Flat Cats Suffer Embarrassing Loss To Nets

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Chuck Burton/AP Photo

The Charlotte Bobcats were outplayed by a dreadful New Jersey Nets team in a 94-89 loss at the Cable Box on Friday night.  Brook Lopez led the Nets with 31 points and 11 rebounds.  The Bobcats were led by Stephen Jackson with 21 points and Gerald Wallace with 20 points/9 rebounds.

AP Recap |  Box Score

The Nets snapped a 12 game road losing streak by leading wire to wire over the listless Bobcats, who appeared to be waiting around for a spark that never really came.

The Nets lead by as much as 18 in the third quarter before a half-hearted fourth quarter comeback by the Bobcats cut the lead down to four with just over three minutes left.  But Devin Harris scored 5 points and assisted on another bucket over the next 90 seconds for a quick 7-0 Nets run that put the game away.

Notes

  • This had to be the worst performance by the Bobcats since Paul Silas took over, right?  Despite being at home in front of a decent crowd on a Friday night, after a day off, and fighting for a playoff spot, the Cats had very little energy.
  • What’s up with DJ Augustin?  Another quiet night (4 points on 2-10 FG) and he’s now shooting 31% FG and 28% 3PT for the month of February, while averaging just 3.8 assists.  To compare, those numbers on the season are 43%, 38%, and 6.2, respectively.
  • I’m going to put a lot of the blame for this one on Cardboard Gerald.  Cardboard’s been riding Brook Lopez pretty hard on Twitter recently for his historically weak rebounding this season.  So what does Lopez do?  Grabs 11 rebounds (averaging 5.6 for the season) and dominates inside for 31 points.
  • While the Bobcats were stinking up the Cable Box, the Pacers were busy getting another win (116-105 over the T-Wolves), thus increasing their lead over the Bobcats for the 8th playoff spot to a full two games.
  • And the upcoming schedule is not exactly conducive to making up that gap.  The Cats are at Atlanta tomorrow night (7 PM start), home against the Lakers on Monday, then at Chicago on Tuesday leading into the All-Star break.  Ouch.
  • So hopefully I’m just being cranky and pessimistic and premature, but I’m feeling like we’ll point back to these last two losses as the beginning of the end for the Bobcats this season.  After the All-Star break, the Bobcats will have three more games until the trade deadline — so just six more games in all to decide whether to go all-in and try to make the playoffs again or to entertain trade offers for our veterans who could help a playoff team.  As the losses mount up, the choice becomes clearer and clearer.

-Dr. E

Be sure to follow Dr. E, ASChin and Cardboard Gerald on Twitter

Cats Man Up for Ugly, Veteran Win in Jersey

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Bobcats win their first game of the season Wednesday night in New Jersey 85-83.  Cats improve to 1-3, Nets drop to 2-2.

AP Recap | Box Score

OBSERVATIONS:

  • Boris Diaw puts the knife and fork down long enough to play his first meaningful game of the season, dropping 24 points on 10-18 shooting, including a major momentum changing three pointer late.  Nice to see Boris focused and motivated.  Look forward to seeing it again in a few weeks.
  • Bobcats come back from 10 down with a little more than 6 minutes to go in this one, looking like a true veteran squad in the process.  They didn’t lose their focus and concentrated on finding good shots and getting to the line (23 to 15 advantage from the stripe) in order to negate the clock.  Nazr Mohammed, who picked up 3 fouls in the game’s first four minutes and looked atrocious in the first half, contributed six points late and played Brook Lopez as well as he ever has.
  • TURNOVER BONANZA! As is their stock in trade, Charlotte continues to both turn the ball over and force ‘em from the other end.  16 a piece in this game for a whopping total of 32.  Ugh.  When the Bobcats come to town, hide the women and children.
  • Both Geralds were beat up in this game. Wallace was lost for most of the third quarter with an ankle injury but returned in the fourth.  Henderson took a one two punch from Anthony Morrow in the third, sending him to the bench for good with a busted nose.
  • Crash’s ability to get to the line and convert is invaluable. Wallace earned eight freebies and made them all, going for 20 points, 11 boards in just 35 minutes. Bobcats had the best player on the court tonight and won for it.

