Bobcats Fall to Hawks as Losses Pile Up

Standard

AP Photo/John Bazemore

Without an injured Gerald Wallace, the Bobcats fell to the Atlanta Hawks 90-85 on Friday night at Phillips Arena.  Joe Johnson, Al Horford and Marvin Williams led a balanced Hawks attack with 16 points each.

AP Recap |  Box Score |  GameFlow |  Highlights

The Bobcats never led, but were able to stay within spitting distance.  They closed to within 3 points with under two minutes left on two Stephen Jackson free throws.  But a Hawks 20 second timeout, followed by a Williams layup off a Horford assist, then a Stephen Jackson missed three-point attempt would effectively end the game as the Cats fell to 3-11 on the road and 9-17 overall.

Observations

  • Stephen Jackson suffered an right elbow injury in the first half.  It’s unclear exactly how/when it happened, but he was in enough pain to get x-rays at the half, then suggest after the game that he shouldn’t have played in the second half after the x-rays proved negative. Obviously, the injury will be re-evaluated over the weekend.
  • Boris Diaw led the Cats with 22 points (10-15 FG), 7 rebounds and 3 steals.  DJ Augustin also had 22, but it was off of 9-19 FG, which includes 1-7 3PT.  Ouch.  Dominic McGuire played 40 minutes, grabbing 17 rebounds but shooting 3-12 from the floor.
  • The Bobcats have now lost seven in a row to the Hawks at Phillips arena.
  • In just the latest red flag about this team, several of their postgame comments were positively rosy after shooting 38% and never leading. Coach Larry Brown and Stephen Jackson were encouraged by/satisfied with the effort, particularly on the defensive end, while Nazr Mohammed felt like the Cats were starting to develop an identity, and that he could at least sleep after this game (relative to the recent blowout in Memphis).
  • Next game is Tuesday night in Charlotte versus the Oklahoma City Thunder.  Tipoff is 7 PM ET.  It’s unclear as to whether Gerald Wallace or Stephen Jackson will be available.

-Dr. E

Bobcats Routed By Celtics

Standard

"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


Bobcats Show Signs Of Life, Defeat Rockets

Standard

The Charlotte Bobcats defeated the Houston Rockets 99-89 on Friday night at the Cable Box behind a strong second half and double-doubles from Boris Diaw and Gerald Wallace.  The Cats started out sluggish (again) and were down by as much as 11 in the second quarter.

But the Bobcats starting five (Nazr Mohammed edition) took control in the third quarter and never looked back; they outscored the Rockets 54-37 in the second half.  Now I’ll have to qualify this by noting that the Rockets were without Aaron Brooks and Yao Ming (and weren’t very good with them, anyways), but the way the Bobcats played in the second half was the closest to how they played last year during their playoff push that I’ve seen yet this year.

AP Recap |  Box Score

Observations

  • The Rockets were seriously underpowered.  What happened to Kevin Martin?  16 quiet points; though apparently he is averaging 23 ppg this year.  Just didn’t see it tonight.
  • Gerald had another tough shooting night (6-21 FG) but kept at it and ended up leading the Cats with 21 points, 14 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals and 2 blocks.  He had another spectacular block of a Chase Budinger breakaway jam that was wrongly called a foul.
  • Boris Diaw stole the show offensively in the second half, ending with 20 points (9-14 FG) on a mix of long and mid-range jumpers, hooks and scoops.  He even had a strong drive to the bucket that ended in a near-dunk.  I see in the play-by-play that it’s being credited as a dunk, and that’s very kind of the home scorekeeper.  Boris also added 10 rebounds.
  • Stephen Jackson (16 points), Nazr Mohammed (15 points on 6-9 FG, 7 rebounds), and DJ Augustin (11 assists/1 turnover) all had nice games.
  • Off the bench, Ty Thomas was quiet, but Shaun Livingston had one of his better games as a Bobcat, with 10 points on 4-7 FG.
  • So this is my third year being a season-ticket-holder, and I’ve successfully avoided being shown on the scoreboard bigscreen.  But tonight, I attended the game with Cardboard Gerald, and my streak was ended during the first possible break in the first quarter.  Such is the power of Cardboard Gerald.
  • One of the LadyCats’ hair extensions fell out while she was dancing.  I can cross that one off my Bucket List now.
  • The Bobcats are headed to Milwaukee for the second night of another back-to-back — 9PM ET start Saturday night.

