All-Star Saturday Wrap-Up

Standard
Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images

Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images

Slam Dunk Contest

Along with former Bobcats Shannon Brown, Gerald Wallace was eliminated in the first round of the least memorable Slam Dunk Contest in years on Saturday night.  After a missed attempt, Gerald threw down a two-handed, double-pump reverse jam for his first dunk, garnering a 38 from the judges.  On his Flip Murray-assisted second dunk, Gerald again missed his first attempt.  On a second try, Gerald took a bounce pass from Flip while flying from right to left underneath the basket, eventually throwing it down one-handed.  That one got a 40 and ended Gerald’s night.  Oh well, here’s a nice profile on Gerald from the Observer’s Scott Fowler anyways.

Nate Robinson and DeMar DeRozan went on to the finals, where Nate finally finished off the yawnfest with a “pretty great for a little guy” reverse jam after a toss off the backboard.  Good for Nate, as it’s a record-setting third Slam Dunk Championship for him; but unfortunately Charles Barkley stole the show with his sarcastic “maybe no one will win” comment while they were waiting for the internet votes to be tabulated.  Good luck to the league as they will undoubtedly be looking into ways to spice up the Dunk Contest next year (if they don’t kill it off altogether).

.

Taking Care of Business

Two interesting stories that concern the Bobcats emerged from David Stern’s media availability.  First and foremost, Stern confirmed that the Bobcats sale will most likely go through within the next sixty days.  It’s been reported in the past that former Houston Rockets president George Postolos is leading a group that has made a respectable offer; it’s also known that current minority owner Michael Jordan has some kind of right to match any offer.  What isn’t known at this point is whether or not Jordan is rounding up the partners to match said offer.  He probably is — at the craps table at Atlantis.

The other interesting story is the ongoing quest by the NBA and the Players Union to come up with another Collective Bargaining Agreement.  Stern projects almost $400 million in losses league-wide this year, which does not bode well for the players as the current CBA has less than a year to go.  One thing that would help the Bobcats (and other small-market teams) in the new CBA would be some kind of revenue-sharing agreement, and both Stern and players’ rep Billy Hunter have mentioned strengthened revenue-sharing as a likely component of the next CBA.  Donald Sterling cannot be pleased.

Trade Rumors

The Wizards have finally begun their demolition, dealing Caron Butler and Brendan Haywood to Dallas for Josh Howard + flotsam + jetsam.  This should start to loosen everyone else up, and things will likely be fast and furious on the transaction front between now and Thursday’s trade deadline.  The next piece to fall into place may be Amare Stoudemire to the Cavs.

The Bobcats are almost certainly still on the lookout for a power forward, with DJ being the likely bait.  I haven’t seen any new published rumors, except for the tidbit that the Cats rejected the Wizards offer of Andray Blatche for DJ.  Easy call, we’re looking for someone that will help us in the playoffs this year, not a young guy who still has a ways to go.

All-Star Game

The big game is at 7PM ET on TNT, live from Cowboys Stadium.  I’ll be tweeting as Gerald Wallace will become the first Bobcat to play in an All-Star game, and we’ll be back with some postgame thoughts either later tonight or tomorrow morning.  Happy Valentine’s Day, Baseliners.

-Dr. E

Bobcats Get Gutsy Overtime Win In Phoenix

Standard

Charlotte Bobcats @ Suns 1/26/10

Running diary-style, like usual for these late-starting Western Conference road games.

The Suns come in 26-20, in 7th place in the Western Conference.  Leandro Barbosa is out after wrist surgery, Grant Hill will sit tonight with a heel, Amare Stoudemire is on the trading block, and I’ll be trying to catch my Gamecocks as they attempt to hang with John Jesus Christ Wall and the Wildcats on ESPN during commercial breaks.  Let’s go.

In pregame, the crew mentions that Boris Diaw still owns a house in Phoenix, and got a haircut in his old hometown today.  What, you can’t get a decent buzzcut in Charlotte?

