Bobcats Beat Warriors At Their Own Game

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Bobcats Charlotte Bobcats @ Warriors 1/29/10


Staying with the “Running Diary” theme recaps…

FIRST HALF

Lots of talk from the Warriors broadcast team about Stephen Jackson coming back to Oaktown.  Boos aplenty.  Wow!  The Bobcats have their very first heel!

Great moment midway through the first quarter which illustrates Larry Brown’s impatience with Rookies.  Derrick Brown checks in to give Diaw a breather and proceeds to fall asleep in transition defense.  LB yanks him after thirty seconds and inserts Stephen Graham for the rest of the quarter.  Talk about a short fuse.

Ronny Turiaf checks in later in the quarter and starts making plays immediately.  I wrote in my Power Forward Trade Column recently that Turiaf would be a great fit as a backup four in Charlotte and he’s proving me right again this evening with lots of energy on the offensive glass, a few nice put-backs and one crazy steal and almost finish on the fast break.  If the ‘Cats could get him for Henderson and Law straight up I say make the deal immediately.

Just caught the box score for the Philly/Lakers game.  Anybody realize that both Primoz Brezec AND Jason Kapono play for the Sixers?  Me neither, maybe because they both logged DNP-CDs tonight.  Somewhere Bernie Bickerstaff is crying.

My first look at Steph Curry as a pro.  I wasn’t sure how he was going to turn out but thus far I’m impressed.  He has some pass-first PG acumen; is an As-Advertised great long range shooter and is a little bigger than you’d think.  Will probably play just as long as his pops (16+ seasons) in the League and be at worst a Steve Kerr role player on a contender.

Starting the 2nd quarter now and we have a SPECIAL GUEST ANNOUNCER joining the Warriors’ broadcast crew.  “Oh my gawd King, it’s that sadistic bastard Paul Heyman!”  No, it’s Dell Curry!  DC4THREEE! chats about Steph’s success, the JAX trade, Monta Ellis’ dependence on his right hand, Steph’s mouthpiece fetish (possibly inherited from watching so many Crash games in CLT), the light, skin-tight kevlar body armor that so many players are wearing these days (including Gerald Wallace), etc, etc.
I’m actually starting to think that Dell could be a great ambassador nation-wide for Charlotte Pro Basketball.  Sort of an Obama/Brad Daugherty gene splice.  He’s no Mike Gminski yet but a strong upgrade from Adrian Branch/Henry Williams.

Who is that tall, bearded guy on the Bobcats bench wearing a suit?  Did Sean May lose a bunch of weight and go all Joakim Phoenix on us?  Oh, that’s the guy we traded our franchise center for, Tyson Chandler.  Tyson Chandler everybody!  Woo-hoo!!!  Sixteen games and counting!

Starters (especially JAX and CRASH) playing a ton of minutes in the first half.  D.J. comes in to to give Raymond a blow.  Augustin nails two straight threes and looks confident.  Then he loses that turnover to Run Ronny Turiaf who embarrasses him with the aforementioned steal and almost finish.  Still, D.J. with a respectable eleven points in the first half.

Bobcats up 65-59 at the break.

SECOND HALF

JAX and CRASH haven’t come out of the game yet and Boris has only been out a minute.  The announcers for GS are talking like this is a good thing.  I’m a little worried about all of this wear and tear.

RADMAN in the house!  Not sure if it’s a Bay Area inspired thing but Vlad has suddenly started looking like the lead singer from Loverboy.
Also, Warriors fans must be in secret agony every time they see Vlad get toasted by JAX.  Golden State really didn’t get enough for him in that trade.  Kind of like when the Bobcats play the Hornets and Emeka Okafor drops a double-double on Tyson Chandler’s replacement.

I’m a Boris Bee-Liever but Diaw has been hit or miss all season and I’m starting to think that he’s gonna be the player that the team moves if you believe Bill Simmons’ assertion that the ‘Cats are making another trade before the deadline.  Carlos Boozer for Diaw and change?  A Felton/Jackson/Wallace/Boozer/Chandler lineup is a tough matchup for anyone in East.  I’m warming to the idea.