-Dr. E

Bobcats Nip Timberwolves For First Home Victory

Standard

Stephen Jackson via AP/Chuck Burton

It wasn’t pretty, but the Bobcats finally notched their first home victory on Monday night over the Minnesota Timberwolves, 113-110.  The Cats were in control with an 8 point lead late in the third quarter before stagnating and falling behind by as many as 9 halfway through the fourth.

But the Cats finished the game on an 11-3 run to rally for the win.  The deciding stretch started with just under two minutes left with clutch threes from Stephen Jackson and DJ Augustin, continued with ratcheted-up defensive intensity and huge steals by Jack and Tyrus Thomas, and ended with some Gerald Wallace free throws.

AP Recap |  Box Score

Observations

  • The quick rundown above doesn’t quite give that wild finish quite enough justice.  It was borderline frenetic; the Bobcats looked right at home, while the young Timberwolves looked seriously rattled.  And after Gerald Wallace committed a silly foul, Wes Johnson had a chance to tie the game with two free throws with 3 seconds left.  He missed both.
  • Prior to the last couple of minutes, the Bobcats hadn’t played much defense, which is a big change compared to how they played at home last year.  Michael Beasley almost singlehandedly kept the T-Wolves in the game with 28 points.
  • Gerald Wallace and Stephen Jackson led the way for the Cats with 26 points each.  Gerald lived at the free throw line (17-19 FT, a team record for made free throws), while Jack did his damage from behind the three point line (5-6 3PT).
  • DJ Augustin had a really nice game with 9 points and 11 assists/1 turnover.  He had a huge breakaway layup after Jack’s steal during the game-winning rally that should have been an and-1.
  • Tyrus Thomas had 20 points/10 rebounds off the bench, but was the latest Bobcat to catch the turnover bug with 7!
  • You know how they film various players and coaches reading the “Fan Code of Conduct” disclaimer, then edit it altogether and show it on the video board?  Guess whose clip they use for the part about “not disrupting the game or using foul language”?  Yep, Stephen Jackson.  Touche, Bobcats video intern, touche.  In related news, Jack picked up another tech tonight.

-Dr. E

Bobcats Hang On To Beat Raptors

Standard

Gerald Wallace via Garrett W. Ellwood/NBAE/Getty Images

The Bobcats eked out their second victory of the season on Wednesday night in Toronto, defeating the Raptors 101-96. Gerald Wallace had a fantasy-owner’s dream game with 19 points, 14 rebounds, 5 assists and 4 steals, while Tyrus Thomas and Stephen Jackson owned the deciding fourth quarter.

And while I shouldn’t minimize any road victory for a team that struggled to win double-digit road games all of last season, I just can’t get too excited about this one.  The Raps are a toothless team that plays no defense (Cats shot 50% tonight and got to the line 33 times) and announces Jarrett Jack as the fifth starter in its pregame introductions.  Furthermore, they were without one of their better players, Leandro Barbosa, who sat out with an injury.  And the Cats barely managed the W.