  • DJ wasn’t terrible (5pts/7asts/0TOs) but he’ll never be Brook Lopez.  I wonder what goes through Larry Brown’s mind when he faces off against the multi-dimensional big man four times a year, knowing that he passed on the elite center out of Stanford three drafts ago.  Brook dropped 17 points on the Bobcats and sent back 5 shots on the other end.  As well as Nazr closed the half and as well as Gana Diop defended in relief, Charlotte continues to get dismantled by opposing centers.
  • Derrick Favors = Beast*.  Once he figures out how to play the NBA game, he’s gonna be something special, he’s just a physical specimen at the four spot.  I can see how NJ has been reticent to include him in any Carmelo trade.  Favors has to the potential to be very good.
    *©2008-reggie-productions. all rights reserved.
  • For all the Devin Harris trade hype (I’d gladly welcome him to CLT if a deal transpires), watching him it makes sense why Jersey would consider trading him.  There’s something about Harris’s body language and his relationship to his teammates on the court that makes me think he’s not a natural born leader.  Thoughts?
  • Sherron Collins Sighting! I tweeted that he looks like a gene splice lab creation of Raymond Felton and DJ Augustin, @bobcatsbaseline followers were quick to add Boris Diaw and/or Sean May’s Pillsbury DNA to that mix.  Indeed.

Until Next Time, Enjoy the Win Bobcats Fans…

-ASChin

Henderson Dazzles as Bobcats Close Up Shop in NJ

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Charlotte Bobcats @ New Jersey 4/12/10

As Fake Sinatra said to Steve & Edie: “Listen, it’s up to you.  You can either open for me at the Meadowlands or headline at the Tick-Tock Inn!

The Meadowlands (recently renamed The Izod Center) closed up shop after nearly 30 years Monday night with the Charlotte Bobcats taking care of business against the cellar dweller Nets 105-95.  With Miami winning on the same evening, the ‘Cats are now locked into the East’s 7th seed and will take on the Magic in Orlando on Saturday after wrapping up the regular season against Chicago on Wednesday.

AP recap here | Box score here

Welcome to the NBA, Gerald Henderson

The Bobcats get an amazing 50 points from the bench in this one as Gerald “The Sequel” Henderson led the way with 14 on 6-9 shooting in just 21 minutes of action.  This wasn’t garbage time folks (well, unless you consider any minute played against the Nets “garbage time”).  Henderson filled in nicely for Crash by throwing down a couple of monster dunks, connecting on an acrobatic, double-pump reverse layup, rejecting a Brook Lopez shot and grabbing seven boards.  Nothing against Terrence Williams, who was taken one spot ahead of Henderson and who had an excellent game himself (21 points, 13 boards and 6 assists in 41 minutes) but for the first time all season it seemed as if Henderson belonged in the League.  He looked confident and asserted himself at both ends of the court.  This looks promising.

The rest of bench brought their A-game as well.  DJ shot the ball well again (5-7) and dropped a beautiful 18 footer over Lopez’s outstretched as if to say “I know you should have been the pick but not on this play!”  Stephen Graham had his bi-monthly Stephen Graham baseline drive and dunk, Tyrus Thomas shot the ball poorly (he did have a semi-cast on his thumb) but played hard and got to the line (5 attempts) in 20 minutes of action.

Center Rotation

Theo Ratliff got the start tonight and really affected the game on the defensive end early.  Dude blocked two shots in two minutes (after the Nets TV team referred to him as a previously effective defensive player) and pulled down three boards.  The problem with too much Theo Ratliff is when he starts affecting the game from an offensive standpoint.  Theo was credited with only one Turnover but I counted three.  If Gana Diop and Emeka Okafor started a “Big Man Hands Camp,” Theo Ratliff would be their first product.

Nazr Mohammed got a little burn afterwards and looked slow defensively and out of synch offensively.  We might not be seeing the Nazr from earlier in the season again, folks.  At least not until next year.  Fortunately Tyson Chandler has looked very solid in the last few weeks and it looked like Larry Brown was saving Chandler’s legs for the first round matchup with Superman.

Bullets

  • Brook Lopez is just plain awesome.  Why the Bobcats passed on him for Augustin I’ll never know.  My only guess is that the organization didn’t realize how well he ran the floor as a college prospect.  Lopez is the anti-Rasheed.  At 7’0″, he’s running baseline to baseline on very play.  Lopez ran the break on one possession in the third quarter as he tossed a beautiful transition alley oop pass to T-Will for the jam.  Lopez has the body type to be doing this for a while too; he’s built kind of like a David Robinson or a taller Hakeem.  Bobcats will be paying for the 2008 NBA draft for a long time.
  • The Nets broadcast network ran several “Key Moments in Nets History” packages in tribute to the Meadowlands final game.  Seeing Jason Kidd tear it up with Kittles, Van Horn and KMart against Reggie and the Pacers made me realize how long Kidd has been in the League.  Drafted in ’94, Kidd has played against the likes of Charles Barkley, John Stockton, Michael Jordan, Skinny Shaq, Fat Shaq, Amare Stoudamire, Lebron James and Tyreke Evans.
  • Game’s Biggest Surprise: Yi Jianlian isn’t terrible.  He’s not great, don’t get me wrong but offensively he definitely belongs in the League as a seventh or eighth man off of the bench.  He’s got a nice jumper from 20′ feet plus and the size (7’0″)  to pull down boards over smaller forwards.  Not bad for 35 year ol-, pardon me, 22 year old prospect.