First Quarter

Well, this is not quite like the start of the last Bobcats/Suns matchup — just 10 days ago at the Cable Box the Cats blitzed the Suns right out of the gates for a 43-22 first quarter on the way to a 125-99 win.  Looking back, that was my favorite home game of the year so far.  Here it’s 33-26 Suns after one — and the Suns are already 4-7 from 3PT range.

Boris led the way for the Cats with 12 points on 5-6 FG in the quarter.

Second Quarter

42-36 Suns, 6:29 left and Amare picks up his 3rd foul and has to come out.  Time for the Cats to make a run, and Jack gets a 3-point play on the ensuing possession — 42-39.

Ooof, after his great start to the season, Nazr Mohammed has really come down to earth over the last week or two.  He’s 0-7 FG right now and I’m actually starting to look forward to seeing Tyson Chandler get back in the lineup.

Nice little kerfluffle between Raymond and Channing Frye as they draw double techs after jawing at each other.  I’d take Raymond in a heartbeat in that one.  Channing Frye does not want any of the pride of Latta, South Carolina.

Well, that’s no good.  Despite holding Steve Nash and Amare Stoudemire to a combined 2 points/0-8 FG in the first half, the Cats find themselves down 54-48.  The Suns are 7-15 from 3-point range; the Cats are 0-4.

Meanwhile, Gamecocks/Wildcats is a far more compelling game at this point, despite my Gamecocks’ best efforts to slow the game down and ugly it up.

Third Quarter

Nice little 7-2 push to open the second half for the Cats as they cut the Suns lead to 56-55, but can’t get over the hump and the Suns (Dudley, specifically) hit another three.  And Nash with yet another three, 62-55, just like that.

And now its’ the Bobcats turn to heat up: Jack and Felton with back-to-back threes to cut it to one again — 62-61.  But again they can’t get over the hump with a turnover, then giving up a Stoudemire layup on the other end.

Huge highlight there as Gerald Wallace smokes J-Rich on a behind-the-back-dribble from the left wing, then stuffs it on Stoudemire, who wisely didn’t challenge.

Wow: 8 times tonight the Cats have either cut the lead to one or tied it, only to see the Suns respond with a three.  Amazing, just happened again with Nash, 72-69 Suns.  Suns now 11-20 from three-point distance overall.

Bobcats hanging around – Stephen Jackson with another basket (14 so far this quarter) to make the score 77-73, but Amare gets Gerald back on the other end with big dunk.

Cats can’t break through, but Suns can’t pull away, either. 83-77 after three.  By the way, Stoudemire gets 10 in the quarter, Nash 9 — shoulda kept my mouth shut.

Fourth Quarter

Cats again cut it to one early in the quarter, 83-82, and yet again can’t get a stop on the other end, as the Suns get two straight buckets to bump the lead back out to 87-82.  So frustrating…

And the Cats FINALLY do it.  6 straight to take the lead 88-87 and get a stop on the next possession.  Only to give up back-to-back Nash and Frye threes soon after.  Flip with a three to tie it back up 93-93 — back and forth.  Fun finish on the way?

Gerald Wallace fouls out on a shaky offensive foul call with 3 minutes left.  Ouch.  Derrick Brown will get some key minutes.

Nash killing us here, with a big three, a big two and a steal.  Suns up 3, 98-95 under a minute left.  Jack with a big three!!!  Tie game!!!  Dudley misses a potential game-winner at the buzzer and we’re going to OT – 98-98.  What a finish!

Overtime

The Cats get the first two buckets of OT on a Jack jumper and a Felton drive; meanwhile, they turn up the pressure on the defensive end, getting multiple stops.  Dudley answers with a three to make it 102-101, but Boris turns in two big plays in a row, hitting a runner for 104-101, then blocking Nash’s jumper on the other end.