Back to Raymond for a second, I feel like his beard is under-discussed.  Baron Davis started doing this and his game went to the next level a few years back.  Not to mention Magic in the 80s.  I’m calling on Ray to push it at least as far as QuestLove before the Playoffs.  Felton is playing so well these days (16pts on 6-10, 6asts tonight) that I’m a little worried that the Lakers are gonna sweep him up this offseason to replace Derek Fisher.  They’ve liked him since the ’05 draft and it wouldn’t surprise me to see Ray running the point next year for Kobe and Phil.

Nazr Mohammed has played a total of 17 minutes and Gana Diop’s nearing a DNP-CD himself.  Larry Brown chooses to go small with JAX and CRASH alternating playing the four and Diaw taking Center.  Bobcats up by double digits in the Third.

WOW.  Andris Biedrins with a Turiaf-esque steal of a Felton pass and then a one-on-none fast break JAM.  Let’s talk about Biedrins’ hair for a second.  Is he purposefully trying to invite Dolph Lundgren comparisons?  He basically looks like any Eastern European tough guy involved in a Russian Arms Deal Gone Bad.  I’m gonna search later for photographs of Andris wearing a grey sportcoat and black undershirt.

Monta Ellis looking every bit as you’d expect.  Scoring at will.  Driving the lane and hitting jumpers from the outside.  Looks like a young Iverson.  Warriors hot all game shooting 56% from the field but can’t secure a rebound while the ‘Cats aren’t doing too bad themselves at 50%.

CARTIER MARTIN SIGHTING!  Yes, Cartier “That’s Really My First Name” Martin just checked into the game and put one up over JAX.  He then gets hyper and starts launching threes – all errant.  Thanks for the memories, Cartier.

Fourth Quarter and the Bobcats look like the better team.  They blow the game open and build a 20 point lead with just a little over six minutes left and are killing the W’s this half with a 20-9 rebounding advantage (CRASH lead the way with 13 to go along with an impossibly quiet 30pts).

JAX with a killer 3 (bringing his scoring total to 30), D.J. with another killer three and for some reason Larry Brown decides to leave his starters in with 6:30 to go with the ‘Cats well ahead and the Warriors trotting out Cartier and Anthony Tolliver (GS’s answer to Stephen Graham).

Warriors make a mini-rally but come up short and LB empties the bench with 2:20 to go in the game.  Gerald “The Sequel” Henderson comes in and looks as though he’s never even seen a basketball before, missing free throws, slipping on the floor, throwing the ball away.  Doesn’t matter.  Bobcats in control and take this game 121-110 to go 23-22 on the year while improving to 5-17 on the road.

AP recap here.  Box score here.

Enjoy the win Bobcats fans…

-ASChin

Why Is Everyone Hating on the Bobcats?

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stop hatin'

From the national media to the local press and back, it seems that everyone’s expectations are pathetically low for the Charlotte Bobcats as they enter the ’09-’10 NBA season.

[see also: ESPN The Magazine Eastern Conference Predictions | The Sporting News Season Preview| TSN's Shoals on the Bobcats "Mess"]

Am I missing something here?  Was there a secret meeting held somewhere deciding that all b-ball pundits reverse jinx the deepest, most talented squad in the Bobcats’ brief history?

Allow me a few points as to why the Bobcats are going to “BEAST IT” this year:

1. The team goes 2 deep at every position.

Gone are the days of depending on Jeff McInnis, Bernard Robinson, Adam Morrison and Melvin Ely to fill minutes.  As John Hollinger likes to point out in his team assessment, the Bobcats have historically relied upon a disproportionate number of “sub-replacement level” players to contribute.  By having players like McInnis, Morrison, Cartier Martin, and “Fat” Sean May sucking it up on the court, the ‘Cats have put themselves either in deeper holes or lost leads when they could have been staying in games.  That changes this year.

