Bobcats Outplayed by Depleted Bucks

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The Bobcats go into Milwaukee against a short handed Bucks team without core players Andrew Bogut and Corey Magette and manage to lose their tempers and the game 104-101 despite another excellent effort from D.J. Augustin (26 points, 6 assists) and a stellar performance from the bench. Bobcats fall to 6-11, Bucks improve to 6-10.

AP Recap | Box Score

OBSERVATIONS

  • Captain Jean Luc Richard Mbah a Moute frustrated Gerald Wallace all evening. Crash couldn’t get anything easy from the post or on the break as Richard was all over him. You won’t see it in the box score (6-12 for 19 points and 5 boards) but Wallace was simply a non-factor for most of the game.  Worse yet, Crash left the game at the :07 second mark with a hyper-extended elbow.  Great.
  • I’ve been writing about it for weeks and it finally happened Saturday night. The refs are openly baiting Stephen Jackson with egregious no-calls. It’s been going on since opening night and JAX finally bit at the 4 minute mark when Eli Roe tossed him. The incident in question was pretty blatant and Jackson was valid in arguing for it. Two Buck players made contact on a JAX post move while Roe stood just a few feet away. I don’t know what the answer is going forward but Larry Brown needs to make a call and send a tape to the League office about this issue pronto. This needs to be discussed.
  • It would be wrong to blame D.J. Augustin or his predecessor for their roles in the Brandon Jennings Explosion. The second year point guard has owned the Bobcats for most of his young career and did so again tonight, going for 32 on 10-21 from the field including 6-13 from deep. For one, Jennings is a very good player and he feasts on many outside of the orange and blue but secondly, Larry Brown’s strict man to man D opens the door for ultra-quick, unlimited range PGs like Jennings to wreak havoc. Fortunately for the Bobcats, there aren’t many human beings on the planet who fit that criteria. Fortunately for the Bucks, one of them is their starting point guard.
  • Big night for the Bobcats second unit as they combine to score 56 points in spite of an off night from Tyrus Thomas (3-7, 8 points). Both Shaun Livingston and Dominic McGuire log around 30 minutes each and notch 16 and 13 points respectively. McGuire was an absolute BEAST on the boards with 15. Between McGuire and Derrick Brown, the team is much better prepared to be without Gerald Wallace than Stephen Jackson as the dropoff from JAX to Matt Carroll is just too significant.
  • I tweeted a trade idea on Friday and I’ll elaborate on it here today: As Al Jefferson is fitting in with his new Utah team like jazz in Salt Lake City, why not send Boris Diaw and Eduardo Najera to Utah for Big Al? Utah could get out from under Jefferson’s lengthier deal and place a much better pick & role player like Diaw into the rotation with Paul Milsap. Meanwhile, Jefferson does for the Bobcats what Zach Randolph has done for Memphis: provide a bonafide post scorer (albeit of the black-hole variety) who opens up the three and demands a double team down low. I also can’t think of a better long term frontcourt mate for Tyrus Thomas than Al.

Until Next Time, Enjoy the Loss Bobcats Fans…

-ASChin

Bobcats Keep The Turnovers a Turnin’ in Brewtown

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The Bobcats lose their third straight to start the season against the heretofore winless Bucks, 98-88.

AP Recap | Box Score

OBSERVATIONS:

