Bobcats Come Up Big To Defeat Celtics

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Tres (Photo by Chuck Burton/AP)

The Charlotte Bobcats rode big contributions from unlikely sources to beat the East-leading Boston Celtics 94-89 on Monday night at the Cable Box. After Stephen Jackson was ejected arguing a call in the second quarter, Shaun Livingston and Gerald Henderson stepped up off the bench to fill the void.  Gerald Wallace continued his recent strong play, leading the Bobcats with 19 points and 16 rebounds.

AP Recap |  Box Score

After hanging with, but ultimately succumbing to elite teams twice over the weekend at home, the Bobcats got another chance against the Boston Celtics, who were without Shaq, Marquis Daniels and Semih Erden due to injuries (not to mention Jermaine O’Neal and Delonte West) AND on the second night of a back-too-back.

This one started out similarly to the Heat and Mavs games: the Cats showing no signs of backing down, hanging right with the Celtics.  Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen played well early on, while Stephen Jackson paced the Bobcats.  Early in the second quarter, 6′-7″ Shaun Livingston took advantage of his matchup with 5′-9″ Nate Robinson to the tune of 10 points in a 5 minute span.

But late in the second quarter, Cap’n Jack struck again.  After a defensive switch left Jackson on Garnett in the post, Garnett began to work for position.  Jackson fought him for said position, forcing Garnett to take an awkward, slightly off-balance step.  Garnett sold it well and a foul was called on Jackson.

It wasn’t a terrible call; but Jack apparently thought it was and laid into the official, quickly drawing a tech.  Silas went to the bench to sub for Jack, but not quickly enough.  Jack continued to berate the refs on the way towards the sideline and drew his second tech and an ejection.

But the Bobcats surprisingly wouldn’t fade, taking a one point lead into halftime.  Midway through the third, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce hit back-to-back threes to give the Celtics 65-57 lead; but from that point, the Bobcats dug in for a strong finish.

The fourth quarter was an exctiting, back-and-forth affair that ultimately saw an unconventional Bobcats crunchtime group overcome Jack’s ejection and a Celtics team that appeared to run out of gas.

Coach Paul Silas went with Shaun Livingston’s hot hand down the stretch over DJ Augustin; Livingston responded and kept up his strong play, finishing the game with 18 points on 7-10 FG.

Gerald Henderson filled in admirably for Jackson, playing his customary fantastic perimeter defense and nailing a clutch 20-footer off a down screen with 2:31 left to give the Bobcats an 86-83 lead.

And on the next Bobcats possession, Eduardo Najera, who played great defense on Kevin Garnett in 19 minutes of playing time, drained a huge three to push the lead to 89-83.  From there, good defense and a few free throws closed it out.

Notes

  • With Gerald Henderson’s continued improvement and Stephen Jackson’s persistent and apparently worsening troubles, is a trade becoming more and more likely?  I’d love to see it, even if doing so meant the Bobcats falling out of the playoffs.  Problem is, with Jack’s continued embarrassing behavior and the Maverick’s elite play with their current roster, would they still even be interested in him?
  • So Jack is up to 13 technical fouls, if you’re counting.  As a reminder, once you get to 16, every other tech begets a one-game suspension. More disincentive for another team to make a trade for him.
  • Kwame Brown also picked up a tech for getting into Kendrick Perkins face after a hard foul.
  • Ray Allen had only two three-pointers and will have to wait another game to tie and overtake Reggie Miller for the all-time NBA record for made threes.
  • Next game is Wednesday night as the Bobcats visit Indianapolis to take on the Pacers; 7 PM ET start.  Along with the Sixers and Bucks, the Pacers are one of the teams that the Bobcats will be fighting for the 7th-8th East playoff spot — so the head-to-head matchups are obviously huge.  The Pacers currently lead the Cats by a half-game for the 8th spot.

-Dr. E

Be sure to follow Dr. E, ASChin and Cardboard 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


Celtics Whip Bobcats in Boston

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Charlotte Bobcats @ Boston 3/3/10

The Bobcats played like the Delta Force in January.  Now they look more like the Disorderlies.
Boston goes up big early and then outscores Charlotte 28-16 in the third quarter as they go on to win 104-80 over the Bobcats.

AP recap here | Box score here

Around the Horn

Congrats to NBA International League Pass Broadband for stealing my money this evening.  In the meantime allow me to metacritic.com the hell out of this recap.

