Charlotte Bobcats @ Trailblazers 1/28/09

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Larry Brown wants to play the right way

A tired Bobcats team falls behind early and stays there as they lose to the Portland Trailblazers 88-74 at the Rose Garden.  AP recap here.  Box score here.  Bonnell recap here.

1. Not much to say that the folks linked-to above haven’t.  The Bobcats looked exhausted after their double OT victory over the Lakers the night before and never really stood a chance.  Broadband League Pass featured the Blazers TV team making a good point: Not only were the Bobcats coming off a double-OT slobber-knocker, not only was it against the Lakers, not only did the ‘Cats lose their best player to injury, not only did they find out the cavalry (DJ Augustin) would not be showing up any time soon, not only was this a West Coast back-to-back, not only was this against a motivated Portland team that they had just beaten at home 11 days ago, BUT apparently (according to the Blazers TV guys–one of which is Michael Holton, I think) getting to the airport from The Staples Center takes an additional 2-3 hours than getting out of most places.  So basically there was about a 1 in a 16,000,000 x π chance of the ‘Cats gutting this one out.

2. I hate to say this because I’ve been an Adam Morrison apologist for the better part of two seasons but I think it is now official.  He’s as bad as everyone says he is.  This is not personal.  I’m sure he’s a heck of a guy but c’mon.  You get a spot start in front of your hometown crowd with the team sorely in need of some replacement offense with captain Gerald Wallace going down a night earlier to a b.s. flagrant foul and right in the thick of the playoff chase.  Adam–WAKE UP!  This was your Lou Gerhig moment.  The moment in which you’d finally silence the critics and step up when we need you the most.  And what happens???  2-6 from the field with 1 rebound and 1 assist in 26 minutes.  Adam–please–if you are reading this let me tell you something: The people WANT TO LIKE YOU.  All you have to do is have one good run to end the season and you will jump right back into the warm, protective glow of the white basketball fan.  You have the ability.  Just do it.  We are going to need you during this stretch if the playoffs are going to be a remote possibility.  You’ve tried everything you say?  What about music?  Doesn’t Rage Against Machine have a song about scoring 15-18 points per game?  No?  Then why don’t you just get the AV guy who does the scouting tapes to splice together “Killing in the Name of” with Tony Robbins “Personal Power.”  That might do the trick.

3. You have to hand it to the ‘Cats for putting out a decent effort though.  To quote Larry Brown post-game:

After what we went through last night and the trip here, I was proud we didn’t pack it in and we kept competing.

But then again, if you make seven figures to work eight months a year then maybe a decent effort should be expected.  Okafor with another nice game at 18pts, 16rbs.  Bench was again suspect with Juwan Howard leading the way (as usual) with 9pts but a frightening -13 plus/minus.  Shannon Brown with two ridiculous dunks back to back at the end of the second gave him four points–four of his six for the entire game.  Bonnell just reported that the team signed FA swingman Cartier Martin (yes, that’s his real name apparently–don’t get me started) from the DLEAGUE and we all hope he can turn into another Matt Carroll type “diamond” in the rough (YEAH BABY!).

Lets hope LB was just resting his guys for stretch run of this West Coast trip.  A day off to regroup may be enough for the ‘Cats to take on the suddenly spectacular Nuggets.

Remember all you Bobcats-maniacs: take your vitamins and say your prayers (for Gerald’s swift return).

Enjoy the Loss ‘Cats fans.

-ASChin

Charlotte Bobcats vs. Grizzlies 1/21/09

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1.  Sleepy, sloppy win for the Bobcats at the Cable Box tonight, 101-86 over the Grizzlies.  AP story here, box score here.  The Bobcats move to 17-25.

2.  This one bore some superficial similarity to the Bobcats win over the Grizzlies in Memphis a few weeks ago, in that the Bobcats cruised to a relatively easy victory against a listless, overmatched Memphis squad both times. It’s really nice to see the Cats continue to take care of business against the handful of teams in the league that they’re actually better than.