Even with Raja Bell out indefinitely with a gimp wrist, the ‘Cats can still go two deep at SG with Gerald Henderson and 6’4″ Flip Murray.  Henderson had a nice rookie preseason and Flip garnered some Sixth Man Award attention last year while playing with the Hawks.  Hardly Kareem Rush-caliber options in my opinion. Things get even better when Raja comes back into the mix.

At the Point, the Bobcats are set.  Raymond Felton, while not the world’s greatest PG, is a starter in the NBA and by all accounts a great leader.  His backup, D.J. Augustin, is probably going to take over the starting gig by midseason and looks like he could turn out to be a sort of a “Damon Stoudamire: EVOLUTION” when all is said and done.

The team’s best players start at the forward spots. Boris Diaw and Gerald Wallace is the best forward combo the team has ever trotted out and you’d have to go back to the Anthony Mason/Glenn Rice combo in the late ’90s to find a more versatile, skilled frontcourt in Charlotte NBA history.  Unlike last season, when the ‘Cats had to basically add 10 points to the opponents’ score whenever the two starters went out, this season the team has real quality on the bench with veterans Vlad Radmanovic and Stephen Graham and youngsters Derrick Brown and Alexis Ajinca.  Last season ‘Lex was one of those sub-replacement guys.  This season?  If he keeps up what he started in the preseason, he might be a real contributor off the pine.  The rookie Brown also showed consistency and poise during the exhibitions season.  Either way, expect the Bobcats to go a reliable four deep at the forward position.

With all of the talk of salary dumps and downgrades at the Center spot, the ‘Cats still find themselves 3 deep in the middle.  While Nazr Mohammed and Gana Diop aren’t players that you want starting for a playoff team, as 15 minute role players they are huge upgrades over the Primoz Brezecs, Jamaal Sampsons and Andre Brown’s of the world.  Nazr has looked good in the preseason and I find it hard to believe that Diop won’t eventually play his way into shape come December.  Meanwhile, Tyson Chandler is healthy and should make up for some of Okafor’s lost offensive production with his extroverted exuberance and energy.

2. Larry Brown has history.  Don’t screw with history.

Brown has coached 11 NBA team during his career.  NEVER has one of those teams failed to make the Playoffs two years in a row.  I don’t think that this can be stated enough.  There is magic here. Maybe if that coaching factoid was something like “in 3 coaching jobs in the NBA, coach Jeff Van Gundy has never…” but no, we’re talking about ELEVEN.  Whatever Brown is doing it’s not accidental.  He’ll find a way to make this happen.  Watch and Learn.

3. The Sun Shines on a Dog’s Posterior Every Once and a While

It’s been five years.  The team has made so many poor business and personnel decisions and had so many bad breaks over the past half decade that their luck is bound to change, right?
This season, that luck will probably be reflected most in their draft selections.  Between 2005 and 2007, the team had 5 first round draft picks (#5, #13, #3, #8, #22) that, as of October of 2009, has resulted in the following players: Boris Diaw, Raja Bell, Raymond Felton and Vlad Radmanovic.

Alright, I apologize.  I realize that after reading that last fact, you’re probably contemplating a cyanide tablet. But here’s the brightside: The last four draft picks look like keepers.  Augustin, Henderson and Brown look like at minimum second contract guys and Ajinca could either be a stud or a bust, we’re not quite sure.  This is an upgrade from last season, of course, when we were sure – that he sucked.

IN CONCLUSION:

I challenge the fans, the bloggers and the local media to expect more from this team going into next week’s Season Opener.  This is the best team that the organization has ever assembled with the best coach and the best talent.  Expect them to be good.  Very good.

-ASChin

That’s a Wrap

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The 2008-2009 season comes to a close

The NBA regular season is over, and once again the Charlotte Bobcats have clinched the fourth seed of the Southeast Division. The season’s 35-47 record helps to validate the careers of local sportswriters and Bob Johnson haters, Rick Bonnell and Scott Fowler (Charlotte Observer). Both predicted that the Bobcats had no chance of making it into the postseason this year and repeated that sentiment frequently. The Bobcats did give their supporters a little taste of what it’s like to watch a playoff race late in the season, but then left everyone unsatisfied.