AP Recap |  Box Score

Observations

  • DJ Augustin had a nice game with 16 points (3-5 3pt), 3 steals and 7 assists/1 turnover.  Gerald Henderson had 10 points off the bench.
  • Stephen Jackson and Boris Diaw are turnover machines.  I’ve beat around the bush in the past, passive-aggressively noting their turnover numbers several times in game recaps (4 and 6 tonight, respectively).  But let’s be direct: these guys force way too many bad passes.  You can excuse it by saying that they’re expected to be playmakers in this offense, and that they occasionally do produce easy buckets for their teammates.  And you’d be right — Jack in particular had a great assist to Ty in crunchtime to help seal the win.  But if you’re looking for some specific issues that Cats could shore up in order to dig out from their poor start this season, look no further than Boris and Jack’s “wishful thinking” types of passes.
  • Matt Carroll!  Matt Carroll! To all the Matt Carroll fanboys who somehow survived Carroll’s stint in Dallas, and still roam the Cable Box now free to again yell “Matt Carroll!… Matt Carroll!… Matt Carroll!” whenever the Bobcats need a bucket:  I give you… Matt Carroll!  In his first action of the season, Carroll got 4 minutes of burn in the second quarter and hit his only field goal attempt.
  • Box Score issues.  What was up with the online box scores for this game?  ESPN.com’s was so buggy, they eventually just took in offline at some point during the game.  And Yahoo’s froze sometime during the second half.

-Dr. E

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

Kicks on Claws: Footwear of Charlotte Bobcats Players

Standard

Gerald Wallace Exclusive Jordan Icons

After we released the eye-popping news that I would become a new writer for the Baseline, I got a request via Twitter for an article on the kicks that our players would be wearing on the court this year. As a sneaker lover, I was more than happy to oblige and to teach the Bobcats followers about one of my other passions.

Before we delve into what the players are wearing this year, I must complain about something and then teach you some basic shoe stuff.

Upon hearing about the Jordan-centric renovation of the Bobcats store at Time Warner Cable Arena, I got excited about the possibility of having a Jordan store that sold Jordans. Why, you ask, when there’s so many Footlockers and Finish Lines that sell Jordans? Because I hoped that the affiliation of Jordan Brand with the team would bring about some Jordan shoes in Bobcats colors. There are no shoes in the world in that greyish-blue that I can find. However, to my dismay, I found out that they don’t even sell any shoes there at all. Opportunity lost.

Anyway, on to the learning!

  • PE – Player Exclusive. These are shoes made for a specific player, usually with their team’s colors. These are occasionally available for public purchase and if then, only in limited quantities
  • GR – General Release. Shoes that are GR’s are available for purchase by anyone at most shoe stores like Footlocker or Finish Line. Shoes that I don’t note as PEs are most likely GRs, which you can buy.
  • Here’s the lowdown on how Jordan-sponsored players choose what shoes they wear throughout the season, as told by D.J. Augustin:

    At the beginning of the season, Jordan Brand sends you a package. In that package, you receive four shoe models. If you like them, they send you 10 pairs of each model to wear through February. After the All-Star break, Jordan Brand gives you two more models with 10 pairs of each to finish out the season. They let you practice in them and if you like them they will give you more. If you do not like the shoes they give to you, then they will give you something else to try. Basically, Jordan Brand wants to make you comfortable and make you feel good. They also give you the choice to have your personal logo, your name and/or your jersey number on the shoes. First, they show it to you on paper and if you like the shoe that is when they send you the package.

    via NikeTalk via Nice Kicks (P.S. read the whole interview. I love the part about Sean May)

The Jordan Brand Members

This select group includes only the Bobcats players sponsored by Jordan Brand: Gerald Wallace and D.J. Augustin. Each of these guys will wear Jordans on the court for every game this year, just like last year. As part of the Jordan Brand Team, D.J. and Gerald are privy to special PE colorways of their shoes. Last year, Gerald mostly wore Jordan shoes like the Jordan All Day and the Jordan 16.5 while D.J. also wore the 16.5 and the Jordan ‘Six Rings,’ just to name a few.  However, the real interesting shoes that they wore were their Air Jordan XII and Icons PEs.
Wallace in the AJ XII PE

Personally, these Jordan XIIs pictured above, are my favorites. I love the colorway. If I could buy these, they’d be on my feet all the time.
D.J. in his AJ XII and Icons PEs
Crash even got his own player exclusive version of the Jordan Icons, complete with an awesome logo, made especially for his All-Star appearance.
I want to go to there.

As for this year, I expect more of the same. So far, Gerald and D.J. have both been wearing the Jordan Team 2010 in the exhibition and regular season games. I expect them to wear some of the other generic Jordan basketball shoes as the season wears on. After the All Star break, you may even see them in the upcoming Air Jordan 2011. Also, be on the lookout for some fantastic PE colorways of dope Jordan retros.