3.  After some nice crowds recently, attendance was pretty down tonight — and for the first three quarters, the fans that were there didn’t have much reason to get excited.  This game was not played at a high level from an energy or execution standpoint.  The two teams combined for forty turnovers and generally looked like they had agreed to a secret pact before the game to play at half speed.

All that said, the Bobcats were clearly the better team, and were able to pull away in the fourth quarter by tightening up their defense and getting some easy buckets of offense.

4.  Through those first three slow-played quarters, Raja Bell was the only Bobcat who could get anything going.  He hit mid-range jumper after mid-range jumper to pace the Cats with 25 points.  And in another similarity to the fist time these two teams played, Bell hounded OJ Mayo into a distinctly below-average game.

5.  The rest of the Bobcats starters had solid games: Emeka Okafor had a man’s game, with 20 points (6-9 FG, 8-12 FT), 15 rebounds (4 offensive), 3 steals and 3 blocks.  Diaw was sorta quiet, but ended with a patented 8 point, 8 rebound, 7 assist game.  Wallace had a Diaw-esque game with 13 points, 9 assists, 7 rebounds and 4 steals.  Felton shot the ball pretty well (7-13 FG for 19 points) but had an unsightly six turnovers.

6.  And that’s about it for the Cats tonight.  The bench was pretty awful — just look at the +/- numbers on the boxscore.  DeSagana Diop made his debut for the Cats, playing three quiet, forgettable minutes after receiving a nice hand from the crowd.  Adam Morrison played 13 brutal minutes, shooting 1-3 and grabbing five rebounds, but committing three turnovers (two on travelling violations) and two fouls.  He’s passing up decent shots and basically looking skittish out there.

I hate to have to say this about a rookie (he shouldn’t have this much pressure on him) but the team is really missing Augustin’s scoring and leadership off the bench.  With Carroll gone, Morrison a mess, and Augustin likely to move into the starting linuep if/when Felton is traded, I shudder to think about our backcourt depth down the stretch.  Here’s your opportunity, Shannon Brown.

7.  Re: the Grizzlies?  Now granted, I have a biased sample to go on (2 losses to the Bobcats) but this team plays with no heart whatsoever.  Rudy Gay is very talented, but the knock on him coming out of college (doesn’t have the temperment/personality to lead) is proving to be true.  He disappears from games far too easily.  OJ Mayo works hard and is very fundamentally sound, but has looked very pedestrian in the two Bobcats games.  And they’re a mess at point guard — Mike Conley looks OK, but had a frightening -23 +/- tonight.

8.  Man, watching Darius Miles in person made me hate the Trailblazers even more for what they tried to do to him.  He’s clearly still an NBA player, and for a guy who’s still working his way back into game shape, looks pretty springy out there.  I’m just impressed that he’s been able to keep his mouth shut about the raw deal the Blazers tried to give him — I’d be spewing all sorts of vitriol their way if I were him.  Congratulations, Trailblazers: you did the impossible and turned Darius Miles into a sympathetic figure!

9.  Next game should be a good one — Friday night at the Cable Box against Phoenix.  Though they’re no longer playing D’Antoni’s Seven Seconds or Less style, the Suns are still a marquee team with Nash, Stoudemire and Shaq.  And there’s the added significance that, since the big J-Rich for Diaw & Bell trade, both teams are playing their best ball of the season.

Go Cats!

-E

Offense for Defense

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Carroll for Diop

The Bobcats finally make the deal for Diop but do it without sending back Raymond Felton.  ESPN.com story here.  Charlotte Observer story here. Dallas Morning News story here.

1. Positive Spin: The ‘Cats got their man.  All 7’0″ 280lbs, $32million of him.  In exchange Charlotte sends Dallas reserve guard Matt Carroll and former 2nd Round pick Ryan Hollins.  Diop immediately brings size AND athleticism to the frontcourt and allows Coach Brown to matchup with the most physical, biggest lineups in the League.  It also provides insurance and depth in case Okafor goes down with an injury for any length of time.