From Bobcats.com:
“I don’t think anybody could have played in that environment,” said Bobcats Head Coach Larry Brown. “They played great, they made shots, they executed great – we played hard, but there were too many obstacles. They were great. At one time I think they were 10-for-12 from three, they shot 60 percent in the first half and shared the ball. Their bench was great – if we would have played our best, I don’t know if that would have been good enough.”

Our friend David at RufusOnFire.com writes:
The Celtics play ugly. Every opponent should know that going in. Yet, the JordanCats again lost their poise and looked like they wanted to be anywhere other than on the court tonight. As noted in the preview, the Cs should be a good matchup for the Cats, but Charlotte’s lost to them by 33 in the season opener, then by 18 in December, and now by 24. When Boris Diaw is your only effective shooter from the field, you don’t deserve to win.

From CelticsBlog.com:
“I thought the key was the third quarter,” said coach Doc Rivers. “We came out and extended the lead. That’s when you take away games- when you’re up ten at halftime and you get it to twenty or you’re up ten at halftime and they cut it to one or two.”
Asked about his minor altercation with Stephen Jackson which resulted in a double technical foul, (Paul) Pierce downplayed the event but did note that clashing with opposing players and showing that extra fire and attitude on the court is something that they could use more of.

From Rick Bonnell’s Charlotte.com recap:
…It’s about body language and tattered communication and selfishness. It’s about no longer recognizing that Bobcats squad that won nine of 10 in January.”That was a team,” Wallace said of the Bobcats’ former incarnation, following a 104-80 loss. “This one is just guys out on their own as individuals. Not talking, not communicating on defense.”And the implications?
“Very worried,” Wallace said of the playoff prospects. “Even if we manage to figure this out and some other team slips up, I don’t know what kind of game we’d play. I’m worried if we do (make the playoffs), we’ll get swept.”

Bonnell elaborates in his blog:
…Now they don’t set good screens, don’t work together well enough to limit the other team’s dribble-penetration. I’m just glad Gerald has the courage to call them out about this. Not that I’m surprised. He’s earned that right because he’s the last original Bobcat left and because there’s nothing about him to suggest he cares more about “me” than “we.”

Bottom Line

Time is running out if the ‘Cats want to get serious about the Playoffs.  They’re a game behind Miami (easiest remaining schedule amongst bottom half contenders) and now two and half games behind Milwaukee and Chicago.  Charlotte will have to go on a bit of a tear late this month and through April to have any chance of sneaking in.

Enjoy the Loss, Bobcats Fans…

–ASChin

Charlotte Bobcats @ Celtics 4/1/09

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1.  An absolutely painful choke job by the Bobcats as they lose 111-109 to the Celtics in double OT.  AP story here, box score here.  The Bobcats fall to 34-41, 1.5 games back of the idle Bulls for the 8th playoff spot.

2.  Going to try to keep this short tonight as I’m a bit under the weather.  The bottom line is that the Bobcats, as they’ve done numerous times in the past, played the Celtics very tough tonight.  So tough, in fact, that they led 85-73 with 8:48 left in the fourth.  Eddie House caught fire and brought the Cs back, but the Bobcats still led 93-85 with just over two minutes left.

However, the Cats would go completely cold while the Cs turned it up a notch, scoring 8 straight to pull into a tie with a chance to win at the end of regulation.  Fortunately, Rondo missed a runner at the buzzer to allow the Cats another chance in overtime.

3.  In the first overtime, the Bobcats (after a half dozen chances) scored with 20 seconds left to go up by three.  But Ray Allen got a wide open look for a three at the elbow and drained it to tie the game up.

Raja Bell got a decent look at a potentially game-winning jumper at the buzzer, but missed.

4.  In double-OT, the Cats had the lead (109-108) and the ball with under 20 seconds left.  However, Felton couldn’t manage a better shot than a wild, tightly contested, jumper/floater while falling away from the basket from 13 feet.  Needless to say, he didn’t make it.

The Cs took the ball the other way with 10 seconds left.  The ball ended up in Paul Pierce’s hands on the elbow, with Diaw guarding.  The Cats had a fould to give, but didn’t use it.  Pierce easily blew by Diaw, forcing Wallace to close the gap.  Problem was, Wallace had been guarding Ray Allen in the corner.  Pierce found Mr. Shuttlesworth, who drained the three for a 111-109 lead.

The Cats called timeout to set up a final shot with two seconds left.  Larry Brown called a winner, as Raja Bell got a great look at a three-pointer from the elbow.  However, it was just a bit strong, and bounced harmlessly off back rim.