Flip then gets a huge three for 107-101 to give the Cats some breathing room.  Free throws from here on out could ice it.

And that’ll do it.  Raymond hits 2-2 FT for a 114-109 lead with 9 seconds left; Nash can’t hit and that’s ballgame.

Postmortem

Huge win given the Bobcats’ struggles on the road this year (and combined with the Gamecocks’ upset win over Kentucky, I’ll be sleeping easy tonight).  Even bigger considering that the Cats didn’t ever have a lead in this game until under 6 minutes left in the fourth quarter.  The Cats are now 1-1 on the Western Conference road trip so far, and back to .500 overall (the wallpaper lives another day!).

In overtime, the Cats did a nice job of playing to their strength — they tightened up on defense and forced a couple of turnovers, which led to a big clutch three from Flip to seal the deal.

Jack ended up with 30 points on 11-23 FG/4-8 3PT with 9 rebounds, 5 assists.  Boris gets a double-double with 24 points/11 rebounds, and Gerald had 21/9 before fouling out.

The most glaring differences in the box score are turnovers (Bobcats 12, Suns 18) and points in the paint (Bobcats 54, Suns 36).  The Suns ended with 15 threes to the Bobcats’ 7, but the Cats made up the difference by getting 25-30 FT to the Suns 16-17.

The Cats get a couple days off; next game is Friday night at 10:30 PM ET against the Warriors.  I would say “let the slobbering over Steph Curry by the Charlotte media begin” but it already has.

-Dr. E

Bobcats Out-Sun Suns

Standard

Charlotte Bobcats vs Suns, 1/16/10


.500

The Charlotte Bobcats decimated the Phoenix Suns 125-99 on Saturday night at the Cable Box, and it wasn’t really even that close.  AP recap here, box score here.  The Cats are now 19-19 overall and 15-4 at home.  They’ve won 7 in a row at home and 7 of their last 8 overall.

Unlike the night before, when the Cats played even with the Spurs before turning up the heat midway through the third, the Cats jumped all over the Suns right from the opening bell tonight.  Gerald Wallace and Stephen Jackson were both on fire.  It was 12-0 just 2 1/2 minutes in, 43-22 after the first quarter and 103-64 at one point in the third quarter.  Only a meaningless spurt by the Suns’ last-five-off-the-bench in the closing minutes brought the final margin under 30.

The Suns don’t play much D; the Cats took advantage of this while resisting the urge to do the same.  For the second night in a row, the Bobcats trapping defense took a top-notch, veteran Western Conference team out of their comfort zone.  The Cats scored 26 fast break points to the Suns 5 and scored 24 points off 15 Suns turnovers.

Gerald Wallace had 29 points (11-15 FG, 2-2 3PT, 5-6 FT) and 13 rebounds.  Stephen Jackson also had 29 points (11-17 FG, 4-6 3PT, 3-3 FT) and added 5 rebounds, 8 assists and 5 steals.  Perhaps most important is that both got to sit most of the 4th quarter with the game well in hand; Gerald played 31 minutes, Jack 29.

Everyone got into the act; literally.  Derrick Brown was in double-digits by halftime and finished with a career high 18 points.  Gerald Henderson played 10 minutes, and even Acie Law got a bucket in junk time.

Bullets

  • While attendance was not nearly the 17,574 that was announced, it was a really good crowd.  Probably the biggest crowd I’ve seen this season (note, I did not attend opening night).
  • So can we all stop clamoring for Gerald Henderson to get playing time over Flip Murray, or even Steven Graham?  Henderson’s 10 minutes tonight were not pretty.  I’m OK with him learning by watching at this point.  Jack and Flip are pretty good guys to learn from.
  • Both Jack and Amare Stoudemire scored their 10,000th career point tonight.
  • The Bobcats play next on Monday afternoon in a Martin Luther King Day special at 2PM ET.  Tyreke Evans and the Kings will be in town.

-Dr. E