  • Well, I’m really glad that they used the summer to work out those turnover issues.  After leading the League last season in giveaways, the Bobcats continue their sloppy ways by handing the ball over 18 times to the Bucks.  Not counted amongst the eighteen where a baker’s dozen errant jump shots hoisted mostly by Nazr Mohammed, Gana Diop and the previously golden Tyrus Thomas.  Aside from having an otherwise strong game, D.J. Augustin did his best Emeka Okafor/Raymond Felton hybrid impersonation by repeatedly driving deep into the lane and getting swatted down by Son of Gondor Andrew Bogut.  If the Bobcats hope to sniff the Postseason again this year, they’ll need to start taking better shots and better care of the ball pronto.
  • Stellar games from the PGs in this one.  D.J. nailed 5 of his 6 threes to go for a total of 26 points with 5 assists and only a single documented turnover.  2nd year phenom Brandon Jennings celebrated his first career triple double, notching 20pts, 10rbs, 10asts.  Augustin’s shot looked as smooth as ever and he did a much better job of fighting through opposing high screens after being demolished by them a night ago.
  • Story of the game was Andrew Bogut.  He’s one of the handful of centers in the League who can influence a game at both ends and I dare say if he had the same crew as Mr. Howard down in O-Town, we might be talking about him as the League’s best.  14pts, 8rbs, 4blks in just 33 minutes of action.  I hope we’ll see Bogut and Superman matched up this spring.  Bobcats had no answer for him tonight as Nazr continued to regress from last year’s “Fluke Rule” season and Gana Diop continued to be Gana Diop.
  • Boris Diaw is officially sloppy fat.  My wife read a book titled, “French Women Don’t Get Fat.”  Apparently French Ballers do.  The weight is starting to effect his play.  He’s having a much harder time getting in defensive position and officially starts getting winded somewhere around “…and the Home of the Brave.
  • Three years in and I’d like to fancy myself a Larry Brown quasi-expert.  And judging from the look on his face and the body language, I think it’s safe to say that he’s not losing any sleep over an 0-3 start.  Let’s face it, his teams start slow every year and then around the late-November/early December mark the organization makes a big trade and they go on a run.  I’m not panicking until at least Thanksgiving.  Meanwhile, the team has some nice depth, a ton of athleticism and at least a handful of real deal NBA players on the roster for the first time in franchise history.

Until Next Time…

Enjoy the Loss Bobcats Fans,

-ASChin

Bobcats Comeback Bid Falls Short In Milwaukee

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Charlotte Bobcats @ Bucks, 2/20/10

A night after a rousing victory over the Cavaliers, the Bobcats fell on the road to the Milwaukee Bucks 93-88 on Saturday.  AP recap here, box score here.  The Cats have fallen back to .500 at 27-27.

Like they frequently do on the road, the Cats came out flat, falling behind by 10 early and 15 by half.  Behind a balanced attack of Brandon Jennings, Andrew Bogut and John Salmons, the Bucks eventually extended their lead to 20 early in the third quarter.  Raymond Felton and DJ Augustin both had trouble keeping the lightning-fast Jennings in front of them, while failing to make Jennings play much defense by shooting a combined 3-16 FG.

Midway through the third quarter the Bobcats began chipping away behind Stephen Jackson, who would finish with a game-high 35 points on 14-25 FG.  Tyrus Thomas was again a force inside, finishing with 11 rebounds and 4 blocks.

The Cats would eventually cut the Bucks lead down to three at 86-83 with 2:20 left on a Jackson layup, but couldn’t get any closer.  After a Carlos Delfino free throw increased the Bucks lead to four, Steven Jackson committed a completely unforced turnover to end the Cats comeback bid.  Jackson simply lost his dribble, giving John Salmons the easiest steal he’s ever had.  Worse yet, Jack grabbed Salmons for a clear path foul, which really ended things.

Bric-A-Brac

  • This was a particularly bad night for the Bobcats not to show up on the road.  The race for the 6-8th playoff spots in the East is between the Bulls, Heat, Bobcats and Bucks.  After the loss, the Bobcats are clinging to the 8th spot, just one game ahead of the Bucks.
  • Additionally, with the loss, the Cats lost the chance to hold the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Bucks.  The Bucks now lead the season series 2-1 with one game (April 4th) to go.
  • Nazr looks really limited by his back.  We really could have used his low-post scoring to weather the cold start.  Maybe he can get his hands on some medicinal marijuana out in LA to loosen it up.
  • Next game is Monday night against the Clippers, 10:30 PM ET start.

-Dr. E

Wallace Leads Bobcats To Another Home Win

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Charlotte Bobcats vs Bucks, 12/28/09

Seriously, I’m Running Out Of Angles Here

The Charlotte Bobcats get another solid win on the home floor Monday night, 94-84 over the struggling Milwaukee Bucks.  AP recap here, box score here.  The Cats are now 11-4 at home; but their dismal 1-13 road record has them at just 12-17 overall.  The Bucks have now lost 14 out of their last 18 to drop to a matching 12-17.

