Bobcats Disappoint, Lose to Vengeful Hawks

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Just a rough night. Sigh... (AP Photo)

Recap | Box Score

The Bobcats put up another letdown of a game on Saturday night, losing to the Atlanta Hawks (who were without starters Al Horford and Marvin Williams) 103-87. This came as a very disappointing loss, considering the Hawks had just incurred a 41-point loss the previous night. I expected a much hungrier team to come into the Cable Box, but I thought the Bobcats could gut out a win against the team without their starting center and small forward. I was wrong. The game was back-and-forth for much of the first half, with the Bobcats leading by five going into the break. Then the Bobcats once again encountered their immortal enemy, the third quarter. While the Bobcats scored around the same points as the previous quarters, their defense was thoroughly torn apart as the Hawks ran away to the 16-point win.

On the night, the Bobcats were led by D.J. Augustin who dropped 20 points and 7 dimes with zero turnovers. Stephen Jackson and Gerald Wallace both put up clunkers, combining for 5-23 shooting from the field, though Gerald Wallace was better because he rebounded and helped keep his man below his scoring average. Defensively, Jackson was destroyed by Joe Johnson and Boris Diaw had problems with über-athletic Josh Smith.

In the first half, the Bobcats were playing very well, shooting the ball at a decent clip (50% FG, 40% 3P) and they out-rebounded Atlanta by a small margin. With a five-point lead and only three turnovers at the half, Charlotte was playing as good basketball as they could with Gerald Wallace struggling and Stephen Jackson ending the half poorly after a nice first quarter. The bench also played well, centering around Shaun Livingston and Nazr Mohammed who combined for 9 points in the second quarter.

From there it went to Hell in a handbasket. The Bobcats got progressively worse in the third, shooting 37% from the field, getting fewer assists and rebounds, and more turnovers than the first two quarters. Stephen Jackson missed all six of his shots and Gerald Wallace was basically just a non-factor. And that was just offensively. On defense, the Hawks got pretty much whatever they wanted, scoring 32 points on 58% from the field and 57% from behind the arc, while grabbing 5 more rebounds, two more assists and without turning the ball over once. Though Augustin was great on offense in the third was rightfully left in for all of the quarter, he had trouble defending MIKE BIBBY, who scored 14 points on the night.

From there it was basically over. The team had no momentum, Jackson was shooting the team in the foot both with his offense and his inability to slow down Joe Johnson (though you have to give J.J. credit – he was basically unconscious the whole game), and the Bobcats just didn’t have the firepower to make a comeback attempt.

Tids & Bits

  • Dammit, give it up for Shaun Livingston. I watched him check into the game to neither deafening cheers nor applause (or anything close to that). The man deserves better. I love having him on the Bobcats and I would rather he never leave. He’s a good influence in the locker room and has great athletic gifts on the court. But if he’s not going to get the respect he deserves, I think I’d rather he leave and go somewhere else. He was exceptional tonight, shooting 4-6 from the field with three rebounds (one offensive), four assists and two steals for 9 points. Plus he had a couple highlights, including some smooth post moves and this put-back dunk.
  • As far as other guys who performed pretty well on the night, there was Gerald Henderson (4-7 FG, 2 REB, 1 AST, 8 PTS), Nazr Mohammed (5-9 FG, 7 REB, 1 AST, 2 BLK, 1o PTS) and Boris Diaw (5-7 FG, 2-2 FT, 7 REB, 4 AST, 2STL, 1 BLK, 12 PTS). Those are excellent, efficient stat lines right there. Kwame Brown wasn’t bad either, but I expect him to rebound better against the Hawks’ backup center, Zaza Pachulia.
  • Since Paul Silas arrived as the interim head coach, I’ve been waffling on whether I think the Bobcats should blow the team up or not. There have been nights when they just look fantastic but then there are nights when they just look like the doo-doo I just stepped in on my front lawn. I think I’m coming closer to my decision. In my mind, the Bobcats should definitely try to trade Stephen Jackson at all costs. He’s incredibly inefficient on offense, which kills the team since he consistently take about 15 shots per game. As for who to keep, I have three different categories: must keeps – Augustin, Tyrus Thomas, Henderson; should keeps – Derrick Brown, Livingston; and like-to-keeps (those who I’d prefer to keep, but ultimately would understand if we traded them, permitting we get value in return) – Gerald Wallace, Boris Diaw. It’s a youth movement folks; don’t trade for cap space. Trade for young talent or draft picks, not just expiring contracts. Cap space doesn’t win championships for a small market team, end of story.
  • Next on the schedule is Tuesday’s game at the Sacramento Kings at 10:00 p.m. EST, as the Bobcats begin a six-game road trip (Kings, Suns, Warriors, Clippers, Jazz, Pistons).