The Jordan Wearers

This group of Bobcats are players not signed by Jordan Brand and it includes Stephen Jackson, Shaun Livingston and Dominic McGuire (and maybe Sherron Collins). As far as I know, Stephen Jackson is not a part of the Jordan Brand team but he wears them for every game. Last year he wore the Icons, including a special playoffs PE, as well as a number of Jordan retros. Most notably of these were the Jordan XI “Space Jams” (below) and the Jordan XII “Rising Sun.”
Stephen Jackson in his Air Jordan XI

Last year Shaun Livingston wore Nike shoes, including the Nike Zoom Soldier III. However, so far while playing for the Bobcats, Shaun has worn the Jordan Element. I couldn’t even tell you if Dominic McGuire even wore shoes before, but he has been wearing the Jordan Spizike “Grape” during training camp and exhibition games (upon further research, he wore Nike Hyperdunks before). I am hesitant to include Sherron Collins here, but he wore the Jordan Icons in the summer league and I can’t make heads or tails from the whopping three pictures I can find of him playing in exhibition games.

The Hyperfuse Herd (Ain’t Alliteration Awesome?)

Derrick Brown in the Nike Hyperfuse

The Nike Hyperfuse released this past summer to rave reviews. They also have a huge following among NBA players. Kevin Durant wore them in the World Championships and Rajon Rondo wore them in the NBA Finals. My guess is that DeSagana Diop wants to emulate Rondo so he picked up a pair. And then, upon seeing Diop, the fashion trendsetter that he is, Matt Carroll and Derrick Brown knew they had to follow suit and get their identical pairs.

Some Kind of Nikes

These are the rest of the guys and they all wear Nike basketball shoes. Last season, Tyrus Thomas wore the Nike Zoom Flip ‘N and this season it looks like he’s wearing the Nike Hyperdunk Team. I have no clue what model of Nikes that Boris Diaw or Nazr Mohammed wear. I’ve stared at them for a while and still can’t think of what they may be. They may be the Nike Hyperchild. Moving on, Gerald Henderson wears the Nike Hyperdunk and if Kwame wears the same model as he did last year, we’ll see him in the Nike Hyperize. Oh, and I nearly forgot about Eduardo Najera! He wears shoes. I don’t know what brand but I know they’re shoes.

Until next time, Bobcats fans, enjoy knowing that Mike Conley will be making at least $40 million over the next 5 years.

- Cardboard Gerald

Turnovers, Pistons Conspire To Vanquish Bobcats

Standard

One of the 22 turnovers, courtesy AP/Duane Burleson

The Charlotte Bobcats fell on the road to the Pistons, 97-90, on Friday night to drop to 1-4.  Only a few games into the season and it seems like we’re already beating a dead horse: turnovers.  The Bobcats had 22 of them (compared to the Pistons 12) which completely negated their 55% to 43% shooting advantage.

AP Recap |  Box Score

Observations

  • The Cats got off to another slow start in this one, playing soft D and allowing the Pistons to build a 41-19 lead just a few minutes into the second quarter.  Nazr Mohammed continues to underwhelm, and was benched for the second half in favor of a small lineup.
  • Another concerning stat: the usually aggressive Bobcats only got to the line 11 times; while the Pistons earned 27 free throws (and made all but one).
  • The Cats comeback in the second half was OK.  Derrick Brown and DJ Augustin both played pretty well; each hit a couple of big threes to keep the Cats hanging around.
  • And Stephen Jackson had his best game of the season, pouring in 28 points on 12-19 FG/4-8 3PT.  But he also had a team-high 6 turnovers.
  • To hammer home the turnover issue a little further, the league average looks to be around 15 per game.  At the beginning of the night, the Kings lead the league in fewest turnovers per game at 11.8 per; the Timberwolves give up the most at 20 per.  The Bobcats are the second worst at 18.3 per game; obviously that number will creep a bit higher after tonite’s 22.

-Dr. E

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