2. A lot of Raymond Felton fans are breathing a sigh of relief today.  A lot of love being spread out there for Latta’s favorite son and now we know that Felton will still be on the roster for at least another game.  This still doesn’t mean that he’s not being shopped.  For one, he’s still going to be a free agent this summer.  Second, Charlotte just took on $20+ million in a guaranteed contract for a big man while NOT sending back Nazr Mohammed.  So look forward to the ‘Cats trying to move Mohammed before the deadline using Felton’s talent and expiring deal as the bait.

3. Matt Carroll was really sucking it up this season.  For a guy who earned his contract shooting the basketball, Matt was raining it in at a career low 40% from the field this season (26% from 3–ouch).  His +/- ranking for the year is a telling -7.3 which is, yes Bobcats fans, worse than Adam Morrison’s.  So now that Carroll has a new opportunity to get open looks off Dirk double-teams in Dallas, AMMO should finally get consistent minutes off the bench as the primary scorer/shooter.  It should be interesting to see what both players can do with the opportunity.

4. Negative Spin: The biggest negative from this deal by far is from a cap perspective.  The ‘Cats will pay Diop roughly $11million more over the course of his contract than Carroll.  Combine this with Mohammed’s deal and Charlotte has $20million on the books over the next two seasons dedicated to their backup centers.  If the ‘Cats can’t find someone willing to take back Nazr’s deal before the summer of 2010, they’ll essentially be out of the free agent race entirely.  Is there a more obnoxious contract in the NBA?  Not only does Nazr make about $2.5 million more per year than he should, his contract goes inconveniently until 2011.  Did Dumars punk Higgins on this deal or what?

4. Another negative is that Ryan Hollins was included as a throw-in.  Hollins showed a lot of improvement in his limited minutes early this season and actually leads the team in plus-minus.  He’s young, athletic, energetic and fun to watch.  I guess that the team is so heavily invested in Ajinca that they decided one of the raw bigs had to go.  Just like Morrison, it will be very interesting to see what Alexis can do with the opportunity.

5. Conclusion: Bonnell says it best in his blog.  “They don’t act like a team that is out of the playoff race; good – nice to see they’re not giving up.”  Regardless if this is the greatest move in the world or not, it’s encouraging to see that the organization is actively trying to get better.  Can Coach Brown work his magic yet again?  Will we see the team make a huge run into the spring and squeeze in to the playoffs?

-ASChin

Charlotte Bobcats vs. Celtics 1/6/09

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1.  Big win tonight at the Cable Box tonight as the Bobcats continue to give the Celtics fits, this time taking them down in overtime, 114-106.  AP story here, box score here.  Bobcats improve to 13-22; Celtics fall to 29-7, and have now lost 5 out of their last 7.

2.  This was easily the biggest win and the most fun game to attend of the season so far.  The arena was not quite as full as it had been the first time the Celtics came to town a few weeks back, but it was still a pretty good crowd.  As always, there were lots of Boston fans in the house; some diehards (like the old guy with a killer green satin Celtics jacket behind me), but also a ton of bandwagon jumpers (replete with gleaming new Garnett jerseys).

The Bobcats played a great first quarter, maintained a small lead for the rest of the first half, eventually relinquished it late in the third, then made big play after big play in the fourth to force the overtime.  The Celtics were out of gas in the overtime period, and DJ Augustin hit a big three and a handful of free throws to seal the deal.

3.  Raymond Felton is front and center in a lot of the highlights and stories, and rightfully so.  He played his heart out, leading the team with 25 points (9-17 FG, 6-8 FT), 3 rebounds, 8 assists and 2 steals.  He also hit two monster shots in the fourth quarter: the first was a three-pointer with the game tied at 85 with 6:39 left, the second was an extremely difficult Iverson-esque baseline fadeaway to give the Cats a 1 point lead with 38 seconds left.