Until next time, Enjoy the Win Bobcats Fans…

-ASChin

Joe Johnson Sends Bobcats Home at the Buzzer

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Charlotte Bobcats@Hawks 3/19/10


Wow.  Exciting finish to an otherwise pedestrian game as Raymond Felton and Joe Johnson exchange clutch shots in the final 3.8 seconds of overtime.  Final score: Hawks 93, ‘Cats 92.

AP recap here | Box score here

The Bobcats Should Have Won This Game

You can’t really blame Joe Johnson for the loss.  Up by ten points midway through the 4th quarter, the Bobcats had numerous opportunities to put the game away.  Turnovers (15) and poor bench play (outscored 28-15) hurt throughout but look at the final three plays of regulation to see where the game was really lost:

Up by four with a little more than 2:00 on the clock, the Bobcats proceed to:

  • Possession One: Raymond Felton forced drive and miss at the end of the shot clock on a busted play that was supposed to go to either Stephen Jackson or Boris Diaw.
  • Possession Two: Stephen Jackson two missed free throws.
  • Possession Three: Boris Diaw passes up a two-footer in the lane for a Theo Ratliff missed ten footer.

Regulation over, Hawks tie it up to send it to OT.

Meanwhile in OT the Bobcats are KILLED by JAX’s four consecutive missed 3-pointers.  While it’s understood that Jackson is the team’s first scoring option, I’m very curious as to how his teammates are going to react to his decision making tonight.  JAX wasn’t feeling it from downtown all evening and ended up going 1-7 from behind the arc.

Joe Johnson finally got hot in the 4th quarter and OT after struggling for most of the game and then emphatically sealed the win at the buzzer with a contested jumper over Raymond Felton.

Bullets

  • Not only did Raymond have a great game with 25 points (on 11-19 shooting) in 46 minutes but he had the two clutch baskets in OT that might have won the game if not for Johnson’s heroics.  The weird line-drive floater in the lane with 3.8 to go in OT was surpassed only by his “Rumblin, Fumblin, Stumblin” fast break layup in traffic a minute earlier.  One could only hope they Ray will learn to time his game winners a little closer to the buzzer from this point on.
  • As mentioned above, the Bobcats bench was outclassed – that was the difference that kept ATL in the game during a first half when their starters were struggling.  Jamal Crawford continues to torment the Bobcats (16 points) no matter what jersey he happens to be wearing.
  • Raymond’s backup, D.J. Augustin, served up another DPBCI (Did Play But Completely Ineffective).  Seven minutes, 0-2 from the field, 2 assists, 2 fouls, 1 turnover.  So glad that we don’t have Brook Lopez lumbering down the lane.
  • Gerald Wallace with a big first game back from the ankle injury.  Crash was mostly MIA in the first half but dropped 18 points after the break to finish with 20 points, 16 boards, and a BIG block in transition that helped swing the momentum in the Bobcats direction during their 25-18 third quarter run.
  • Theo Ratliff had a terrible game offensively (1-9 from the floor) but you really have to spread the blame around to his teammates (especially Boris Diaw) for feeding him shots late in the shot clock that he had no business taking.
  • Some good news may be on the horizon.  The two main areas where the Bobcats were deficient against the Hawks (offensive production at Center, bench scoring) will certainly be improved once Nazr Mohammed and Larry Hughes return from injury.  Hughes should be ready by early next week while Mohammed is still day to day.

Until Next Time, Enjoy the Loss Bobcats Fans…

-ASChin

Concern Grows As Bobcats Lose To Nets

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Charlotte Bobcats vs Nets 2/16/10

Trying Not To Panic, Here

The Charlotte Bobcats appeared to still be on All-Star break as they lost 103-94 to the New Jersey Nets on Tuesday night at the Cable Box.  AP recap here, box score here.

I’m just going to cut right to the chase: this was a terrible loss and I’m concerned.  Here’s all you need to know: coming into the game, the Nets were 4-48, with only one road win.  They are the worst-shooting and lowest-scoring team in the league.  But in defeating the Bobcats for the second time this year, the Nets never trailed.