The 2008-2009 season was certainly the best year for the team’s relevance amongst the sports world. Making headlines with personnel moves and upset wins helped the Cats appear newsworthy for the first time in franchise history. While Bobcats Baseline will surely provide deeper analysis and review of the past season, here’s a quick list of some of the important and encouraging events of this season.

• Sam Vincent Fired As Head Coach
• Larry Brown Selected As New Head Coach
• DJ Augustin Drafted (Alexis Ajinca also selected late in the first round)
• Training Camp Observed By NC Basketball Royalty (Dean Smith and Michael Jordan)
• Bobcats Trade Jason Richardson and Jared Dudley for Boris Diaw, Raja Bell, and Sean Singletary
• Juwan Howard Signed For the Season
• Cats Trade Matt Carroll for Desagana Diop
• Bobcats Defeat the Lakers in LA. . . G. Wallace Suffers Rib & Lung Injuries
• Charlotte Retains Raymond Felton Despite Trade Talks
• Bobcats Trade Adam Morrison & Shannon Brown for Vladimir Radmanovich
• Cartier Martin Signed (from D League)
• Amidst Playoff Chase, Bobcats Defeat Lakers in Charlotte
• Franchise High 35 Wins – Final Home Game (76ers)

Mathematical Elimination Approaches

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EASTERN CONFERENCE WON’T LET BOBCATS INTO THEIR “TOP EIGHT”

On Thursday night, the Chicago Bulls beat the Philadelphia 76ers to pull into the 7th spot in the Eastern Conference.  Detroit is now .5 games behind Chicago, but maintain a solid grasp on the 8th seed with Charlotte 3 games back.  It would be hard to argue that Charlotte has a better team than Detroit, so in all fairness the Pistons should land that final Playoff slot.  Still, if things get ugly for Rasheed and the crew – the Bobcats could slip past them with four consecutive wins to close out the season.  Tonight, the Cats visit OKC aim to score a win against the Thunder before heading on to Chicago after the game.  The Chicago match-up doesn’t mean much as they’ve now widened the gap too far for the Cats to catch them. Nevertheless, Charlotte needs a win.  The final two games are on the road at New Jersey (Monday) and Orlando (Wednesday). Obviously, it’s tough to close the season on the road.  As the composition starts to take shape, it’s clear that the Playoffs aren’t impossible – only highly mathematically improbable.

Note : To those planning to watch the final games on TV, they’ll not be offered in HD. 

 

THE GOOD NEWS:

• Imagine a Cavs–Pistons Playoff Series where Detroit has no option but to pull AI off of the shelf to face Lebron. . .  Serious drama.

• Charlotte will finish with their best record so far – thus, creeping toward relevancy.

• The Bobcats won’t be wearing the green uniforms again this week!

• Raja Bell is getting a longer off-season that usual.

• Alexis Ajinca and Sean Singletary will return to the team this week.  Certainly, they’ve got to be elated that Sioux Falls’ D-League season is finally over.

 

NEXT :

If the Cats lose tonight or Saturday, we’ll see a lot of the bench.  Larry Brown will need to evaluate guys with a few games left to see who gets an invitation (and millions of dollars) to return to training camp next season.  Sean May and Raymond Felton are the more familiar names, but what will happen with Juwan Howard, Sean Singletary, or Cartier Martin?  Howard might be the most obvious player to resign after his solid contributions this season.

Charlotte Bobcats vs. Raptors 3/16/09

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1.  The Bobcats end their three-game skid with a thorough beating of the Toronto Raptors, 112-86, on Monday night at the Cable Box.  AP story here, box score here.  The Cats improve to 29-38 overall, 19-16 at home, and more importantly, stay afloat in the race for the 8th playoff spot in the East.