But Raymond also made some bad plays down the stretch that made those big shots so necessary.  Amongst his seven turnovers on the night were two particularly bad passes with under 3 minutes left that prematurely ended crucial possessions.  And, after getting fouled with 20 seconds left, the Cats up by one, he hit only one of two free throws.  Pierce (of course) responded by backing down Augustin and coolly draining a turn-around jumper to tie the game with three seconds left.  Then, despite getting a good look from straight on, Felton missed his chance to be the hero by bricking a 20 footer at the buzzer.

4.  One of the big reasons the game was so fun to watch was its chippy nature.  Of course, nothing less should be expected with the Celtics in the building.  Their antics were on full display tonight.  Garnett was his usual assholey self; jawing with, and eventually elbowing Morrison at one point; fouling Carroll on a scramble for a loose ball and spending an excessive amount of time laying on top of him afterwards.  Oh, and his most annoying pseudo-intimidating move — you know, when he’s on defense, and there’s a foul call, and the offensive player will toss up a shot after the whistle, just because, and then Garnett jumps up and snatches the ball out of the air as it nears the basket? — yeah, he pulled that one tonight as well.

Pierce protested pretty much every call that didn’t go his way, nearly picking up a tech at one point.  Doc Rivers did pick up a tech for the same.  Kendrick Perkins continued to add to his league leading total of “menacing scowls”.  And Glen Davis was maliciously leaning hard into every pick he set.

The good news is that the Bobcats matched the Celtics antics with just the right amount of aggression and moxie; enough to stand up to the Celtics, and get themselves and the crowd going, but not so much that they took themselves out of the game.  Morrison matched Garnett’s jawing; Juwan Howard fouled Glen Davis hard on a break early in the fourth, drawing a flagrant 1; Felton stepped up to Davis after one of those bone jarring picks and drew a tech.  The crowd loved every bit of it.

5.  Gerald Wallace was great, with 23 points (7-17 FG, 8-8 FT!), 6 rebounds and 4 steals.  The points were nice (most came in the first half) and those steals were big, but what deserves particular mention is Wallace’s 3 assists.  Two of them were fantastic dishes in the paint that resulted in dunks for Okafor; one came in the first quarter, the other in the decisive overtime period.  Both were pretty uncharacteristic for Wallace, who is usually a black hole on offense.  Could it be that Larry Brown and Boris Diaw are really rubbing off on Crash?

6.  Okafor had a solid game, with 13 points and 17 rebounds (5 offensive); he didn’t get a lot of looks in the post and missed the ones he did get, but racked up tons of boards and put himself in position to get some easy buckets throughout the game.

7.  Adam Morrison certainly deserves mention.  He played his best game in several weeks, logging 15 minutes and scoring 13 points on 6-9 FG.  He got those buckets on a variety of shots: a layup (his first in ages), a runner, a step-back, and generally showed glimpses of the creative scoring that he was able to do in college.  Most encouragingly, only two of his attempts were standstill, spot-up threes — and he hit one of those.

8.  Rondophilia has been discussed plenty in the NBA blogosphere as of late (maybe so much that it’s jumped the shark), but let me add to the chorus.  That guy is great.  His speed, freakishly long arms, on-ball defense, and sense of pace/timing on offense are all excellent, and he showed it all tonight.  I was surprised to see that he had 9 turnovers — I don’t really remember them, but imagine that Celtics fans certainly do.  If/when Rondo adds a reliable jump shot, he’s an All-Star.

9.  ESPN and ESPNNews both gave a lot of airtime to the “What’s wrong with the Celtics?” meme tonight in conjunction with showing the highlights, and the same question has been asked repeatedly on the internet in recent days (especially in the context of the Marbury rumor), but I wouldn’t panic if I were them.  FIrst of all, to their credit, they really do usually get their opponent’s best effort every night.  Despite this, they started the year on fire, probably played their vets too many minutes, and are a bit worn out.  It took a West Coast road trip for everything to catch up with them.

