop to the floor during the Bobcats’ last game appears to be a torn achilles tendon. More information is available at ESPN.com. This is a pretty serious injury for anyone, especially a professional athlete. Let’s hope this is just the end of ‘Gana’s season, not his career.

Now, the Bobcats face the rest of the season with Nazr Mohammed, Kwame Brown, Tyrus Thomas, and Boris Diaw filling the Center position. The temptation to trade Boris gets a little trickier now that the team has lost a big man in Diop. What should the Cats do, now?

-Mike

Feeling Nostalgic? Charlotte Considers Baron Davis

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Baron Davis - Charlotte Hornets

Well, the Cats are in the course of another mid-season overhaul after the departure of Larry Brown. It looks like owner Michael Jordan had seen enough of the losing, and had been pushed to the limit of bickering with Brown about how to run this team. Now, the Bobcats have made the low-risk decision to give Paul Silas a chance to show us if he can still coach at an NBA level. We’re still not sure how the team will respond to the change or Silas’ style, but it’s clear that the team wasn’t going to play any better under Larry Brown. It should be nice for Jordan to have a grateful coach around for a while. I’m sure Silas will have his opinions, but it’s likely that he’ll work to say all the right things in order to get a real contract after this season.

Now, it looks like a few more changes are on the horizon for Charlotte basketball. Yahoo! Sports’ full-time “hater” and NBA columnist, Adrian Wojnarowski just typed and published a report about a potential trade between the Bobcats and the L.A. Clippers. So for all of you out there needing a little more nostalgia about the old (ex-Charlotte) Hornets, an early Christmas present might be coming to town – former fan-favorite, and always-injured point guard Baron Davis! Yep, Paul Silas reuniting with Baron Davis. Probably didn’t see that coming in 2010-2011, did you?

Wojnarowski’s  rumor goes like this – Bobcats will send promising offensive talent D.J. Augustin, misfit shooter Matt Carroll, and rarely-used backup center Desagana Diop to the Los Angeles Clippers. In return, the Los Angeles Clippers will send Baron Davis, an aging, injury-riddled point guard that is about a decade past his prime. Don’t get me wrong, here. I really loved watching Davis play in his last season in Golden State. He was dominant during their Playoff run, and so was J-Rich, and so was Stephen Jackson. But, that train has left and none of those players are what they were as a team several seasons back.

I’m excited about the coaching change for the team. Considering the state of things, I’m open to changes on the roster, too. But, taking on a player with a big contract at the end of his career seems like a big mistake. Nothing can go well in a trade between organizations as confused as the Clippers and the Bobcats. Two wrongs, can’t make a right. Can they?

-Mike

Bobcats Make Grizzlies Look Like Celtics

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Bobcats Are Actually 33 Points Worse Than The Grizzlies

AP Recap | Box Score

This game was over after the first quarter. A 33 point loss to the Memphis Grizzlies, yea the freakin’ Grizzlies, showed all the flaws of the Charlotte Bobcats. Every blemish on this club became a crater, and I don’t think I’ve ever been so disappointed as a fan.

Without Gerald Wallace (busted ankle from the Toronto game), no other Bobcat made the effort to step up in his place. Charlotte’s offense fell apart in the second quarter and they had no intention on playing defense at all. It was clearly a bad situation when the TV broadcast was showing D-Mac highlights on the way back from half-time (with Charlotte down 36-59). Somehow, the Bobcats forgot how to play basketball during the second quarter and they spent the rest of the night making the Memphis Grizzlies look like the Harlem Globetrotters.