2.  As the pics above show, the Raptors wore green unis in honor of St. Patty’s Day.  I’d love to relentlessly bag on them, but they actually looked pretty good.

Also, check Voskuhl in the background of the Gerald Wallace alley-oop shot sporting the warmup: a white longsleeve with green “Raptors” and a shamrock.  Red Auerbach is spinning in his grave right now.

3.  Save for a couple of minutes early in the first quarter, the Cats led this one from wire to wire and looked pretty good doing it.  Unlike the first two times these teams matched up back in November, Chris Bosh was held in check tonight.  CB4 only had 18 points (5-12 FG, 8-9 FT), but did dominate the boards with 14.  Overall, the Raptors shot poorly (38%, including 3-16 3PT).  (This morning’s film session must have helped.)

4.  Both Bosh and Calderon picked up technical fouls arguing calls.  Overall, the team looks like they were ready for the season to be over weeks ago.  And, so sad to see The Matrix like this: 12 points on 4-8 FG, 6 rebounds and 3 assists.  If Marion is Dirk Diggler, then this stint with the Raptors is definitely the “The Heat Will Rock You” segment.  Maybe next year will be like the scene where they try to rob/scam Alfred Molina.  Roko Ukic can play the little Asian boy with the firecrackers.

5.  I was honestly stunned to see that Andrea Bargnani had only 11 FGAs when I looked at the box score after the game.  It seemed like he was shooting the ball every other time down the court in person.  I would have bet a C-note that he shot over 20 times, yet the box score says only 11.

6.  For the Bobcats, everyone played pretty well.  A 16-4 run midway though the third quarter broke the game open, leaving the Cats with a 75-56 lead that they wouldn’t squander.  The Cats shot 49% from the field and 18-19 from the free throw line.  32 of the 44 baskets were assisted, versus only 12 turnovers on the night.  Pretty solid.

7.  Gerald Wallace led the way with 25 points (8-13 FG, 1-3 3PT, 8-8 FT), 9 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals and a block.  Augustin led the bench crew with 15 points (6-10 FG, 3-4 3PT), 6 assists, 2 rebounds and a steal.

Despite shooting 1-7 3PTs, Radmanovic led the team with a robust +27 +/- in 31 minutes.  The 9 rebounds and 4 assists he notched probably had something to do with that.

8.  With the Bobcats in control early, Cartier Martin got some meaningful run in this one (9 points in 15 minutes).  Juwan Howard and Nazr Mohammed also got off the bench for a few minutes as well.  But the biggest applause was reserved for Sean May, who logged 3 minutes at the end of the game.  The fans ate it up as May went on a mini scoring binge of five points in garbage time.

In all seriousness, May looked OK out there — noticably thinner than he’s been in a long time.  And it was nice that none of the starters played 40 minutes.  In fact, only Felton and Wallace played over 30.

9.  New Jersey lost to Denver Monday night to fall to 2 full games back, while the rest of the 8th seed hopefuls were idle.

So Milwaukee and Chicago are tied for the 8th spot.  The Bobcats are 1 full game back, the Knicks 1.5.

10.  Next game: hosting Sacramento Wednesday night at 7 PM ET.  Go Cats!

-E

Bobcats Scramble to fill Wallace Void

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Bobcats Fans Stand up…and get ready…for 10 days of Iowa Energeeeee!

Cartier Martin

Captain Higgins revealed today that the Bobcats have signed forward Cartier Martin to a 10-day contract. Cartier played for the Iowa Energy in the D-League this season, where he averaged 20.6 points a game. He spent the 2007-08 season euro ballin’ in Turkey and played college ball at Kansas State University.

Martin is the band-aid on the gaping wound left by Gerald Wallace.

Despite the set-back given to the Bobcats by Andrew Bynum, this pick-up tells me Larry Brown is serious about squeaking into the playoffs. As this team continues to patch things together, and with DJ Augustin out for another week (at least), one begins to wonder if the team can afford to give up Raymond Felton. I concur with Rick Bonnel..the Raymond trade is looking less likely every day.