Bobcats Drop Sloppy, Winnable Game To Jazz

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Photo Credit: Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images

The Bobcats were defeated 83-78 by a shorthanded Utah Jazz squad on the road in Salt Lake City on Monday night.  The Cats were led by Stephen Jackson (24 points) and DJ Augustin (20) in the loss and fall to 20-27 overall.

AP Recap |  Box Score

After a day off to recharge in the middle of the road trip, this matchup looked ripe for the taking when Deron Williams was ruled out prior to the game with a wrist injury.

Besides, even with their all-star, Utah had been reeling recently, losing 7 of their last 8.  But the Jazz came out strong with an 11-0 run to start the game, and proceeded to outrebound (49-36) and outmuscle the Cats in the paint.  The Jazz front line of Al Jefferson, Paul Millsap and Andrei Kirilenko all had double doubles: Jefferson 21/11, Millsap 14/12, and Kirilenko 13/11.  Jefferson and Kirilenko each had 3 blocks; Millsap added one.

To contrast, the Bobcats were led by DJ Augustin and Stephen Jackson with 8 rebounds apiece.  Kwame Brown had a miserable night with just 5 points, 4 rebounds, and 5 fouls in 23 minutes.

CJ Miles provided some perimeter scoring for the Jazz off the bench with 20 points; Earl Watson, who started at the point in place of Deron Williams, ended with an inexplicable plus-minus of +26 for the game.

The Bobcats could never establish much flow and shot the ball miserably, finishing at 35.6% from the field.  Nonetheless, they were in the game until the final moments.  Stephen Jackson hit four straight free throws to bring the Cats within one at 79-78 with two minutes left.

But with the Jazz frontline dominating the paint, the Bobcats couldn’t go with their preferred small lineup to finish the game (DJ, Henderson, Jack, Wallace and Diaw) and instead went with Eduardo Najera instead of Henderson.  It’s understandable, as going small would have put Gerald Wallace on Paul Millsap.

But it didn’t work, as the Bobcats couldn’t generate any offense after Jack’s free throws and never scored again AND Millsap grabbed two back-breaking offensive rebounds down the stretch.

Notes

  • If you wanted to put together a reel of games to convince yourself that it might be time to trade Gerald Wallace, add this one to it.  Just didn’t bring anything to the table tonight.
  • In addition to the Jazz 11-o run to start the game, they had another 11-0 run to start the third quarter and a 10-o run to start the fourth.
  • Cardboard Gerald caught Jimmer Fredette, Jimmer Fredette’s girlfriend, and Jimmer Fredette’s girlfriend’s poof in the stands.
  • If you’re looking for a Bobcats highlight, it’s probably Najera’s trip into the courtside seats, as pictured above.  As he got up, he picked up one lady’s crushed, now empty cup and pantomimed ordering her a new drink.  Good enough for a bloopers video.  Oh, and DJ hit a pretty crazy reverse layup that should make the highlights.
  • Next game is Wednesday night as the Cats wrap up this six-game road trip in Detroit against the Pistons — 7:30 PM ET start.  A win will give the Cats a 4-2 road trip as they head into a tough stretch of home games.

-Dr. E

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Bobcats Trade Rumor: Felton to Dallas?

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What Felton and May get you these days...

Another month, another weird trade rumor.  This one has some serious legs apparantly as the ‘Cats were all but ready to send Raymond Felton, Sean May and Nazr Mohammed to Dallas in a three team deal that would return Thunder backup PG Earl Watson and Mavs backup C Desagna Diop to Charlotte.  ESPN.com’s Mark Stein reports that the deal is currently “dormant” and that once DJ Augustin returns from his “abdominal strain/sports hernia” the deal may go down.

Some quick thoughts on the potential trade:

1. I really hate to keep bringing this up but if Felton/May get dealt together in this trade, we’re basically saying that instead of trading the two (as the 5th and 13th pick in the 2005 draft) for Portland’s #3 pick that year (your choice of Chris Paul or Deron Williams), we’ll instead hold on to them for four modestly-to-completely unproductive seasons and then unload them to Dallas for DeSagna-freakin’-Diop.  You gotta love being a Bobcats fan.

2. That said…this deal could turn out to be somewhat positive for the Bobcats.  If DJ is your man at the point for the future, then you could do a lot worse than Earl Watson.  The 29 year old has pretty much equaled Raymond’s PER over 7 years in the League and is more accustomed to playing in a backup capacity.  At $6.2mil and $6.4mil over this season and next, he’s paid about $2mil more this year than Raymond but he’ll come off of the books completely before the summer of 2010.  Yeah, Earl won’t provide the “heart” that Ray Felton has brought over the last four seasons in Charlotte but he won’t provide any of the “I’m going to drive to the hole at the end of the game indescriminately and throw up a shot and see what happens” as well.  We all like Raymond but his leaving the team won’t be as big of a hole as some might think.

3. DeSagana Diop coming to the ‘Cats is both a plus and a minus.  On the plus side, he provides a very good defensive presence in the lane as a backup C or together with Emeka when the team plays against the likes of the Cavs, etc.  Yeah, his offense sucks, but I’ll take 82 games of Diop playing defense and altering shots over Nazr laboring and incessantly fouling any day.  On the minus side, Diop’s contract is for roughly the same amount per year as Nazr’s but with 2 MORE additional seasons.  Not sure if I want to be paying my one-dimensional backup Center $7mil per in 2012 but hell, the world’s going to end in 2012 anyway so may as well go out in style.  Plus, Diop’s only 26 so we’ll only be paying him until he’s 30.

4. Sean May gets to eat all the Tex-Mex his heart desires.  And he can try out East Texas Burger.  As J.T. from “Planet Terror” would say, “Best in Texas, heh-heh.”

5. The minute that the JRICH/Diaw-Bell trade went down everybody from the local Charlotte online forums all the way up to the major sports networks trashed MJ and Coach Brown.  But guess what, since the trade the ‘Cats have played .500 ball, have looked more balanced, hungry and overall more like a pro-team.  So I’m giving LB the benefit of the doubt on this one.  He clearly sees that DJ is PG to run the show when the game is on the line and that getting another 7′ foot/280lb shot-blocker in the process is going to make the team that much more defensively capable.

Take a look at Boris Diaw’s post trade numbers btw.  Bell‘s too.  Now compare that to JRICH.

The Suns are getting around 17pts, 4 boards, and 2.5 assists per.  The ‘Cats get back a combined 25pts, 7.5 assists and 10 boards.  Not too shabby.

6. DIRECTION:  With all of this, we’re still looking at the ‘Cats building around Okafor, Augustin, Diaw, and (if he doesn’t get traded) G-Force.  They’ll have a decent bench with pro-depth and around $20mil to spend come 2010 if they can recruit someone to come play in Charlotte.  Hardly “State of Suck” worthy in my estimation.

-ASChin