5.  Not that I’m counting, but here’s Raymond Felton’s shooting from the last 12 minutes of the game (2 minutes of regulation, plus both overtimes): 2-7 with 2 missed layups for four points.  I’ve said this before, but I guarantee you that every team’s advance scouting report on Raymond Felton has a line like this somewhere in it: “Let him shoot, let him try to beat you, especially in end-of-game situations.”

Yet Larry Brown was insistent on calling a 1-4 flat play for Felton at least three different times in the last 12 minutes.  This is the play (also known to old Larry Johnson/Charlotte Hornet fans as “Dallas”) whereby the “1” holds the ball in the frontcourt with the “4” teammates evenly spaced flat along the baseline.  The idea is that the “1”, given all that space, can break his man down and get a good look, get fouled, or maybe even get to the basket and force help for an easy assist.  Felton didn’t get any of these any of the three times I remember the play being run.  It was painful to watch.

(And if you want some statistical support for the Bobcats’ overreliance on an inefficent option in cruchtime situations, check this TrueHoop post from a couple of days ago).

(And by the way, Felton’s complete line for the game was: 14 points (on 7-20 FG, 0-0 FT), 12 assists vs. 2 turnovers, and 4 rebounds).

6.  Gotta call out Diaw as well.  Over the last 14 minutes of the game, here’s his line: 2-5 FG for 4 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists, and 4 turnovers.  Four turnovers in crunch time from one player, who is supposedly a maestro with the ball.  His bad passes drive me nuts.  The local media treat him like some kind of passing savant, excusing the turnovers by claiming that his teammates “are still learning” how to play with him, but that doesn’t jive anymore.  Maybe he needs to learn how to play with his teammates — or just how to stop imagnining passing lanes that aren’t really there.

7.  Seven games left, five on the road:

Fri, Apr 3    Miami    7:00 PM
Sun, Apr 5    @ Detroit    6:00 PM
Tue, Apr 7    Philadelphia    7:00 PM
Fri, Apr 10    @ Oklahoma City    8:00 PM
Sat, Apr 11    @ Chicago    8:30 PM
Mon, Apr 13    @ New Jersey    7:30 PM
Wed, Apr 15    @ Orlando    8:00 PM

Pretty much need six of them to have a shot.

-E

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 vs. Celtics 11/29/08

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1. Bobcats lose to the visiting Celtics on Saturday night, 89-84.  AP story here, box score here, PopcornMachine.net game flow here.  This was the eighth straight win for the Celtics, who move to 16-2 overall, while the Bobcats fall to 5-11.

2. Big crowd tonight on a holiday weekend to see the Cats host the World Champion Celtics.  The crowd was announced as a sellout (19,177) but I would estimate the place was about 85% full.  Michael Jordan was back in the house in his customary seat at the end of the bench; Bob Johnson was at midcourt; and NASCAR dude Jimmie Johnson was a few seats down from him.  I would estimate that between a quarter and a third of the crowd were green-clad Celtics fans.  We were treated to a close, defensively-minded and well-played game in which the Bobcats ultimately succumbed to the champs.

3. The Bobcats again started Felton, Richardson, Wallace, May and Okafor and let that group play together for 8 or 9 minutes.  That lineup played very well and grabbed a 12-4 lead after a few minutes; the first quarter ended with the Cats up 22-17.  Sean May continues to take baby steps back towards being a functional NBA player, grabbing 4 rebounds and hitting 3-5 FGs in 18 minutes.  The 15-20 foot jumper and the rebounding instincts are still there, but right now the game is moving a bit fast for him.

4. Ditto “the game moving too fast right now” for Alexis Ajinca.  Lex logged a few minutes in the second quarter, but looked pretty out of place against the Celtics mix of experienced veterans and veteran-like young guys (granted, there’s no one on the Celtics that’s a good matchup for him, and he got stuck on Big Baby Davis for those few minutes).  I’ll continue to beat the drum that Freedom Fries needs regular minutes – in the D-League – to acclimate himself to American basketball.

Hopefully, we now have another functional big in Dwayne Jones such that the team can spare Lex and let him get those D-League minutes.  Jones played 13 minutes, and didn’t log any meaningful statistics, but looked mostly competent.  He definitely led the team in “mini-conferences with teammates during breaks in the action so that he understood his responsibilities” in the upcoming possesions.

5. Jason Richardson and Gerald Wallace led the team with 22 and 23 points, respectively.  Both were able to get their points within the offense, and within their comfort zones.  Richardson again showed no ill effects from his recent knee troubles.