(all stats via the ESPN box score and the awesome website, Popcorn Machine)

- Cardboard Gerald

You can follow Cardboard Gerald, Dr. E, and ASChin on Twitter at @CardboardGerald@BaselineDrE, and @BobcatsBaseline. You can find more of Cardboard Gerald’s writing at Bobcats Break and now at Stacheketball.

Bobcats Find A Way To Lose To Philly

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Bobcats Lose A Close One In Philadelphia

The Charlotte Bobcats traveled to Philadelphia to take on the 76ers in a mid-day MLK Day game. The match paired two of the most unimpressive teams of the Eastern Conference, both putting  on out-of-rhythm performances for long stretches. Each team tried their hardest to lose this game, but the Bobcats were finally able to hand it over to the home team in overtime. The suspension of Tyrus Thomas for “throwing ‘bows” during Charlotte’s last game may have been one factor to aid Charlotte to this loss to Philly 96 – 92.

AP Recap | Box Score

The Start

The Bobcats had a bit of trouble getting things up and running early in the game. The 76ers worked to entertain their crowd with steady offense at the onset, making all of their shot attempts for the first 4 minutes. The Cats hung around, but were forced into taking a lot of outside shots that would not drop for any of the starters. Boris Diaw showed solid defense and pretty efficient shot selection during his early minutes. Interestingly, Kwame Brown was the best offensive option that Charlotte had in action. The team’s two captains, Gerald Wallace and Stephen Jackson just didn’t seem to work out against Philly’s defensive scheme. Wallace was nearly invisible until Jackson went to the bench at the end of the first quarter. At that point, Crash took it straight to the basket on consecutive drives for easy points.

Neither team could hit a shot in the second quarter. Stephen Jackson replaced Wallace and stunk it up for the rest of the half. Pennsylvania-native, Gerald Henderson showed little effectiveness and the rest of the Bobcats couldn’t find the hoop despite their efforts (Shaun Livingston did show some hustle, but without buckets). It seemed that the Bobcats were absolutely stymied on offense without Boris Diaw on the floor. We’ll need a real “X’s and O’s” type to ascertain what the 76ers were doing against the Cats. My guess is that the team relies on Jack to bail them out of such ruts, and he just didn’t have anything going for him during most of the game. Still, the teams went back-and-forth and Philly held a 1pt lead going to end the half. It could have been much worse considering that the Bobcats had shot 0-10 from behind the arc.

The Second Half

The Bobcats came out on a tear to start the third (which is not quite how they usually roll). Boris Diaw stayed hot with two 3-pointers to spark Charlottes 13-2 run. Every Bobcat on the floor contributed during the run, except Stephen Jackson who went scoreless for the quarter. Of course, the Cats went back to playing their style of 3rd Quarter basketball and let the 76ers back into the game. This was possible due a streak of 10 straight misses and nearly 10 minutes without a field goal. It was if Larry Brown was haunting the team from his old office in Philadelphia. Again, the team struggled with Boris getting rest on the bench. While Charlotte needed someone to step up on offense, they only got Captain Jack to miss a load of shots and throwaway two turnovers to close the period.