Lately, I’ve contemplated the need to keep Bobcats Baseline running. Tonight’s horrible Memphis beat-down made me seriously consider giving up on this team. I mean, how can we keep watching this outfit? Without Gerald Wallace, the team has no finishers. Co-captain Stephen Jackson was absolutely useless on the court. He’s done, and Charlotte is stuck trying to use him as a go-to guy. It’s clear that his antics have worn on the coach. After the game, Old LB vented about his team’s effort,”No effort, no teamwork, guys don’t run back… blaming it on the referees.” He sounds about as enthused as this disheartened Cats apologist. Coach Brown seems sick of trying to motivate this team, and I’m kind of getting sick of expecting anything from them. If this is all part of the cycle Larry uses to bust up the roster, then I’m board. Things have got to change.

If you’ve seen the Charlotte Bobcats you may notice that they like to spend a lot of time on the court without scoring basketball points. I’m not sure why they’ve made this strategic decision, but it’s apparently the result of the coach’s game plan. I used to be a big supporter of defensive-oriented teams. Overall, it’s not a bad idea if you don’t have mega-talent on your roster and you want to keep games close. Now, it’s tough to support that approach if your team can’t actually play defense or keep games close. So, will Larry Brown give up on trying to force his team into his ideal mold or will Brown need to adapt to the talent that he’s got? My bet would be that Larry’s not gonna budge an inch, leaving the team to support him or tune him out (or has that already happened?).

So what’s next?

A day off until Friday’s game against Atlanta. It’s unlikely that Gerald Wallace will be back in time to play the Hawks, so we might see another 20-30 point dismantling in Georgia. Will Jordan step in and help Larry shake up the roster? If not, how long does Larry Brown stick around?

-Mike

POLL : What Will Be Next For The Bobcats?

  • Larry Brown Will Resign (22%, 15 Votes)
  • Larry Brown Will Be Fired (10%, 7 Votes)
  • Stephen Jackson Will Be Traded (55%, 37 Votes)
  • Gerald Wallace Will Be Traded (13%, 8 Votes)

Total Voters: 67

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Bobcats Breaking Apart?

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Bobcats Struggling

The Bobcats Were Headed In The Right Direction.

The struggles of the Charlotte Bobcats franchise have been well documented in the blogosphere. The team’s initial challenges, failed plans, losing records, and last season’s rise to respectability should be familiar tales to anyone visiting Bobcats Baseline. Last year, the Bobcats seemed to be making progress in overcoming every hurdle that had impeded their years of efforts toward success.

First, Stephen Jackson’s arrival brought a scoring threat to match Gerald Wallace’s unstoppable hustle, giving Charlotte the best pair of “wings” in the league. Next, it was announced that Michael Jordan had purchased the majority stake of the franchise. The team had finally been shed of its much-disliked owner, Bob Johnson (who still holds a small slice of the team). The public disdain of the Bobcats name began melting away with Michael Jordan as the face of the franchise. As the season went on, the team’s play improved and Gerald Wallace became their first All-Star (and Dunk Contest participant). The season wrapped up with the club’s first Playoff run, and an arena atmosphere that the city hadn’t felt for a decade. Despite losing to Orlando in a series sweep, the Bobcats looked to be on the rise. Overall, the 2009-2010 season looked pretty good for that team down there in Charlotte.

Oh, how different things seem after just a few months.

Just When Things Were Looking Up…

So far this season, we’ve seen the Bobcats stumble to a disappointing 8-15 start while giving fans no reals signs to indicate any chance of improvement. This wasn’t the way anyone saw it playing out, after their Playoff run. The Bobcats’ defense has yet to show any resemblance to last year’s squad, and they’re somehow playing offense even worse than they did a season ago. Stephen Jackson is moving way too slowly, Gerald Wallace is ineffective, and the team has been forced to start Nazr Mohammed at the Center position. Last week, reporters caught Jack and Crash venting their frustration and questioning their point guard. We’ve heard good things about the camaraderie of the team’s locker room, but even that seems to be shaken at this point.