The Cats took control in the second quarter with excellent defense and cruised to a 22 point halftime lead.  Scott Skiles, unhappy with the Bucks’ first half performance, benched starters Andrew Bogut and Michael Redd in the second half.  Redd, in particular, looked awful.  I have to wonder if he’s done.  In looking at his game log, I’m surprised to see he went for 32 points against the Wiz last week — he looks like he’d have trouble mustering double digits.

The Bucks made a bit of a run in the fourth quarter but never seriously threatened.  The Cats outshot and outrebounded the Bucks by just a bit, and kept their turnovers a bit lower than the season average.

The Cats were led by Gerald Wallace, who finished with 21 points (7-13 FG, 7-9 FT), 14 rebounds and 4 assists.  Pretty much your standard Gerald Wallace game.  Raymond Felton continued his solid play with 11 points (4-6 FG, 2-3 3PT), 6 rebounds, 3 assists and no turnovers.  Steven Graham had a nice game off the bench with 11 points in 18 minutes.

Gana Diop deserves special mention.  With Tyson Chandler out, Nazr Mohammed deservedly got the starting nod again.  However, Nazr had to sit early with two fouls and Gana was pressed into early and extensive action.  Gana acquitted himself well with 7 points on 3-4 FG with 3 rebounds and a block in 12 minutes.  He even hit a free throw.  Of course, he airballed another — that’s our Gana!

Tidbits

  • The dichotomy between the Bobcats’ home and road records continues to mystify.  At 11-4, the home record is better than Dallas or Boston’s.  But the 1-13 road record is only bested (worsted?) by the abysmal New Jersey Nets.  The only other team with a similar split is New Orleans: the Hornets are 11-3 at home, 2-12 on the road.
  • Speaking of dichotomies: how is it that Brandon Jennings couldn’t get any playing time last year in Italy, yet he is essentially running a decent NBA team this year?  Even though he’s hit the rookie wall pretty hard and a bit early, dude is still a player.
  • Luke Ridnour and Micheal Cera — separated at birth?
  • Gerald Henderson really should be sent to the D-League to get some regular playing time.  He’s not getting any regular minutes now, and when he does get some garbage time, really seems to be pressing.
  • Next game is Wednesday night in Toronto, 7 PM ET start.  This would seem like a good opportunity for the Cats to get a road win, as the Bobcats manhandled the soft Raptors in their first meeting back in October.  However, that game was in Charlotte, and the Raptors are on a season-best 4 game win streak right now.

-Dr. E

Bucks Take Down Bobcats at Home to Go 7-3

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Bucks Charlotte Bobcats @ Milwaukee 11/20/09

Bucks play another outstanding game tonight as they turn away a directionless Bobcats team 95-88 Friday night at the Huey.  The Bucks are now 7-3 for the season (good for 5th in the conference) and 6-1 at home.  Box score here.  AP recap here.

1. Be Thankful for Brandon Jennings

A Karmic Shift has occurred.  Not sure how it happened but after suffering through years of lackluster effort and constant rebuilding, the Bucks have finally seemed to put it all together.  We here at Bucks Baseline have been through it all, the injuries, ownership hijinks, salary dumps, coaching changes, pissing off the Chinese government, you name it but on June 25th, when the Bucks selected Brandon Jennings with the 10th overall selection, our luck finally changed.