The 76ers started the 4th Quarter by owning the paint on offense. The Bobcats had no ability to stop Louis Williams as he tore through their defense for 21 second half points. DJ Augustin just couldn’t handle the larger Williams, and couldn’t knock down shots to make up for it. Augustin and Jackson appeared just about useless for much of the 4th. The game was close to being out of reach with Philadelphia holding a 9 point edge with less than 5 minutes left. But suddenly, Kwame Brown came to the rescue. Well, it was actually Elton Brand’s arm to Kwame’s face on a close lay-up that did it. Brown hit the shot attempt and the free-throw. Brand was called for a flagrant and the Cats used the possession to set up Boris for a straight-ahead 3-pointer. The momentum swung and Charlotte held control of the game until the final seconds.  Matt Carroll (another Pennsylvania-native) knocked down 2 free-throws to give the Bobcats a 3 point lead with less than 10 seconds, and it seemed like the road win was sealed. Unfortunately, Louis Williams wasn’t done and hit a game-tying 3-pointer from the corner with 4.7 seconds left. Charlotte used their final timeout to setup the old pass-it-around-to-Stephen-Jackson-for-a-long-range-miss play and executed it with precision. So, the folks in the arena caught a little bonus basketball and had to put off dinner for another half-hour.

Overtime

Early in the extra period, the Bobcats worked on rookie Evan Turner with Boris Diaw and Stephen Jackson. Once that well was dry, the teams seemed to counter each other with blows until the final minute. In the meantime, Boris Diaw notched his first triple-double as a Bobcat and Kwame Brown pulled down his 16th rebound of the game. Still, the great stats just couldn’t add up to a win. With just under 40 seconds left, and the game tied, Andre Igoudala hit a pull up jumper over Kwame to give the Sixers a two point lead that wouldn’t fade as the home team finally got the win over the visiting Bobcats 96-92. In the case that these two teams are tied for the final Playoff slot, Philadelphia will hold the tie-breaker advantage with this win over the Bobcats. From what I recall, the Bobcats have also lost the tie-breaker to the Bucks.

Loose Notes

To start the televised game broadcast, Dell Curry let it slip that he had just downed a 5-Hour Energy and 2 cups of coffee. In no way did I ever think DC had such a need for uppers. Also, in no way did any of those chemicals speed up his Southern draw.

Thaddeus Young had a horrible game trying to finish around the rim. He missed two dunks, had one blocked, and missed two lay-ups. He was pretty bad at the free-throw line as well.

Kwame Brown had another really good game (15 pts, 16 reb, but a crucial turnover). It’s tough to get overly-excited when the team isn’t winning, but this guy might be a pretty good value. The television crew mentioned an instance during a recent practice when Asst. Coach Charles Oakley really got into Kwame’s face. It’s nice to see him react with a performance like this. At the end of the season, we’ll need to evaluate which player was a better addition between Brown or Livingston.

Nazr Mohammed seems to be back to form… and that form is of a backup Center for a mediocre NBA club.

During the broadcast, I spotted a Mini-Shelden Williams sitting on the front-row near the Bobcats bench. If you watched the game on Fox SportSouth, you know who I’m talkin’ about.

Boris Diaw’s triple-double (25 pts, 11 reb, 11 ast, 1 turnover, 2 blocks) would have been a lot more fun to jot down had the Cats pulled out the win. Still, it’s nice to see the Frenchman display his full range of skills on the court. That stat line is crazy!

The Bobcats have a rematch with the 76ers in Charlotte on Thursday. Let’s hope for revenge!

Bonus Link : Recap from a Sixers Fan Blog, Liberty Ballers

-Mike

Bobcats Lose to Themselves, Hornets

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(AP Photo)

The Bobcats returned home on the tail end of a back-to-back and lost to the Hornets 88-81, sputtering to the end after keeping it close for most of the game. The Bobcats were led by Stephen Jackson who though shot poorly (15 points on 15 FGA) had 8 rebounds and 6 assists. The Hornets were led by a dominant offensive performance by David West who had 26 points on 19 shot attempts and 8 boards.

As I mentioned above, the game was close, most of the time, with the lead never going above 6 points for either team until the closing minutes. However, with 2:38 left in the game, Tyrus Thomas pulled down a rebound over Emeka Okafor and swung his arms, intentionally elbowing Okafor in the face. The refs gave him a flagrant-2 and two technicals which amounts to an ejection. Aside from throwing the momentum fully to New Orleans, it gave Emeka Okafor two free throws and also possession of the ball after the free throws. The result: a four point lead doubled and Bobcats never recovered and began fouling like a blind Darryl Dawkins. It turned a possible win into a more than likely loss.