6. However, the discipled Celtics defense was able to prevent both Richardson and Wallace from getting much going in the crucial last three minutes.  Take a look at the 4th quarter play-by-play and you’ll note that both guys contributed in the beginning and middle of the final period; but with most of the crowd standing (seriously!) and hanging on every play in the last few minutes, the Cs stayed at home on D, prevented Richardson and Wallace from touching the ball, and dared Raymond Felton to beat them.

7. And after a fantastic game on Friday night against the Pacers in which he hit from everywhere (including a tough, driving layup to send the game into OT) Raymond had a dismal follow-up game.  He was 2-15 from the floor with 6 turnovers.  He continues to find other ways to contribute, with 7 rebounds and 6 assists, but it was the four (yes, four) missed layups down the stretch (two were blocked) that killed the Bobcats chances of pulling this one out.  Clearly, the Celtics had committed to staying at home on defense and taking their chances with Felton, and it was the right decision.  Raymond has a knack for overpenetrating, giving himself an exceedingly difficult shot, and rarely drawing a foul in the process.  Perhaps it should be DJ doing the majority of the ballhandling in crunch time?  (It was again a lineup of Augustin, Felton, Richardson, Wallace and Okafor in the fourth quarter.)

8. To contrast, when the game was on the line, the Celtics were able to go to Paul Pierce.  The Truth got them eight points (on two short jumpers and four free throws) in the last four minutes to put the Bobcats away.  It’s worth noting exactly how Paul Pierce was able to do this: the Celtics exploited the Bobcats small lineup by getting Pierce isolated on the much smaller Augustin through screens and switches several times.  Hopefully this doesn’t become a recurring theme for the Bobcats’ fourth quarters.

9. The Bobcats did a nice job on Kevin Garnett, who went for a pretty quiet 10 points (4-12 FG) and 7 rebounds.  Everyone took a turn on Garnett, including May, Okafor, Mohammed, and Wallace, and he never got going.  But Kendrick Perkins was able to pick up the slack, with 15 points (7-14 FG) and 12 rebounds to effectively negate Garnett’s quiet game.

10. Next game: Monday night, hosting the T-Wolves at the Cable Box, 7:00 PM ET.  With the starting five intact, and the team showing signs of rounding into shape, we should be expecting wins in these next two home games (T-Wolves and Thunder).

-E

ROCK BOTTOM?

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BOBCATS HIT ROCK BOTTOM?

CELTICS 101  BOBCATS 78

There’s a point in nearly every television documentary about popular bands or sports story where the group hits “rock bottom.” Last night’s defeat to the Boston Celtics reserves may be that point for the Charlotte Bobcats. While their home arena was filled with green shirts, only the most devoted Bobcats filled the remaining seats. The “casual fans” were at home watching a broadcast called the Final Four.

The Bobcats had no intention of winning the local support of college basketball fanatics. Actually, they helped support the old argument that college kids play with more “passion” and intensity. For Charlotte area basketball fans, the Pro-versus-College debate could have possibly been solved had their favorite UNC Tar Heels not played so poorly in their loss to Kansas. Though both teams were delivered big losses, the Charlotte Bobcats lost to a Celtics line up that featured no stars.

For the Boston Celtics, Saturday’s game reinforced their dominant position in the league. They finished with a huge margin of victory without playing Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, or Ray Allen. Meanwhile, the Bobcats look to be on track for their first regression in their franchise records. In most pre-season estimates, those who saw the Bobcats finishing in the low-30 wins range believed that it would be due to a rising strength of teams in the East. Well, the East didn’t get much better. Chicago disappointed, the Heat fell apart, and Atlanta won the games that Charlotte should have won. In an optimistic view, the loss to Boston should be seen as the lowest point for the franchise as it finishes the 2007-08 season. In a retrospective documentary the Bobcats would turn things around with a few strategic changes to go on to accomplish some level of success as a franchise.

Note: The recent success of the Davidson Wildcats in the NCAA tournament brought a lot of attention to Stephen Curry and his great scoring abilities. His shot is reminiscent of his father’s near flawless form. Dell Curry was incredibly consistent as a long distance shooter and a fan favorite for Charlotte basketball fans. So desperate to put faith in another shooter, Charlotte fans began to sport the jersey of Matt Carroll. Perhaps they cheer so loudly because he’s the latest Great White Hope with Morrison injured. Still, no one can overlook the multiple slump periods that have hit Carroll this season. After signing a long term contract before the season, it looks like the Bobcats are stuck with an inconsistent shooter.