In the early going, Raymond Felton and Nazr Mohammed had no answer for Devin Harris and Brook Lopez, respectively. Courtney Lee got into the act as well; he ended up leading the Nets with 21 points.  The Nets ended up shooting 52% on the night.

Meanwhile, the Bobcats couldn’t get anything going.  Everyone gets an “F” tonight.  Poor effort, poor execution, didn’t play any defense, got outrebounded, missed open shots, etc.

This now means that the Cats have lost 4 out of their last 6 dating back to the Portland loss on February 1st.  And let’s remember that those two wins are nothing to be too proud of (2 point win over Washington, lucky 1 point win over Minnesota).

Suddenly the Cats look like they are in serious need of a shot in the arm.  I had been hoping that the return of Tyson Chandler could provide that, but it hasn’t happened.  If anything, he looks as bad as ever, with four turnovers and 3 fouls in 18 minutes off the bench tonight.

Boris continues to look lame and uninspired, DJ’s playing with no confidence, Flip hasn’t been reliable, opponents seem to have figured out how to slow Jackson down, and Gerald looks tired.  It’s not good, folks.

I understand that a trade is unlikely with the impending sale of the team, but if the last 6 games are any indication, the Cats need to shake things up a little.

Next game is a tough one; hosting the Cavs at the Cable Box on Friday night at 7PM ET.

-Dr. E

Blazers Use Depth to Hammer Bobcats 7-Man Rotation

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Bobcats Baseline Observations: Charlotte @ Portland 2/1/10

No running diary tonight as I’m furiously preparing and packing for a trip to Western Australia (or “WA” as the locals call it).

Bobcats end a three game road winning streak against the Blazers at the Rose Garden 98-79.  AP recap here.  Box score here.

Simple Arithmetic

When you commit 21 turnovers on the road while launching a barrage of errant three pointers (6-23 for 26%) and allow your opponent to drop 53% shooting on you WITHOUT their best player AND their two centers, you are going to lose.  Bad.

The Bobcats (mostly) seven man rotation looked tired against a deep Portland team, settling for long jump shots and lazy passes.  Boris Diaw was a major culprit in the TO department, logging 5 while maintaining his “Laissez Faire” status.  Stephen Jackson and Flip Murray shot a combined 4-13 from behind the arc.  Ouch.

While it’s amazing that Portland can still trot out 9 quality players while missing three of their top 8 talents to injury (Brandon Roy, Greg Oden, Joel Pryzbilla), it’s perhaps more astonishing that Larry Brown insists on going with an EXTRA-abbreviated bench five games into a six game West Coast road trip.  The ‘Cats looked tired and uninterested for most of the game outside of a nice 10-0 rally late in the third.  Let’s hope that they were just saving their legs for another Lakers upset Wednesday night in LA.

Bullets

  • For those of you hoping for a D.J. Augustin Renaissance, don’t hold your breath.  D.J. continues to turn the tables on an excellent rookie campaign.  17 minutes, 0-5 (0-4 from three), 2 assists, 1 turnover, -9 plus/minus.  I hope his Junior Rebound is as dramatic as his Sophomore Slump.
  • The Portland crowd is one of the top 3 in the League without a doubt.  It sounded like a Playoff game in there tonight.  Can’t help but believe the Bobcats players felt a little jealous hearing and seeing this.  C’mon Charlotte!  Let’s re-create the Hive!
  • The Blazers Nic Batum and Martell Webster, two players who have been mentioned in Bobcats trade rumors for years, played great tonight, torching the ‘Cats D from the outside for a combined 25 points.  The ‘Cats have never had one of those long, silky smooth jump shooters.  Wonder how long that will last?  Rod Higgidy-Higgins?  Anybody?
  • Not to keep ripping on D.J. but aside from Brook Lopez (I won’t go there again), we can now easily make the case that the team should have drafted Jerryd Bayless instead.  Bayless seems to be everything that Augustin isn’t: explosive scoring mini-2-guard who can drive and shoot.  At 6’3″, 200 Bayless is bigger than Augustin and much less of a defensive liability.  Seriously, Michael Jordan should bring in a specialist DRAFT DAY GM.  Isiah Thomas is out there somewhere in rehab.  Let’s do this!

Until next time…Enjoy the Loss Bobcats Fans…

-ASChin

2008 Draft Haunts Bobcats in Loss to Nets

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Lopez Dominates, Augustin Sits in New Jersey’s First Win of the Season.