Recap | Box Score

Tids & Bits (forever forgoing the Yays and Nays)

  • Gerald Wallace – Fifteen points on 5-13 FG with a perfect 5-5 from the stripe. Eh, not great. His three turnovers were major problems as were his four shots that were blocked. Gerald has always had a slight problem with inside shot selection, but getting blocked 4 times is some Earl Boykins stuff. Moving on, his three rebounds leave much to be desired, but it seems his slack was picked up by Boris and Jackson (9 and 8 rebounds, respectively) as opposed to the Hornets. The Bobcats did out-rebounded the Hornets 43-34 (numerical palindromes, hell yeah!). Oh and Gerald had an outstanding coast-to-coast play. So there’s that (see below).
  • Boris Diaw – He was mediocre on offense, with 9 points from 4-11 shooting with one from downtown. The real problem was his defense (or lack thereof) on David West. West’s mid-range ability frustrated Diaw the whole night.
  • D.J. Augustin – His ability to distribute continues to impress me, as well as his consistency (7 assists) and his lack of turnovers (1 tonight). If only his shooting could get more consistent. he shot 3-10 from the field tonight, but at least he did get to the line for 4 four free throws.
  • Kwame Brown – Kwame was excellent tonight, both on offense and defense. He effectively shut down Okafor for most of the game and he rebounded really well (14 rebs) and he was efficient on offense with 5-6 FG. Too bad his free throw shooting is still bad (2-5). But I can deal with that with the rest of his performance.
  • Tyrus Thomas – He was decent, with 2-6 shooting and 4-4 FT for 8 points and 4 rebounds, 1 block and 1 steal. Buuuuuut, he did have 3 turnovers and he screwed up big-time with the elbow to Okafor’s cranium. The one major problem I have with Tyrus is his recklessness. I love that he jumps out of the building for rebounds, but with the ball in his hands, he can get too out of control. This leads to picking up his dribble on the baseline and trying to make a nearly impossible fadeaway jump shot or throwing the ball away on bad passes.

Anything I missed, Baseliners?

Next up is the Philadelphia 76ers, in Philadelphia on Monday, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, with the early start time at 2 p.m.

- Cardboard Gerald

You can follow Cardboard Gerald, Dr. E, and ASChin on Twitter at @CardboardGerald@BaselineDrE, and @BobcatsBaseline. You can find more of Cardboard Gerald’s writing at Bobcats Break and now at Stacheketball.

Bobcats Knock Off Bulls In Impressive Fashion

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Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

The Charlotte Bobcats notched their best win of the season in defeating the Chicago Bulls 96-91 on Wednesday night at the Cable Box.  The Cats are now 15-21 overall and 6-2 since interim Coach Paul Silas took over.  The previous five wins had only resulted in tempered enthusiasm due the the marginal quality of the opponents; but the Bulls are a bonafide contender, and the Cats took them down.

AP Recap |  Box Score |  Highlights

The Bobcats came out red-hot to start the game.  Gerald Wallace looked good in his return from an ankle injury, DJ and Boris hit some early threes, and Kwame Brown (yes, seriously) dominated Kurt Thomas inside for 10 first quarter points as the Bobcats staked a 36-22 lead after the first frame. Now is a good time to note that the Bulls are playing without Joakim Noah, who’s in the midst of an 8-10 week hiatus after having surgery on a torn thumb ligament.

The Cats would go on to push that lead up to 17 early in the second, only to see it dwindle away.  The Bulls battled back behind Derrick Rose and Carlos Boozer and eventually took a 80-75 with 8 minutes left in the fourth.  From there the Cats ratcheted up the defensive intensity and DJ, Jack and Tyrus Thomas took the game over.