Tonight, nothing really looked wrong with them — they still looked like a great team.  For some reason, over the past two seasons, they just seem to bring out the best in the Bobcats.

10.  No time to enjoy this win, as the Bobcats have to turn right around and play the other elite team in the East, this time on the road — @ Cleveland, Wednesday night.

-E

Charlotte Bobcats @ Heat 12/8/08

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1. Sans Gerald Wallace, the Bobcats drop another winnable game to the Heat tonight, 100-96.  AP story here, box score here.  The Cats drop to 7-14, the Heat improve to 12-9.

2. Quickly, apologies for the lack of a post after the Cavs game.  I’ll just reiterate what others have already said: the Cavs looked absolutely dominant.  They were by far the strongest team I’ve seen at the Cable Box this year.  The Bobcats match up surprisingly well with the Celtics and always play them tough, so the Cs never seem that impressive to me.  The ’08-’09 Cavs look unstoppable, however.  One thing that I haven’t seen stressed enough is how well they defend the basket.  They blocked or altered so many shots early in the game that the Bobcats seemed discouraged from playing aggressively the rest of the night.

The only highlights of the Cavs game for me were (1) seeing David from Rufus on Fire coming up just a bit short in the minibike race and (2) discovering Soho Bistro just a couple blocks from the the arena (no need to patronize the P.F. Changs chain outlet in Phillips Place anymore) – strong post-game dinner.

3. The Cats were in the game tonight until the last 30 seconds, when Jason Richardson choked on two potentially game-tying free throws, then quickly fouled Yakhouba Diawara, who hit his two free throws to give the Heat a four point lead… Game Over.

4. The Cats did a decent job keeping Shawn Marion and Michael Beasley in check tonight, but had no such luck against Dwyane Wade, who went for 41 points on 12-22 FGs and 15-19 FTs.  Not to take anything away from Wade, but that dude could probably drop his shorts at midcourt, take a shit, and get three free throws out of it.  Maybe someday, technology will have advanced to the point that robots will be able to officiate sporting events, but I kinda doubt it.  So I think we’ll always be subjected to the star system whereby the more scintillating, confident players (and, by extension, the teams they play for) get the benefit of the doubt nearly every time down the court.

And speaking of scintillating, Wade had a dunk on Okafor to tie the game up with a few minutes left in the game that probably goes in the top 10 dunks of the year to this point.  Hopefully, it makes its way into the highlight packages.

5. Before he choked with the game on the line, Jason Richardson had played a pretty strong game, with 24 points on 7-16 FG and 4-5 3PT.  He actually started the game on fire, with 13 points in the first few minutes to help the Bobcats out to a 20-12 lead halfway through the first quarter.  He picked up his second first quarter foul a few minutes later, had to sit, and was never able to get his heat back.

6. Okafor had a nice stretch early in the third quarter where he scored 10 straight points (seriously, here’s the play-by-play).  One of those buckets was a sweet-looking turn-around baseline jumper, another was a spot-up baseline jumper from a little farther out.  Mek looked totally confident on those shots, which was weird to see.  Every once in awhile (usually against an inferior defender – Joel Anthony in this case) Mek gives you these tantalizing offensive performances: 19 points on 9-11 FGs and 12 rebounds.

7. Morrison had a decent game off the bench, with 13 points (3-5 3PT) and 6 rebounds and 2 assists.  Morrison is kinda like the anti-Wade when it comes to the refs, though.  He seemingly can’t come within 6 inches of an opponent when defending or rebounding without drawing a whistle.

8. Raymond had a typical Raymond game, which is to say he shot miserably (2-11 FG), fouled a lot (DQd late in the fourth quarter), but did lead the team in assists (8).