Just six days ago, on November 14th, Jennings officially started “beasting it” (as our friend “eddie” likes to say, lol!) by dropping 55 points on the Golden State Warriors.  Brandon came into tonight’s game with the Bobcats ranked 9th overall in the NBA in scoring and bettered his 24.8ppg average by dropping 29 on the Bobcats (boo-yeah!) on 12-23 shooting from the field.  Jennings looks so smooth and natural out there scoring easy basket after easy basket.  It seems that his quickness, combined with his left-handed shot and total belief in his game just throws opposing defenders off.  No part of Brandon realizes that he shouldn’t be this good this fast!  I think he’s an All-Star this season for sure.  Basically, he’s the complete and total opposite of Charlotte’s PG combo (Raymond Felton/D.J. Augustin) as those two guys look completely mechanical and have no confidence in their jump shots.  I think maybe Larry Brown has been over-coaching them.  Glad I’m not a Bobcats fan!  It would be tough to watch those two guys try to lead a team for 82 games, that’s for sure.  In fact, maybe we should call them “Matthew” and “Fox” because they’re totally LOST (LMAO!).

2. Future’s So Bright We Gotta Wear Shades

Did I mention that the Bucks took out the Bobcats tonight despite playing with three of our starters?  That’s right, Andrew Bogut (16ppg/9rpg), Michael Redd (career 20ppg) and our best defender, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, all sat out with minor injuries.  Can you imagine how easily we would have dismantled this lottery bound Bobcats team if we had our full roster?  What’s best is that during the 3rd quarter (when the Bucks stretched out to a 16 point lead) I had a little time to compare salary cap situations between the two teams.  Did anybody realize that the Bobcats are basically capped out until 2013?  Ha!  Hey MJ, Isiah is on the phone, he wants his cap management strategy back (lol)!   The best part is is that the Bobcats don’t even have any All-Stars or potential All-Stars on that expensive roster.  Stephen Jackson, Boris Diaw and Gerald Wallace are nice veteran complementary players but neither of those guys will ever sniff an All-Star game before 20-year-old Brandon Jennings does.  Oh, and those three Bobcats players are owed a combined $90 million over the next four seasons (YOWSA!) while 25ppg scorer Jennings is only owed $10 million.  Just shows you that the teams that drafts well will always beat the ones who don’t.  And yeah, MJ, at least Isiah knew how to draft (HA!).

Our other young players played very well tonight as well.  Hakim Warrick came off the bench tonight to play 31 minutes in Bogut’s absence and scored 16pts and grabbed 9 boards.  He looked a little bit like a younger, more energetic, $3 million a year Gerald Wallace.  Our 2nd round selection, PG Jodie Meeks played some nice minutes in relief of Ridnour and Jennings by dropping 8pts (7 more points than that combined outputs of Bobcat lottery picks Gerald Henderson and Augustin).

Have to say that the Bucks immediate future (with the return of Redd/Bogut/a Moute) and long-term future (just $19 million in guaranteed salaries as of July 2011) look amazing.  Timbuk3 said it best: The Future’s So Bright (I Gotta Wear Shades).

3. Tale of Two Coaches

Scott Skiles and Bobcats coach Larry Brown share a lot of similarities.  They’re both former PGs who are known for their emphasis on defense.  Both have been accused of over-coaching in the past.  This season, Skiles seems to have turned it around though as the entire Bucks team looks loose and the offense looks as liquid-fluid as we’ve ever seen.  The Bobcats meanwhile look like they are thinking through every possession.  You would have thought that Charlotte would be less mechanical after trading Mr. Roboto himself, Emeka Okafor, during the summer but they look even more unnatural this season without him.  Sucks to be them.

IN CONCLUSION

The Bucks look like a guaranteed Playoff team come this Spring and when Bogut & Redd come back into the lineup to join the League’s newest Superstar Brandon Jennings, LOOK OUT!  Everybody have a great weekend, enjoy the win and be thankful that you aren’t a Charlotte Bobcat fan.

Peace Out.

C.S. Adams

10/20/09 Bobcats vs. Bucks (Preseason)

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Some quick thoughts and links after the Bobcats preseason win over the Bucks, 94-87 at the Cable Box on Tuesday night:

  • AP recap here, box score here, Bonnell’s Observer story here, Observer’s photo gallery here.
  • No Bell (more on that later), no Ajinca.  Chandler was suited up, though.  Cats started Ray, DJ, Crash, Diaw and Chandler.
  • Chandler only played 16 minutes and didn’t contribute much on the stat sheet, but looked fine.  Great energy cheering from the bench, too (for real, not facetious).
  • Box score lists the attendance at 7500 — amazing pie-in-the-sky number.  In reality, there were no more than 2000.  Even that may be generous.  It will be interesting to see the attendance for first Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday night game against a non-marquee Eastern Conference foe during the regular season.
  • Nazr was awesome in the second quarter, going for 12 points with several dunks and some o-rebs.
  • Gerald Henderson was easily the most impressive Bobcat, going for 14 points (on 7-8 shooting) in 14 minutes and a big +17 +/-.  He had a sweet baseline move with a great finish that the Observer photographer captured nicely — check it out in the photo gallery.
  • Bucks thoughts: check out Ridnour’s -24 +/- in 16 minutes — ouch!  I thought Hakim Warrick signed with the Bucks basically because he would be the default starter at PF — but he came off the bench for only 5 mins — just resting, or in Skiles’ doghouse already?  I was actually impressed with Brandon Jennings — that year in Italy may have done him some good after all.  Save one bad turnover in the first half, he played under control and did a seemingly good job running the show for the Bucks starting unit.
  • Referee thoughts: with word leaking to the media that the NBA is on the verge of coming to an agreement with the refs, the replacements are getting their last hurrah.  Aside from a couple of bad calls (Scott Skiles took umbrage a coupe of times, garnering a tech for his troubles at one point) I really couldn’t notice a huge difference with them.  As a matter of fact, it was nice that they were rather anonymous and that the vets/coaches were not palling around with them.
  • Raja Bell’s injury news casts a huge pall over the few positive bits in this preseason win.  After the game, Larry Brown revealed that Raja has a torn ligament in his left (non-shooting) wrist.  There is a chance he could rehab it and play this season, but he may need surgery that would require 2 months of recovery and 2 months of rehab.  That means we’d be without him for the bulk of the season.  Anyone want to bet on the rehab?  Because I’ll double your bet and place it on the surgery.  Raja’s going to a specialist in Chicago for a second opinion; a specialist whose specialty is to do surgery on wrists — what do you think his second opinion is going to be?  Good news if you’re Gerald Henderson or Flip Murray.  Bad news if you’re hoping for a playoff berth.
  • Speaking of playoff berths, here’s ESPN’s roster of “experts” predicting the season for the Cats.  While I don’t necessarily disagree that the Cats are going to struggle on the fringes of the 8th playoff spot, I just have to point out some of the more ridiculous assertions here: both David Thorpe and John Hollinger make me wonder what video/statistics of Emeka Okafor they have when they assert that losing Okafor hurts the Bobcats offensively.  Jalen Rose wonders if the Cats will re-sign Felton — I assume he means next off-season, which has no bearing on this season whatsoever.  Chad Ford has probably the most accurate take, and Chris Broussard the most biting.

- Dr. E

Charlotte Bobcats NBA Draft Preview: Part 3

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In Part 2, I talked about some strategy that the Bobcats could possibly use in making the 12th pick and made some generalizations about which players may or may not be available at #12.  In Part 3, I’ll go into more detail about the players that are likely to be available to the Bobcats at pick #12.

A quick review: There are eight guys who will definitely be gone: Blake Griffin, Hasheem Thabeet, Ricky Rubio, James Harden, Tyreke Evans, Stephen Curry, Jordan Hill and DeMar DeRozan.

Then there are three guys who will probably be gone: Jrue Holiday, Jonny Flynn and Brandon Jennings.  In this point-guard heavy draft, these guys have been searching for a safety in the mid-to-late lottery.  In Chad Ford’s latest Mock Draft, he has them going in the 8-11 range.  But with the Nets at #11 supposedly in need of a big (and with this draft being described as underwhelming and unpredictable in general) I think there is a small, but not irrelevant, chance that one of these guys could be available to the Bobcats at #12.

Could the Bobcats use a lottery pick on a point guard who didn’t work out for them for a second year in a row?  I suppose anything is possible (especially with Jordan and Brown making the pick) but have to guess that they wouldn’t.  With the Bobcats having been pretty clear that they intend to keep Raymond Felton and DJ Augustin, point guard is a relative strength on our roster.  We have other needs that are more important.