The most finish went like this: with the Bulls up 89-88 with 1:15 left, Tyrus Thomas hit an insane prayer of a reverse layup.  Calling it a reverse layup is probably kind; seriously, check the picture.  That shot went in.  Next play down DJ forced Derrick Rose into the teeth of the defense where Boris Diaw was able to get a piece of his layup attempt.  Now under a minute to go and the Cats iso Stephen Jackson in the post on Luol Deng; Jack comes through with a pretty turnaround J to put the Cats up three with 30 seconds to go.

The Bulls take a timeout and come out with their best play: give it to Derrick Rose.  But as they had done numerous times before, the Cats seemed to sense exactly when to give DJ help.  Jack collapsed on Rose while Tyrus Thomas moved into the lane to cut off Deng as he flashed to the rim; Rose then forced a bad pass behind Deng that was picked off by Diaw.  From there, DJ hit a few free throws to finish it off.

And so the Cats move into the 8th spot in the East with this, their fourth straight, win.  If nothing else, this little streak serves as vindication for Jordan, who made the undoubtedly tough call to stand pat with the roster and fire Larry Brown instead of listening to his calls for more trades. Jordan gets bagged on a lot for his track record in the front office (rightfully so, and he’s still going to have to make more difficult decisions about how to rebuild this team eventually), but he deserves credit for seeing that the Bobcats are much better than how they were playing under Larry Brown and that they needed to exhale with a player’s coach at the helm.

Notes

  • So DJ really seems to get up for playing against Rose, huh?  22 points (6-12 FG, 2-5 3PT, 8-9 FT), 12 assists/1 turnover for DJ tonight, while Derrick Rose was held to 17 points (5-17 FG), 7 assists/4 turnovers.  I seem to recall another time when DJ had a particularly stellar game against Rose — during their rookie year maybe?
  • Best game for Tyrus Thomas in a couple weeks: 30 minutes, 17 points (7-14 FG), 13 rebounds and 2 blocks.  Nothing like the little charge you get from facing your old team, huh?
  • Tweet of the night goes to Bobcats AP beat writer Mike Cranston: “Suggestion on press row next CHA ad campaign feature Augustin breaking out of chains and Jack driving a bus over LB’s body”  Sounds like a job for Mike and/or Deesdale.
  • Next game is Friday night in Boston to face the Celtics, who used to bring out the best in the Bobcats, but lately have just owned them.  7:30 PM ET start.

-Dr. E

Follow Dr. E, ASChin and Cardboard Gerald on Twitter

Bobcats Embarrassed By Wizards, Larry Brown Admits Fault

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AP Photo/Nick Was

Recap | Box Score

The Washington Wizards absolutely crushed our Bobcats Monday night, winning 108-75. The Cats were just outclassed all around, especially our starting five. The most surprising thing? We were only down by five at the half. The second half was Wizards 58, Bobcats 30. WE LOST BY 33 TO THE WIZARDS WITHOUT JOHN WALL. Now, everyone please follow these instructions: 1) Hold out your palm 2) Bring your palm up with velocity 3) Palm your forehead.

Seriously. Perhaps the best descriptive word here is “eviscerated.” If you combine the scores of the first and third quarters, which are played by mostly the starters, the score is 63-36. Let’s see, what else before I go into the Yays and Nays? Oh yeah! Nazr Mohammed, who may be the most level-headed player on the team, was ejected after getting a pair of technical fouls when he was called for a questionable offensive foul. What else, hm… How about our TWENTY-NINE TURNOVERS. That’s the most turnovers in a game since November of 2006. Let’s give our team a hand!

Ugh.

Yays

  • Bench – Don’t get too excited by this. They weren’t superb; they were just much better than the starters. I was also just extremely pleased our young players got extended playing time – I was just ashamed it had to come as a result of this game. Tyrus Thomas was excellent by usual, scoring 10 points on 5-7 shooting and 4 rebounds. Kwame Brown embraced a crowd that lived to boo him and got to the line often, somehow making eight of eleven free throws and adding a bucket for good measure to total his points at ten with 5 rebounds. Derrick Brown played well to boot, adding 9 points on 3-4 FGs and 3-4 FTs with 4 rebounds, 2 steals and 1 rebound. Gerald Henderson looked like he was still shaking off some rust in his 15 minutes on the court. Even DeSagana played moderately well with two points, two rebounds, an assist, a steal, and a block.
  • Nope. Nothing else.