Not only has the team struggled on the court, but it seems as though Coach Brown is starting to enter the “I’m gettin’ too old for this, shit” phase of his stint in the Queen City. Charlotte Observer’s Rick Bonnell described Larry Brown as “dispirited” in a recent story. Plus, the predictable, non-story headlines of “Can Charlotte Get the Hornets Name Back?” have popped up  in the local papers just in time to remind people that they were supposed to hate the Bobcats and love the Hornets (via nostalgia / ex-girfriend complex).

Now, we’re hoping that the Bobcats can do something to save their season and regain momentum. They certainly need to make an effort to put them back on track with the steps they had made last year. At the moment, the only symbol of success that the Charlotte Bobcats possess is ol’ Air Jordan, the owner. So, let’s hope that a few more seats get sold for tonight’s halftime celebration of Michael, as he’s inducted into the NC Sports Hall of Fame. Otherwise, the team’s owner might find a slight buzz-kill when he accepts that trophy/plaque/whatever and smiles outwardly to a house full of empty seats.

We don’t know how the Bobcats will respond to their recent breakdown, but the team couldn’t have asked for a better opponent than the Toronto Raptors to get them back into form. If it’s true that Michael Jordan gave the team a shouting critique of their ineptitude after the Celtics game, we should expect that the Bobcats arrive for this game ready to win or ready to get traded.

It’s December and the Bobcats are 7 games under .500. It can only be expected that Larry Brown will let the front office know what he feels they need to get back to winning. It’s probably time that Michael Jordan and General Manager Rod Higgins start listening to him.

-Mike

Loose Notes:

I should note a few of the positives that have happened for the Bobcats, as of late.

  1. The Bobcats can now be found on televisions in York County (which borders Charlotte).
  2. For y’all Duke-Haters – Gerald Henderson will probably do a short run of games in the D-League.
  3. The NBA has not had to step in to purchase the Bobcats in order to keep them in the Queen City.

Bobcats Almost Steal One From The Magic

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Late Rally Not Enough for The Bobcats to Catch The Magic

(AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

Charlotte Bobcats lose at home to the Orlando Magic : 91–88

AP Recap | Box Score

Observations

After falling to the Detroit Pistons last night, the Bobcats had a date with the Magic on the second night of their back-to-back. It looked like Orlando felt a little bad about the Playoff sweep and decided not to activate Jameer Nelson (recovering from injury) for the match-up at the Cable Box. Chris Duhon got the start alongside Vince Carter, Quentin Richardson, Rashard Lewis and the intimidating Dwight Howard. Charlotte used their standard starting five – D.J. Augustin, Stephen Jackson, Gerald Wallace, Boris Diaw, and Nazr Mohammed. By just pairing those names alongside each other, we should’ve expected a blow-out by the Magic.

The Bobcats should be commended for not digging a huge hole to start the game. They used their homecourt advantage to stick pretty close to Orlando for much of the first quarter, and stayed within striking distance at the half. Unfortunately, Charlotte only had 36 pts at halftime. Not too many teams are going to threaten the Magic with 36 pts going into the 3rd quarter. For nearly all of the second half, the Orlando Magic executed their offense efficiently enough to keep a persistent stiff-arm of around 12pts to hold the lead. The momentum swung Charlotte’s way mid-way through the 4th and the Bobcats’ run coincided with an injury to Vince Carter, allowing the team to nearly steal the game in the final minutes. On the last possession of the game, neither Stephen Jackson, Boris Diaw, nor D.J. Augustin had the firepower to get the final 3 points that the Cats needed to tie the game against the much superior Magic squad.

Dwight Howard Really Is That Good At Basketball

I had intended to use this space to recap how huge Dwight Howard’s slams would be and compare them to the types of dunks that he’s capable of throwing down in the new NBA JAM.  Honestly, I feel like I’ve seen him do some things in the past that are way crazier than the moves executed his cartoonish Jam character. Now, after the game, I have to say that the Bobcats did a great job of minimizing his monster dunks. Sure, Dwight had a couple really good ones while the Magic were rolling in the first half. But, I was more impressed by his hook shot from the right, and his 8′ jumper. Nazr Mohammed did his best to affect Howard, but it really just looked embarrassing for ol’ Naz’.  Dwight had everything going in the first half, but it seemed that Larry Brown adjusted the guys on defense and they kept Superman playing like a mortal at the close of the game. I’ll touch on this a bit more down the page.