Lets turn our eyes to the players that we’re pretty sure will be available at #12:  Gerald Henderson, Terrence Williams, Earl Clark, Austin Daye, Jeff Teague, DeJuan Blair, Eric Maynor, Tyler Hansbrough, James Johnson, BJ Mullens, Ty Lawson, DaJuan Summers and Sam Young.

To cull the list even more, we’ll strike Young, Summers and Johnson — #12 is just too much of a reach for these guys.  I’ll also strike Teague, Maynor and Lawson because they’re all pure point guards.  Mullens is intriguing, but one 7-foot-plus project on the roster (Ajinca) is enough — off the list.

I’ll strike Hansbrough for a couple of reasons: one, the Bobcats can’t be eager to reinforce the perception that they’re actually the Charlotte Tar Heels; and two, they have to be wary of a white player who was dominant in college, but has questionable athleticism for the NBA (coughAdamMorrisoncough).  James Johnson is out of the discussion; he did work out for the Bobcats, but is an out-of-shape forward tweener who has no buzz going right now.  (Update: as I prepared to post this, just saw Bonnell’s blog post from tonight which informs us that Johnson is coming back for a second look on Wednesday.)

DeJuan Blair is intriguing, as the Bobcats have a need for depth at the power forward position.  However, he’s a relatively unathletic rebounding specialist who relies on a wide frame to grab those rebounds, has played at a heavy weight, and has known knee issues.  Sounds a little too close to Sean May for me.

Austin Daye is an interesting talent; everyone compares him to Tayshaun Prince and the feeling is that he’ll be picked somewhere in the middle of the first round.  But he’s extremely weak and a little raw for the NBA.  In a few years he might make a good hybrid forward, but the Bobcats need help now at other positions — off the list.

Earl Clark is the first guy on the list that I think the Bobcats could potentially pick at #12.  He’s a long, athletic forward who’s similar to, but more ready to contribute than, Austin Daye.  Clark is most often compared to Lamar Odom, as opposed to Tayshaun Prince, to give you an idea of the slight difference between Daye and Clark.  Clark is just the kind of player whom Brown likes, and would only be a minor reach at #12.

Now we get to the two guys who are obviously at the top of the Bobcats draft board: Gerald Henderson and Terrence Williams.  The Bobcats invited these two back for a second look on Monday with Micheal Jordan in the house to observe.  Here’s the breakdown for these two.

Gerald Henderson played three years at shooting guard for Duke.  He goes 6’5″ and 215 pounds.  He increased his scoring average from 6.8 to 12.7 to 16.5 ppg over his three years at Duke.  He is considered a pure shooting guard, with tremendous athleticism and an improving outside stroke.  He plays great defense, and seems ready to contribute right off the bat.  Here’s video of Henderson after the workout, with some comments from Larry Brown towards the end.

Terrence Williams played four years at shooting guard at Louisville.  He goes 6’6″ and 215 pounds.  He averaged 8 points as a freshman, then 12, 11 and 12 his last three years of college.  That stagnation is probably the biggest concern on Williams’ resume (the other is his, ahem, eccentricity).  While he’s clearly a shooting guard, he’s considered more versatile than Henderson.  Williams has better ballhandling ability, is a better passer and can probably play a little small forward in a small lineup.  Similar to Henderson, he’s considered a great defender and will likely be ready to contribute in his first year.  Here’s video of Williams from the workout.

Here’s a great breakdown by DraftExpress.com on the shooting guards in this draft, with a bunch of great info and statistical analysis that helps to differentiate between Henderson and Williams.  Rumor has it that Williams really impressed Larry Brown at the workout, met with team officials afterwards, then pulled out of a Tuesday workout in New Jersey with Henderson, Hansbrough, etc.

So as I wrap this up on Tuesday night, all signs are pointing to Terrence Williams as being the guy as long as the Bobcats don’t trade the pick.  Seems like Williams would be OK with it.  Hell, judging by the interest he had in Jordan’s gear at Monday’s workout, he may even pay Michael to wear Jordans.

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-E