9. But hey, at least one Charlotte team got it done tonight: the Panthers dropped the hammer on their division rivals on Monday Night Football, beating Tampa 38-23.  Awesome performance; if the O-line keeps playing that well and the 1-2 punch of Williams and Stewart stays healthy, the Panthers are poised to make some noise in the postseason.

10. Two more tough road games this week, against New Orleans on Wednesday and a Dallas squad that’s starting to click on Thursday.  We’ll likely be without Gerald Wallace for both of those games as he takes care of his family in the wake of his grandmother’s passing, so here’s hoping that Ammo, JD or Shannon Brown can step it up in his absence.

-E

Charlotte Bobcats vs. Magic 11/16/08

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1. Bobcats lose 90-85 to the visiting Magic tonight, dropping to 3-6 in the process.  AP story here, box score here.  The two storylines to the game are encapsulated by the picture choices above.

2. Same starting lineup tonight as on Friday night: Felton, Carroll, Wallace, May, Okafor.  May only played 13 minutes though – he still has a lot of rust to knock off.

3. The Cats played excellent defense in the first half – in particular, the rotations were crisp and aggressive, and Okafor did a nice job on Howard.  Emeka emphatically blocked one of Superman’s short hook attempts in a reversal of their usual roles.  Pietrus and Lewis kept Orlando afloat, while Wallace paced the Bobcats.  Morrison had back-to-back crowd-pleasing 3 pointers early in the second quarter, while Felton and Wallace connected on a great alley-oop later on to keep the buzz going.  43-38 Cats at the break.

4. The good defense on Howard would continue the rest of the evening, as he ended the game with only 4 points – all on free throws.  That’s right – not one field goal for D-Ho.  Pretty amazing.  Additionally, the Bobcats attacked him on the other end and kept him in foul trouble all night.  Despite the officials best attempts to observe the superstar code with Howard, he eventually fouled out with a few minutes left in the game.  Line: 26 mins, 4 points on 0-3 FG, 4-6 FT, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, 5 blocks.  OK, so he still contributed with those “hustle stats”, but overall you’re never going to see that poor of a game from D-Ho again.

5. On the other hand, the Bobcats had no answer for Hedo Turkoglu in the second half.  With Gerald Wallace occupied with Rashard Lewis most of the night, and Larry Brown desperate for an offensive spark, Adam Morrison spent a lot of time at the other forward spot guarding Turkoglu.  Turkoglu ended with “just” 20 points on 6-15 FG (8-9 FT), but for much of the second half, he just owned Morrison on both ends of the floor.  Tough matchup for Morrison, as he can usually make up for his lack of speed/quickness with his height/length; but Turkoglu at 6’10” negates that.

6. Would’ve been nice to have had J-Rich tonight, as the Bobcats just couldn’t get any sustained offensive threat going.  Matt Carroll was not really able to show much in the few extra minutes of PT he got tonight (or on Friday night, for that matter).

7. I hate to bring this up, because a) it’s beating a dead horse, b) it’s totally understandable, and c) I certainly don’t miss it anyways, but I have to mention that the Bobcats have not any halftime entertainment at any of the games I’ve been to.  I missed the home opener, so I can’t comment on that one, but ever since they’ve just trotted out the drumline or had the dance team do a routine.  No Chinese lady on a unicycle flipping bowls onto her head; no muscled up, homoerotic, balancing-on-each-other Russian male gymnasts; no frisbee-catching stunt dogs; not even any trampoline dunkers.

Tonight was actually kinda painful, as they didn’t even have the drummers or the dancers out there, and it was up to the arena announcer and cameramen to entertain.  The cameramen found people wearing paraphenalia from various teams and the crowd responded accordingly (Duke = boos, UNC = cheers, Davidson = cheers, Panthers = cheers, Falcons = boos).  So again, I can totally understand not paying for any visiting entertainment, and I don’t miss the local gymnastics school’s tumbling routine, but I do have to wonder: is this happening at other NBA arenas this year?  Not every franchise is hurting as much as the Bobcats, right?