Vince Carter Is Still Pretty Good At NBA Basketball

The first thing I noticed about Vince Carter during the game was his ability to get space to get off a good shot. He may not leap as high as he once did, but he knows when to cut, how to slide around a screen, and exactly how to make a jab step move his defender. Secondly, I was frustrated to see just how good Carter is at selling a foul. The Bobcats play more physical than they ever have, and yet they don’t seem to get the easy whistles. For much of the game, it seemed that Vince was getting Tyrus, Stephen and Boris called for fouls by simply turning his body to get contact in a manner odd enough to get a whistle. If he was fighting through a screen, it was like he would start high and come around the defender twisted and heading down like he had just been whacked in his shoulders. Vince Carter was selling the contact better than Vince McMahon.  Lastly, Carter’s injury in the 4th quarter looked bad. He appeared to slip on a wet spot at the top of the key and his legs went in absolute opposite directions. Hopefully, this wasn’t a serious injury.

Gerald Wallace Was On

Crash finished the game with 25 points, and it looked like he had plenty of energy despite going for all but a few minutes against the Pistons on Friday. From what I could tell, that ankle sprain in New Jersey should be behind him soon. Wallace opened the game with a couple of jumpers and helped to spread the floor by knocking down open threes. He seemed to pair well during his time with the other Gerald (Henderson), too.  Henderson knocked down a couple of open shots and showed some defensive prowess with a crazy-athletic sprint-to-leap-to-block on Rashard Lewis. Larry Brown should note the benefits of an excessively athletic set of Geralds on the wings.

Good and Bad

Stephen Jackson and Boris Diaw both looked really good and really bad during the game. Stephen Jackson just seems out of sync at times and his bad passes seemed to always result in a score by Orlando. Boris Diaw looked good for stretches and then totally out of place and out of rhythm on offense late in the game. Neither of these guys were horrible, and neither were incredible. If they can both minimize those periods of inexplicable mistakes, the Bobcats would start to look pretty good. While Diaw’s offense went into hiding during the last stretch of the game, he seemed to do a great job guarding Dwight Howard. Larry Brown chose to go really small with Diaw at the center spot, but Orlando couldn’t find a way to let Dwight dominate the paint. Actually, I think Boris had a couple of blocks on Howard in this one. While the Frenchman may have missed the potentially game-tying three-pointer in the last seconds, I’m not sure they would have been that close without his surprisingly solid defense.

Loose Notes

D.J. Augustin appears to be improving. It’s exciting to see him build to his repertoire of skills. His passing, awareness, and shooting are all on the upswing, right now. The crowd at the arena went crazy over his floater in the lane late in the 4th quarter.

Tyrus needs more minutes. When we see Tyrus Thomas come out for a few brief plays in the first half, he seems out of place and he picks up a couple of fouls pretty easily. As he plays for longer stretches, Thomas really starts to influence the game and he plays in rhythm. When he stops pressing, he plays like a serious threat on both ends of the court.

Lastly, Saturday night was Nelly’s birthday and he spent it with us and the Bobcats at Time Warner Cable Arena. Nelly, a partial owner of the Bobcats team, sat courtside and received a big ovation from the audience when he was shown on the big screens above the court. The promo for his upcoming release “Nelly 5.0″ did not receive such a warm reception.

Bonus Observation : Eduardo Najera had a pretty great style going in street clothes for the game. If anyone has a picture of Eddie in his white jacket, please post it in the comments.

Next game is Monday night at the Cable Box versus Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and the San Antonio Spurs.

-Mike