No Call. Jack’s Not Paranoid At All

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Three NBA Referees Refuse to Acknowledge Darren Collison’s Last-Second Foul on Stephen Jackson’s Shot Attempt in the Indiana Pacers 104-103 Win Over the Bobcats.

AP Recap | Box Score

Seldom does a professional game come down to one single call by the referees, and never have I seen a more obvious instance of the referees influence on the outcome of a game than during Charlotte’s visit to Indiana on Wednesday night. The NBA officials sent a message to Stephen Jackson and erased the Bobcats comeback efforts in the fourth quarter when they decided to look the other way, shirk their responsibilities, and leave the floor without reviewing the final seconds of the contest. It was clear that Pacers guard Darren Collison made contact with Jackson’s arm as he attempted a long-range shot to win the game. Although one official was quick to blow an “inadvertent whistle” earlier in the 4th, no member of the officiating crew was willing to exert enough lung power to call this obvious foul on the player with the ball in the closing seconds.

Stephen Jackson has gotten a load of crap from the local writers about being too preoccupied with the officiating. The Charlotte Observer’s Scott Fowler had written a particularly silly piece about Jackson’s paranoia – only to be proven wrong by the officials clear dismissal of the foul that would have determined the outcome of the game (which also has Playoff position implications). Fowler’s article opens with “Grow Up, Stephen Jackson… The world is not out to get you.” With that storyline running, the Pacers game felt a lot like the WWE, actually.

Like most wrestling bad guys, “heels” as they call ‘em, Jack is known to blow up at the officials but he’s a hell of a player that can’t be overlooked. The fans know his character, and they expect to see him called for a technical foul or break the rules in someway. After Jackson’s tirade and ejection from the Boston game, the local media framed a tale in which the fans could turn on Jackson for his impulsive and argumentative nature. The basic logic of the argument against  Jack is that he should not question the authority, because the authority is not to be questioned (of course, they would never fix a game or make preferential calls). The big flaw in this setup is that the NBA officials are out to get Stephen Jackson. Maybe not every one of them is after Jack, but it’s clear the majority of the refs would never give Jackson the kind of calls that they would give equally high-performing shooting guards in the league.

Would Paul Pierce have gotten the foul call against the Pacers? Would Dwyane Wade have gotten that call? Would Joe Johnson have gotten that call?

We all know that just about any other guy in the league would have gotten the foul call, and received free throws to close that game. The problem isn’t so much that the Bobcats were screwed against the Pacers, it’s that Stephen Jackson was screwed under the lights, in plain sight and the team just has to live with it.

After the game, Stephen Jackson said very little about the call, “I’ll let you look at it.”

Now under  the story patterns of the WWE, this is when Jackson can undergo the “face turn” – making the once hated heel into the “babyface” good guy. It’s clear that he’s playing against the refs every night. He can step up and win games for the Bobcats despite the officials’ disrespect of him or he can focus on that disrespect and let it consume him. I think most wrestling fans would enjoy that he do both (win the title belt, and hit the ref with a chair). In the NBA, it seems that he’s only got one path available. Jackson will never win the respect or adoration that the refs have for Lebron, Kobe, or Wade. But, he can fight through the officiating and to win some games.

Quick Game Notes

The Bobcats got out to a quick 8-0 lead, but then handed the momentum to the Pacers who ran off 11 points and held the lead until the final period. For most of the game, Charlotte seemed to be in 2nd gear and waiting for the last 10 minutes to step it up. The Cats showed much more energy in the 4th and pulled within a score. Then, an “inadvertent” whistle punished the Bobcats for great defense (trapping Danny Granger in the corner) and the Pacers countered with four points in a single trip down court. The “inadvertent whistle” didn’t seem so much like an intentional call to assist Granger, just a really big, obvious error by the official. You could have felt sympathetic for such a screw up, had the last seconds of the game not been such an outright slap in the face to the rules of basketball. Still, the apparent injustice may have fueled the Bobcats as they continued to fight, closing on the Pacers until the final possession.

Performances

Gerald Wallace played strong throughout the game, and it was great to see Gerald Henderson showing assertiveness.

DJ Augustin is really showing moments of leadership on the floor. His time with Larry Brown had to end, but I think he’ll have gained something from it. I’m glad to see his new presence and improved performance. D.J. 2.0 is for real.

Eduardo Najera got serious minutes down the stretch, with the absence of Kwame Brown. Eddie hit a big three and hustled for crucial rebounds and smart defense. Najera has really seized the opportunity to contribute, and it’s nice for the Cats to have a veteran like this on the roster.

While Stephen Jackson was the team’s high scorer, he looked horrible until crunch time – where he was as clutch as usual.

-Mike S.

POLL : Foul On S. Jackson Against Pacers

  • Referees Intentionally Missed It (52%, 27 Votes)
  • Referees Made A Mistake (12%, 6 Votes)
  • Referees Were Confused (2%, 1 Votes)
  • Referees Dismissed S. Jackson (34%, 18 Votes)

Total Voters: 52

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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 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 Make Grizzlies Look Like Celtics

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Bobcats Are Actually 33 Points Worse Than The Grizzlies

AP Recap | Box Score

This game was over after the first quarter. A 33 point loss to the Memphis Grizzlies, yea the freakin’ Grizzlies, showed all the flaws of the Charlotte Bobcats. Every blemish on this club became a crater, and I don’t think I’ve ever been so disappointed as a fan.

Without Gerald Wallace (busted ankle from the Toronto game), no other Bobcat made the effort to step up in his place. Charlotte’s offense fell apart in the second quarter and they had no intention on playing defense at all. It was clearly a bad situation when the TV broadcast was showing D-Mac highlights on the way back from half-time (with Charlotte down 36-59). Somehow, the Bobcats forgot how to play basketball during the second quarter and they spent the rest of the night making the Memphis Grizzlies look like the Harlem Globetrotters.

Lately, I’ve contemplated the need to keep Bobcats Baseline running. Tonight’s horrible Memphis beat-down made me seriously consider giving up on this team. I mean, how can we keep watching this outfit? Without Gerald Wallace, the team has no finishers. Co-captain Stephen Jackson was absolutely useless on the court. He’s done, and Charlotte is stuck trying to use him as a go-to guy. It’s clear that his antics have worn on the coach. After the game, Old LB vented about his team’s effort,”No effort, no teamwork, guys don’t run back… blaming it on the referees.” He sounds about as enthused as this disheartened Cats apologist. Coach Brown seems sick of trying to motivate this team, and I’m kind of getting sick of expecting anything from them. If this is all part of the cycle Larry uses to bust up the roster, then I’m board. Things have got to change.

If you’ve seen the Charlotte Bobcats you may notice that they like to spend a lot of time on the court without scoring basketball points. I’m not sure why they’ve made this strategic decision, but it’s apparently the result of the coach’s game plan. I used to be a big supporter of defensive-oriented teams. Overall, it’s not a bad idea if you don’t have mega-talent on your roster and you want to keep games close. Now, it’s tough to support that approach if your team can’t actually play defense or keep games close. So, will Larry Brown give up on trying to force his team into his ideal mold or will Brown need to adapt to the talent that he’s got? My bet would be that Larry’s not gonna budge an inch, leaving the team to support him or tune him out (or has that already happened?).

So what’s next?

A day off until Friday’s game against Atlanta. It’s unlikely that Gerald Wallace will be back in time to play the Hawks, so we might see another 20-30 point dismantling in Georgia. Will Jordan step in and help Larry shake up the roster? If not, how long does Larry Brown stick around?

-Mike

POLL : What Will Be Next For The Bobcats?

  • Larry Brown Will Resign (22%, 15 Votes)
  • Larry Brown Will Be Fired (10%, 7 Votes)
  • Stephen Jackson Will Be Traded (55%, 37 Votes)
  • Gerald Wallace Will Be Traded (13%, 8 Votes)

Total Voters: 67

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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