The Bobcats have done a great job of illustrating the many different varieties of “EMBARRASSING” thus far during the ’09-’10 NBA season.  There have been road blowouts, home blowouts, needing three overtimes at home to beat the Knicks but tonight’s apathetic approach towards the winless Nets might be the most painful.  Just seventeen months ago, Bobcats management made the questionable decision to draft D.J. Augustin over Brook Lopez and this game demonstrated that it was the second worst draft day decision in franchise history.

AP recap here | Box score here

1. Fact: Michael Jordan Sucks in the Draft Room

Brook Lopez is a force in the middle for the Nets.  He’s currently averaging 18pts and 9rb and a little over 2 blocks a contest.  He has the best low post game of any center in the Eastern Conference and if weren’t for the fact that his team stinks, he’d be a sure-fire All-Star in just his second season.  Tonight Lopez exploded for 31 points and 14 rebounds and thoroughly dominated Tyson Chandler on the block.

Also in this game D.J. Augustin received his first ever DNP CD (Did Not Play Coach’s Decision).

Augustin has struggled all season and after showing flashes of brilliance during his rookie year, has never looked the same since coming back from an abdominal injury last Spring.  D.J.’s miserable 5ppg / 2apg averages are only surpassed by his 35% shooting from the field.  His current PER is just 7.  Lopez currently rocks a steady 19.

Why the Bobcats selected Augustin ahead of Lopez, I’ll never understand.  You can’t teach size.  We all know that.  And given Jordan’s pathetic draft record, why not go for the safe bet in Lopez?  Selecting D.J. over Brook and Adam Morrison over Brandon Roy (as well as the Kwame disaster in D.C.) are marks of either a gambler or a moron and I am very afraid that this franchise is being run by some horrible combination of the two.

Remember: If the Bobcats select Lopez, not only do they have their shot-blocking, rebounding, intelligent, low-post presence for the next decade plus, they also don’t have to move Emeka Okafor for an overpaid Tyson Chandler and could instead experiment with them together in the frontcourt or find a solid PG in exchange via trade.  Ugh.

2. Boris Diaw: “Rebounding is so bourgeois.”

Is Diaw passive-aggressively demanding a trade?  He knows what Larry Brown expects of him and injury or no, Boris needs to at least provide the consistent effort that he’s capable of or Brown will ship him out for someone who can.

Both Golden State and New York would love to have him and I’m sure the Suns wouldn’t turn him down.  There’s been some chatter of a Jared Jeffries/David Lee deal out there and I could definitely see the Bobcats jumping on that one provided they get a feel for Lee’s intentions going into a contract year this summer.  A Brandon Wright/Ronny Turiaf package from the Warriors might be enticing as well and Bobcats GM Rod Higgins seems to be running both front offices anyway so that might work.

Either way, when the team’s SF is outrebounding you 20-3 and you are averaging under 5 boards a game as an NBA starting PF, it doesn’t matter how good of a passer you are.  I’m a big fan of Motivated Boris but Lazy Boris?  He’s gotta go.

3. Silver Linings

Raymond Felton played a superb game going for 28 points on 11-14 shooting.  He only turned the ball over twice in just under 40 minutes and went on a personal 9 point run for the team when nobody else could score in the 4th quarter.  Again, Felton is not an elite PG but he’s starting to find his niche as a Derek Fisher-type who takes care of the ball and makes open shots.  Great effort by Raymond.

I mentioned it earlier but Gerald Wallace had 20 rebounds tonight.  Crash has never averaged more than 7.8rpg for his career and is suddenly pushing 12.  Simply outstanding.  Another incredible effort from The Original.

Stephen Jackson is doing exactly as advertised: 28 points tonight on a high volume 10-23 shooting over 43 minutes.  JAX makes baskets, plays good D and logs a ton of minutes.  Say what you want about Jordan’s drafts picks (THEY ARE WORSE THAN TERRIBLE) but his trading skills aren’t so bad.

IN CONCLUSION:

The sad irony in Larry Brown shortening his bench to just 8 players this evening is that he DNP’d all of his youngsters.  Neither Derrick Brown, Augustin or Gerald Henderson sniffed any PT.  This is especially disconcerting since the top six players tonight for the Nets were under the age of 26 and are paid a combined $16 million dollars.  The Nets top two players this evening (Brook Lopez and Courtney Lee, who exploded for 27 points and basically sealed the win with a steal late in the 4th) are on rookie contracts.  Chris Douglas Roberts and Josh Boone are late round draft picks.  Terrence Williams is this year’s lottery pick.  The Nets may be bad now but their future looks a heck of a lot brighter than the team they beat tonight.

Enjoy the Loss Bobcats Fans

-ASChin