Nays

  • Our starters – They were awful. Dominic McGuire followed up his 17 rebound performance from the last game with zero points, 6 rebounds and one block, though I do credit him with controlling his itchy trigger finger by taking only two shots. Nazr Mohammed played fine but only tallied 10 minutes before getting tossed. D.J. Augustin struggled (more on that in a second). Stephen Jackson showed no heart in dropping 13 points, 2 rebounds and 2 assists. Oh and he had 6 turnovers. Jax now has the fourth most turnovers for shooting guards. Boris Diaw was merely adequate with 9 points on 4-11 shooting and a free throw. He added 7 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 turnovers.
  • D.J. Augustin – If this wasn’t a setback in the D.J. Augustin for future Bobcats starting PG, I don’t know what was. On offense, he passed lazily and had tons of trouble with his shot. He made one shot in the fourth quarter and didn’t make another until 2:56 left in the 4th quarter. He added unnecessary fouls in transition defense to help the Wizards get the and-one. And to add insult to injury, Kirk Hinrich destroyed D.J.’s defense. Augustin had trouble fighting through screens and just generally staying with Hinrich. Livingston did a much better job on Hinrich, forcing Kirk to foul and retreat to the bench. Liv’s defense also added through the usual factors: disrupting passing lanes and helping defend jump shots.
  • Turnovers – 29. The Wizards scored 32 points off of those turnovers. Conversely, the Wizards had 14 turnovers, off which we scored 16 points.
  • Fast break – The Bobcats had 6 fast break points to the Wizards’ 26.

Before this game, I was thinking about buying tickets to the Thunder game tonight. I no longer want to do so. It’s not that I can’t stand to watch a blowout. I’ve sat through huge drubbings, including a 35-point loss to the Pacers in the 08-09 season. The problem I have with this team is that I’m not seeing any heart from our starters. I’m seeing it from the bench players, but when the coach can’t or won’t recognize that there are guys on the bench that are more talented and with more heart than the guys who get the start, it’s more often than not a moot point.

Yes, the Bobcats were missing Gerald Wallace, but I don’t see that making that big of an impact. Even if Gerald had started, the defense was a team failing and Dominic McGuire’s playing time would have just preempted Derrick Brown’s or Tyrus Thomas’ minutes who were some of our most productive players in this game.

Also, if you have a sports-centric masochistic streak like I do, you stuck around through the whole game and then stayed to watch the Larry Brown post-game presser.  In case you missed it, I transcribed it:

LB: The worst part? You know, we’re just not a team. We’re not well-coached. We don’t play hard. You know, that’s my responsibility. And I feel bad, you know, to put a team out there like that and to look that way. That’s totally my responsibility.

Reporter: How do you explain that third quarter and – [cut off by LB]

LB: The first half, the first quarter – the first quarter was the game. They scored like, what, the first ten times down the court? That was the game. Then we started the second half with the same group. You know the bench got us back in the game. So we were down 5 – it was a miracle down 5 at halftime – and then same again. And that’s a coach’s responsibility. To look like that, I feel bad for the young kids cuz it looked totally disorganized. You know, Flip’s team executed, shared the ball, played hard. That’s what teams are supposed to do, not the way we do. And that’s totally on me. It looked like it was the first day of practice and maybe it was a pickup team playing against an NBA team.

It’s a nice gesture, I guess. It felt sincere. But we have known that for weeks. As Dr. E noted on Twitter, “What kind of loss or losing streak will it take for Bobcats front office to realize that the team has quit on Larry Brown?” That sums it up perfectly.

I’m just waiting for better days. It won’t be soon, unfortunately. I just hope to not lose sleep over this. After all, I have no control over the Bobcats’ personnel decisions.

Cardboard Gerald

Follow me (@CardboardGerald), ASChin (@BobcatsBaseline) and Dr. E (@BaselineDrE) on Twitter!

Bobcats Clobbered, Lose to 76ers by 18

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"Word down, dawg" - (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

It was bad from the start and it never really got better as the Bobcats started the game flat and ended the game flat. The Bobcats blew a 0-0 tie and the 76ers never looked back winning the game 109-91.

AP Recap | Box Score

Yays (Boy, this will be a short section)

  • Boris Diaw shot well, racking up 19 points on 7-12 shooting and nabbed 6 assists to one turnover. However, Elton Brand thoroughly abused Diaw on the boards, grabbing 10 to Boris’ 3.
  • Kwame Brown played pretty well. He scored 12 points on 4-6 FG and 4-5 FT and added 7 rebounds. I’m most amazed by his free throw shooting because his technique is so ugly.
  • I know I complain about the guy a lot, but kudos to Sherron Collins for scoring his first NBA bucket.

Nays

  • Defense – The Bobcats lacked energy from the get-go from the starters. They couldn’t close out or defend the three, as usual. Jodie Meeks took full advantage, knocking down 6 three-pointers and 20 points in the first quarter. It was especially painful tonight as it became obvious that our defense is nowhere close to what it was last year. I thought that perhaps there was a chance we could return to our former glory but tonight’s game eliminated all hope I had. Not to be overly-dramatic but it was a little  soul-crushing for me, as a fan.
  • Substitutions – Why does Dominic McGuire get so much playing time while Derrick Brown sits on the bench? McGuire is a better rebounder which is nice for a team that has some problems with that but any benefits the Bobcats get from the extra possessions McGuire gets are squandered with McGuire’s bad instincts on offense. He takes jump shots when in fact, he hasn’t made a single shot outside of 10 feet (hoopdata). But is there anything else this guy has over Derrick Brown? Brown finds his way to the rim, any way possible, but has a mediocre jump shot game as well. His defense is nothing to laugh at either. Just baffling. I’d argue that much of Diaw’s minutes should have gone to Tyrus but Tyrus was in some minor foul trouble and Boris shot well. However, I feel that Tyrus would be a better match-up against Brand.
  • The whole first quarter – You know you’re in for a bad night when Jodie Meeks has 6 three-pointers in the first quarter and the 76ers double up on the Bobcats, 32-16. I don’t think I need to write any more than that. Awful.
  • Gerald Wallace – He’s just not the same. Maybe opponents have figured out his “bowl-em-over” offense and have learned how to draw him into charges. This isn’t to say there’s no hope, but he’s not playing at an all-star level so far this year. He had 8 points, 5 rebounds, 1 steal and 1 assist tonight.
  • Coaching – I feel stupid. Last year I defended Larry Brown without remorse. He molded the Bobcats into the best defensive team in the league and brought us to the playoffs for the first time. It seemed he could do little wrong. People said that Larry Brown would want out and that we should want him gone too before he got tired of the team. Being the stubborn idiot I am, I refused to believe it. How could the coach that led us from the cellar of the league give up on the team that was only an 8-seed and get lethargic? How wrong I was. Against the Rockets a week ago, Larry Brown was interviewed on national television. He admitted that he still enjoyed the teaching aspect of the game but no longer enjoyed the games. I don’t doubt that whatsoever. It’s obvious Larry still enjoys teaching the game, as shown by his yearly obsession with his pet projects. He gives valuable minutes to role players like Stephen Graham and Dominic McGuire at the cost of developing young talent. And when your claim to fame as a Hall of Fame coach is defense and you give up 26 points to a guy averaging 7.3 points per game, you’re not what you once were. The Bobcats can’t guard the three-pointer. He’s putting in questionable lineups. I can’t help but feel like there’s a lack of confidence or even team chemistry. I just get the feeling that Larry doesn’t even care much anymore. Yes, he yells from the sidelines but that doesn’t mean much to me. Such lethargy by the starters makes me question these things. You can tell me that it’s the tail end of a back-to-back. But I didn’t see this type of effort much last year, though, even on B2Bs. By all means, the Bobcats should have won this game. We’re much more talented and experienced. And yet, we lost by nearly 20 points.
  • And so much more.

Please Bobcats, disprove me. I don’t want you to wallow at the bottom of the NBA. Dr. E said this was a game we needed to win to remain relevant to the Eastern conference playoff discussion. This game proved we are nowhere close at this time. Changes are needed. But Bobcats fans, remain strong. We’ve been through worse; it’s just tough coming after a playoff season that brings great expectations. It’s just a shame that it happened so suddenly and with such a steep decline. On the plus side, I don’t think tickets will be too expensive. SIGH.

- Cardboard Gerald

Bobcats Weekend Preview and… James Johnson?

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With an away-home back-to-back in Detroit tonight and hosting Orlando Saturday night, it was already shaping up to be a busy weekend for the 1-3 Bobcats.  Now we can add a trade rumor to the mix.

Friday Night at Detroit

The Cats are in Detroit tonight looking to build on their first win of the season against the Pistons, who are making a nice case for being the worst team in the league.  The Pistons have been in all of their games except the loss to the Celtics, but are nonetheless winless at 0-5.

What’s worse is that the two biggest Pistons stories of the season are finger-pointing between players and coach over a lack of leadership and Charlie Villanueva’s tattling on Kevin Garnett’s over-the-line trash talk.

The latest scuttlebutt is that in Wednesday’s loss to the Hawks, coach John Kuester benched Rodney Stuckey.  Head over to Detroit Bad Boys for the latest on the Piston’s struggles.

Gametime is 7:30 PM ET and the game will be televised on SportSouth (in HD for Time Warner customers on channel 1510! — a quick check last night showed that 1510 had been added to my channel lineup!).

Saturday night vs Orlando

From one extreme to the other.  The Magic are 2-1, having only played three games because their Tuesday night tilt with the Knicks was postponed due to asbestos in the Garden (weird to type that), but are clearly one of the most dominant teams in the league.  Their loss was an ugly one to the Heat, but their two wins were both absolute throttlings of the Wizards and T-Wolves, by 29 and 42 points, respectively.

The Cats will be looking for a small measure of revenge after getting swept out of the first round of the playoffs last spring, but look no better equipped to combat Dwight Howard and company now than they were then.

Gametime is 7:00 PM ET at the Cable Box.

James Johnson

When Michael Jordan asserted in a recent interview that the “roster churn” was most likely over, we at Bobcats Baseline were skeptical.  The shaky 1-3 start has only reinforced that.

One of the main problems has been mediocre play from Nazr Mohammed (ahem), and a lack of depth behind him.  But with Kwame Brown and Dominic McGuire getting ready to return from injury, I figured Larry Brown and company would at least give those guys a run before making a move.

So I was a little surprised to wake up this morning and see the Bobcats once again leading off Hoopshype.com’s Rumors page.  Via Marc Stein of ESPN.com, the Bobcats and Bulls have been talking about James Johnson.

Johnson is a big, tough 6’9″ 250 lb forward in his second year in the league.  He was drafted 16th overall by the Bulls in the 2009 draft out of Wake Forest and averaged almost 12 minutes per game last year.  He was decent as a rookie, but was looked at as somewhat expendable in the offseason after the Bulls acquisition of Carlos Boozer.

But with Boozer’s preseason boxer’s fracture putting him out for the first several weeks of the season, and Johnson coming into camp in fantastic condition, his future in Chicago was temporarily looking a little brighter.  Johnson’s 2011-12 option was recently picked up by the Bulls after a good preseason, and he had a nice 19 minute/8 point/9 rebound/4 assist/3 block/2 steal/+24 PER night against the Pistons last week.

But with Taj Gibson playing pretty well, Boozer’s return around the corner, and new Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau looking to make his mark on the team and take them deep into the playoffs, Johnson is apparently available again.

What would Larry Brown and the Bobcats be seeing in Johnson?  Probably George Lynch, or Dominic McGuire with a higher ceiling.  Here’s an excellent breakdown of Johnson’s game from Bulls Confidential.

A better question is: what would the Bulls be looking for in return?  They need upgrades at SG and backup PG, but I can’t see the Bobcats being able to accommodate that.  Any ideas, Baseliners?

-Dr. E

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