8. Must read link from last week that, inexplicably, I never got around to posting and commenting on.  It’s from the Wages of Wins blog, commenting on the dilemma that non-stars in the NBA find themselves in, using Shannon Brown and the rest of the Bobcats as an example.

9. Latest Bobcats personnel rumor: we’re considering bringing on Jamaal Tinsley if/when he gets bought out by the Pacers.  First it was Eddy Curry, then Sean Williams, now Jamaal Tinsley.  I’m beginning to think that Larry Brown/Rod Higgins motto is: “Give us your tired, your poor, your huddled masses, your castoffs and ne’er-do-wells.”  ‘Cept that none of these dudes are very poor.

And the best part is, to get to that rumor in the link, you have to page down past the story of Robin Lopez’s excellent showing in his first start of the season.  Yep, the same Robin Lopez that the Bobcats were set to draft before cowtowing to Larry Brown’s request to pick DJ Augustin.

10. Next game: Tuesday night at home, hosting the Mavs at 7:00 to wrap up the home stand.  Would it be sacrilege to bust out my Dirk jersey for this one?

-E

UPDATE: Thanks to the commenter below for pointing out my mistake.  In item #9 above, I meant Brook Lopez, not Robin.

Charlotte Bobcats vs. Jazz 11/14/08

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Victory!

1. Victory!  104-96 over the visiting Jazz.  AP story here, box score here.   I took a few quick iPhone snaps tonight, as opposed to ganking an AP photo.  Maybe I should stick to ganking the AP photos.

2. Thank goodness the Cats were able to pull out the win tonight.  The Jazz were without three of their top four players (Williams, Okur and Kirilenko), so to be unable to take care of business at home would have been pretty embarrassing.  

3. As had been reported, Matt Carroll got the start in Jason Richardson’s place, but Adam Morrison was the major beneficiary, logging 24 minutes and getting 15 points (5-8 FG, 3-5 3PT) to lead the effort from the bench.  With a few more solid games like this, we’ll have to stop singling Adam out and just start expecting it from him (which would be nice, since he was the #3 pick and all).  

Funny moment in the fourth quarter as Morrison had a breakaway off of a scramble for the ball.  Unfortunately, for a slow white guy in the NBA, “breakaway” can quickly become “get caught from behind and have your shit swatted in humiliating fashion.”  Accordingly, Adam looked absolutely terrified heading down the court before finally getting to the rim and doing one of those awkward “ohcrapIdidn’tjumphighenoughtodunkbetterjustlettheballgonow” moves.  It rolled around the rim precariously before finally falling in.  Sue Bird probably would have finished stronger.

4. Felton and Wallace were the other leaders tonight, with 23 and 22 points respectively.  Combined, they shot 20-24 from the free throw line on the night, with many of those coming down the stretch to seal the game.

5. Ryan Hollins, back from the dead tonight!  15 minutes, 5 points, 4 boards and 2 blocks.  Okafor was in foul trouble all night and never really got it in gear.  

6. Speaking of the big guys, it’s nice to see LB saving Nazr Mohammed (DNP-CD again tonight) for our playoff run.  In all seriousness, I imagine that Nazr will be getting some run as soon as Ajinca hits the D-League.  

7. Speaking of the big guys, again: Andre Brown looks more uncomfortable in a suit jacket than Sean May in a health food store.  

8. Only bright spot for the Jazz tonight was Carlos Boozer, who went for 26 points and 15 rebounds and had an absolutely vicious dunk on Hollins in the closing minutes of the game.  Just not enough help around him.

9. Next game: Sunday afternoon at 5:30 at the Cable Box – hosting Dwight Howard and the Magic.

-E 

UPDATE: The dunk mentioned above in item #8 was actually Boozer on Gerald Wallace: