Bobcats Top Grizzlies On Snow Day

Standard

The Charlotte Bobcats defeated the Memphis Grizzlies 95-82 at the Cable Box on Monday night to improve to 5-2 under coach Paul Silas and 14-21 overall.  Stephen Jackson led the way with 27 points (11-23 FG, 3-7 3PT, 2-2 FT), 6 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 steals as the Bobcats continued to play without injured starters Gerald Wallace and Nazr Mohammed.

AP Recap |  Box Score

Beyond the continued renaissance of the Bobcats under Paul Silas (albeit against marginal competition) and the general listlessness of the Grizzlies (how have they won 17 games?) the other big story was the weather.

Charlotte was hit with six inches of snow Monday, which is more than enough to shut this city down.  As the snow transitioned to sleet and then rain this afternoon, I decided to venture out to the game.  Not many others did.

The Bobcats pulled the curtains on the upper deck and invited everyone down to the lower bowl.  I settled into some sweet club seats along with about 1000 other fans.  It’s always takes me about a quarter to adjust to the view whenever I don’t sit in my regular seats — tonight it was doubly weird with the curtains drawn on the upper deck and the sparseness of the crowd.

But a good time was had by all.  The crowd seemed to appreciate the extraordinary nature of the proceedings and cheered extra loudly.  The hecklers had a field day (primary targets: Zach Randolph and Boris Diaw).  And the Bobcats complied by taking care of business on their home court much like they did during last year’s run to the playoffs.

Notes

  • A quick look at the East standings after the game provides a (weak) argument for not blowing the team up/rebuilding.  With the win, the Bobcats are percentage points out of the 8th playoff spot and only 1 game back in the loss column from the 7th spot.
  • Quintessential Boris Diaw night: 40 minutes, 6 points (3-6 FG, 0-2 3PT), 9 boards, 4 assists, 1 steal, 1 block, 4 turnovers, great defense on Zach Randolph, and several moments of superficially lackadaisical play that had some fans pulling their hair out.
  • Tyrus Thomas fouled out in 17 super-aggressive minutes — got a big hand when he left because of the 4 blocks he had.  Speaking of, can you imagine if you could give Boris some of Ty’s athleticism?  Or give Ty some of Boris’s savvy/pace/control?  Can we combine them?  Scientists?
  • Next game is Wednesday night at the Cable Box against the Bulls, who are 25-12 overall, but only 8-9 on the road.

Bobcats Salvage Road Trip In Memphis

Standard

Charlotte Bobcats @ Grizzlies, 2/26/10

The Charlotte Bobcats defeated the Memphis Grizzlies 93-89 on Friday night to wrap up their 4-game road trip at 1-3.  AP recap here, box score here.

This game was not televised locally, and the news that Michael Jordan will become the controlling owner of the team is overshadowing, so our comments on the game will be pithy.

Needless to say, after dropping the first three games of this road trip, 7 of the last 10 overall and falling out of the eighth spot in the East, this was nearly a must-win.  On top of all that, we have the Mavs, Celtics and Lakers this coming week.

As of Saturday, the Cats are still on the outside looking in regarding the playoffs, a half game back of 8th place Miami.  Both the Bulls (currently 6th) and Bucks (currently 7th) are have won 8 of their last 10 to push the Cats back out.  Basically, every game is huge the rest of the way, and the Cats should be happy to have a relatively benign and home-heavy schedule down the stretch.

The Cats will take the weekend off to rest up, while continuing to work Tyrus Thomas and Theo Ratliff in the mix.  Hopefully, we can get Nazr back to bolster the frontline.  Next game is Monday night, 7 PM ET, hosting Dirk and the Mavs at the Cable Box.

-Dr. E

Wallace Tip-In Gives Bobcats Win At The Buzzer

Standard

Charlotte Bobcats vs Grizzlies, 1/9/10

Whew!

Gerald Wallace tipped in the game winner at the buzzer to give the Charlotte Bobcats an 89-87 win over the Memphis Grizzlies at the Cable Box on Saturday night.  AP recap here, box score here.

After a roller-coaster fourth quarter that featured two huge Flip Murray threes, some inexcusable missed free throws by both teams, and an amazing Gerald Wallace block of an OJ Mayo layup, Mayo was able to hit a game-tying three with 8.8 seconds left, 87-87.  Out of the timeout, the ball went to Raymond Felton.

Felton started his move on DeMarre Carroll with a few seconds left, but Carroll played tough D, pushing Raymond to his right and never allowing him into the lane.  Felton had to throw up a wild runner that missed everything long, but Gerald Wallace was crashing the boards from the opposite side.  Crash timed his jump perfectly, rose up over everybody, caught the miss cleanly and dumped it back into the basket before time expired for the win.

The Bobcats were frankly lucky to have the opportunity to win this one.  Some old bugaboos came back into play: turnovers (18) and missed layups (at least 10) were aplenty.  Stephen Jackson had a poor game statistically (6-20 FG, 0-3 3PT, 6 turnovers) and the bench (save Flip Murray) didn’t play all that well.  The Cats were down by as much as 13 late in the second quarter; they chipped away during the third and finally evened things up halfway through the fourth.

The Grizzlies are one of the league’s pleasant surprises thus far and they showed why tonight.  Even without starting PG Mike Conley (Marcus Williams got the start) they looked good.  OJ Mayo, Rudy Gay and Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol looked like a cohesive bunch.  Hasheem Thabeet even made himself useful with a couple of blocks and a perfect 2-2 FG/2-2 FT night.  The bench is kinda bare, though.

Bullets

  • The Cats improve to 13-4 at home, 16-19 overall; that’s good for 7th place in the Eastern Conference.
  • Any Baseliners struggling with their weight might want to get up with Marc Gasol.  Dude’s personal trainer/nutritionist/chef situation is on point, as he’s gone from Stanley Roberts-esque to Pau Gasol-esque since last year.
  • Tweet of the night comes from Nazr Mohammed: “I’ve played on a couple of teams & with a few allstars. G Wallace is having that type of season. It would b a travesty if he doesn’t make it”  Right on, Naz.
  • Next game is Tuesday night, the Cats are hosting another pleasant surprise from the Western Conference, the Houston Rockets at 7PM ET.

-Dr. E

Let’s Be Realistic

Standard

Five trade scenarios that make sense for the Charlotte Bobcats and the Other Team

5tradeideas

Despite a 2-2 record going into Friday night’s home game against Atlanta, the ’09-’10 Charlotte Bobcats find themselves in a desperate situation.  They can’t score points and the last time I checked, scoring points was somewhat crucial to winning basketball games.  As fellow Baseliner Dr. E has pointed out in his recaps and comments recently, as bad as the Charlotte Bobcats were on offense last year they are even worse this year, ranking dead last in point per contest at 79.8.  To put this into perspective, the 29th team (Milwaukee) is averaging 8 more points per game than the ‘Cats @ 87.7.

This isn’t breaking news as anyone who has suffered the great misfortune of watching the opening 4 games will have come to the same conclusion: This Team Needs to Make a Trade.

First off, a couple of GROUND RULES:

  1. Trades must be logical for both teams, with a slight handicap given to the Bobcats trading partner as we fans tend to view our own players through the eyes of a new parent.  Must make sense for the trading partner first, Bobcats second.
  2. I used the ESPN.com Trade Machine as a reference and the screenshots have been pasted below.  The engine that powers the ‘Cats salary cap situation seems to be a little off so ignore the team’s cap number at the top.  All trades work cap wise for the Bobcats.
  3. The Bobcats have three primary needs: add more consistent scoring, depth at the backup PF spot, maintain or reduce their salary situation.  Trades will reflect one or more of those goals.

So without further ado…

1. The Charlotte Bobcats trade Gana Diop and Raja Bell to the Detroit Pistons for Rip Hamilton

cltdet1a

cltdet1b

Why Detroit Makes the Trade:
This one might seem lopsided at first glance.  Why would any team take on Gana Diop’s bloated, full-mid-level contract?  If the Pistons make this trade now, they’ll be close to $20 million under the salary cap this summer once Raja’s deal comes off the books.  Combine this with the fact that the team already has a nice young three guard rotation of Will Bynum, Rodney Stuckey and Ben Gordon and that makes Hamilton not only expendable but, by essentially shedding half of his contract, the Pistons will automatically put themselves in a situation where they can bid against anybody for any player come July.

Why Charlotte Makes the Trade:
On arrival, Rip would become the most dynamic and consistent outside shooter in team history.  His veteran leadership and ability to hit shots in the 2nd half are EXACTLY the kind of thing this team needs.  He’s a solid defender and knows Coach Brown’s system.  And even though Rip is already 31 years of age, his game looks to age well ala Ray Allen or Reggie Miller.  From a financial standpoint, the Bobcats are essentially trading away the albatross contract of a guy who is not playing (Diop) and receiving a bigger contract for a guy who will start.

2. The Charlotte Bobcats trade Gerald Wallace and Nazr Mohammed to the Golden State Warriors for Stephen Jackson, Ronny Turiaf and Speedy Claxton

cltgs1a

cltgs1b1

Why Golden State Makes the Trade:
Are you kidding me?  S-JAX wanted out of Oakland a month ago and the team replaces an older disgruntled player with a younger, better one.  Warrior Fanatics will absolutely love Wallace in Oak-town.

Why Charlotte Makes the Trade:
There are already rumblings of Jackson coming to Charlotte but I don’t buy the Diaw rumor for an instant.  Boris is the most important piece currently on the Bobcats roster and everybody knows it.  In a situation where Stephen Jackson, a natural SF, comes to the Queen City, Gerald Wallace is the most likely man headed out of town.  While Jackson is a more gifted offensive player, the Bobcats would lose a lot defensively without Wallace.  Not to mention the fact that no one has been more loyal to the Bobcats organization than Crash over his 5+ seasons with the team while Jackson has just demanded a trade from the team that just gave him $35 million.
The reason that Charlotte makes this trade is because Turiaf is a HUGE upgrade at the backup PF/C spots and his toughness and rebounding will be needed when the team battles bigger squads like the Magic, Celtics and Cavs.
The other main reason for making the deal is money.  Claxton would come off of the books this summer and S-JAX’s cap number is lower in every year of his contract than what the team would be paying Wallace.
Bobcats give away a more talented player but get back quantity and cap space?  Sounds like a realistic Bobcats trade to me.

3. The Charlotte Bobcats trade Gerald Wallace to the Memphis Grizzlies for Rudy Gay and Marko Jaric

cltmem1a

cltmem1b

Why Memphis Makes the Trade:
Wallace is still young enough to grow with the Grizzlies’ young players (O.J. Mayo, Mike Conley, Hasheem Thabeet, Marc Gasol) and play right away with their veterans (Zach Randolph and Allen Iverson).  Perhaps more importantly, the trade would save the cheapskate Grizzlies at least $7 million next year as Rudy is likely to sign an extension that would pay him at least $9 million per season.

Why Charlotte Makes the Trade:
First off, let me say that I would feel absolutely terrible sending Crash into a situation like this.  He deserves better.  Unfortunately, it is a business measured in wins and losses and this trade makes a ton of sense for the Bobcats.  They get a younger, more skilled player in Rudy Gay to play the SF spot and would only have to pay Jaric one more season for their troubles.  With the salary cap potentially going even lower this summer, the ‘Cats could probably net Rudy (who’ll be a Restricted FA) for around the same money that they’re currently paying Wallace.

4. The Charlotte Bobcats trade Gerald Wallace to the Portland Trailblazers for Travis Outlaw and Martell Webster

cltpor1a

cltpor1b

Why Portland Makes the Trade:
The Trailblazers have been hot on Wallace for a couple of years now and there were multiple reports of a deal like this going down as recently as this past summer.  You could see why.  Wallace is the perfect fit for the Blazers in that he’s a reliable 3rd or 4th offensive option who doesn’t need plays called for him as he gets his points on sneaky post-ups, drives and put-backs.  He’s great in the open court and could be the final piece that puts Portland in the Western Conference Finals.

Why Charlotte Makes the Trade:
Surprisingly enough, Hollinger’s Analysis really liked this trade for the Bobcats, adding 9 wins to the Bobcats total.  Webster and Outlaw aren’t household names but they are both young and talented and could start for the ‘Cats immediately.  Both guys can shoot it and financially the Bobcats would come up WAY ahead, with Outlaw’s deal expiring this summer and Webster’s reasonable $5 million a year deal extending only through ’11-’12.  In an alternative scenario, the Bobcats could include Derrick Brown in the deal and ask for Nicolas Batum in exchange.  This gives the team insurance if Outlaw decides not to resign and adds yet another talented Frenchmen to the squad.

5. The Charlotte Bobcats trade D.J. Augustin, Raja Bell and Nazr Mohammed to the Sacramento Kings for Kevin Martin and Beno Udrih

cltsac1b

cltsac1a1

Why Sacramento Makes the Trade:
Money.  The once proud Kings are in dire financial shape.  The team is going nowhere on the court and (probably) somewhere else off of it.  Between now and the summer of 2013, the Kings owe Martin $45 million.  During the same time frame, Sacramento owes Udrih (a decent backup PG) $27.5 million.  Making this trade with the Bobcats would save the Kings around $60 million over the next four seasons and provide them with a young PG to run the floor with rookie phenom Tyreke Evans.

Why Charlotte Makes the Trade:
An additional $60 million in salary commitments.  Any chance in hell that Bob Johnson would say yes to a trade like this?  I say yes and here’s why: Kevin Martin is currently averaging 30pts per freakin’ game.  And he’s only 26 years old.  And this is not a fluke as Martin has averaged over 20pts per game over the past three seasons.  Sure, his defense doesn’t exactly scream “Larry Brown Caliber” but Kevin Martin would be the perfect medicine for a team desperately looking for some offense.  As bad as Udrih’s contract is, he’s not a terrible backup PG and combined with Felton, would make a nice platoon with Martin in the backcourt.
Oh, and Hollinger’s Analysis adds 13 wins to the ‘Cats win total if a deal like this were to go down.  Thirteen more wins is a good thing, right?

-ASChin

Charlotte Bobcats vs. Grizzlies 1/21/09

Standard

1.  Sleepy, sloppy win for the Bobcats at the Cable Box tonight, 101-86 over the Grizzlies.  AP story here, box score here.  The Bobcats move to 17-25.

2.  This one bore some superficial similarity to the Bobcats win over the Grizzlies in Memphis a few weeks ago, in that the Bobcats cruised to a relatively easy victory against a listless, overmatched Memphis squad both times. It’s really nice to see the Cats continue to take care of business against the handful of teams in the league that they’re actually better than.

3.  After some nice crowds recently, attendance was pretty down tonight — and for the first three quarters, the fans that were there didn’t have much reason to get excited.  This game was not played at a high level from an energy or execution standpoint.  The two teams combined for forty turnovers and generally looked like they had agreed to a secret pact before the game to play at half speed.

All that said, the Bobcats were clearly the better team, and were able to pull away in the fourth quarter by tightening up their defense and getting some easy buckets of offense.

4.  Through those first three slow-played quarters, Raja Bell was the only Bobcat who could get anything going.  He hit mid-range jumper after mid-range jumper to pace the Cats with 25 points.  And in another similarity to the fist time these two teams played, Bell hounded OJ Mayo into a distinctly below-average game.

5.  The rest of the Bobcats starters had solid games: Emeka Okafor had a man’s game, with 20 points (6-9 FG, 8-12 FT), 15 rebounds (4 offensive), 3 steals and 3 blocks.  Diaw was sorta quiet, but ended with a patented 8 point, 8 rebound, 7 assist game.  Wallace had a Diaw-esque game with 13 points, 9 assists, 7 rebounds and 4 steals.  Felton shot the ball pretty well (7-13 FG for 19 points) but had an unsightly six turnovers.

6.  And that’s about it for the Cats tonight.  The bench was pretty awful — just look at the +/- numbers on the boxscore.  DeSagana Diop made his debut for the Cats, playing three quiet, forgettable minutes after receiving a nice hand from the crowd.  Adam Morrison played 13 brutal minutes, shooting 1-3 and grabbing five rebounds, but committing three turnovers (two on travelling violations) and two fouls.  He’s passing up decent shots and basically looking skittish out there.

I hate to have to say this about a rookie (he shouldn’t have this much pressure on him) but the team is really missing Augustin’s scoring and leadership off the bench.  With Carroll gone, Morrison a mess, and Augustin likely to move into the starting linuep if/when Felton is traded, I shudder to think about our backcourt depth down the stretch.  Here’s your opportunity, Shannon Brown.

7.  Re: the Grizzlies?  Now granted, I have a biased sample to go on (2 losses to the Bobcats) but this team plays with no heart whatsoever.  Rudy Gay is very talented, but the knock on him coming out of college (doesn’t have the temperment/personality to lead) is proving to be true.  He disappears from games far too easily.  OJ Mayo works hard and is very fundamentally sound, but has looked very pedestrian in the two Bobcats games.  And they’re a mess at point guard — Mike Conley looks OK, but had a frightening -23 +/- tonight.

8.  Man, watching Darius Miles in person made me hate the Trailblazers even more for what they tried to do to him.  He’s clearly still an NBA player, and for a guy who’s still working his way back into game shape, looks pretty springy out there.  I’m just impressed that he’s been able to keep his mouth shut about the raw deal the Blazers tried to give him — I’d be spewing all sorts of vitriol their way if I were him.  Congratulations, Trailblazers: you did the impossible and turned Darius Miles into a sympathetic figure!

9.  Next game should be a good one — Friday night at the Cable Box against Phoenix.  Though they’re no longer playing D’Antoni’s Seven Seconds or Less style, the Suns are still a marquee team with Nash, Stoudemire and Shaq.  And there’s the added significance that, since the big J-Rich for Diaw & Bell trade, both teams are playing their best ball of the season.

Go Cats!

-E

Charlotte Bobcats @ Grizzlies 12/19/08

Standard

1) Surprisingly easy win on the road tonight against the Memphis Grizzlies, 112-83.  AP story here, box score here.  The Bobcats get just their second road win of the season, improving to 9-18 overall.  The Grizz, who had won 5 of their last 8, fall to 9-17.

2) Another day, another trade rumor for the Bobcats.  Thursday morning, Rick Bonnell reported that the Warriors and Bobcats were talking about a Raymond Felton for Anthony Randolph OR Brandan Wright deal.  Though I’m an avowed Raymond Felton fan/apologist, the play of DJ Augustin and the potential of both of those young Warrior forwards had me saying YES YES YES just like Rufus on Fire was.

Later Thursday, ESPN’s John Hollinger included this comment in his “Insider Gems” column:

“…the Warriors would be absolutely nuts to trade Wright. His 20.23 PER is among the best at his position, though achieved in limited minutes. He also played well in his rare opportunities last season and had a strong freshman year at North Carolina. All the evidence samples are small, but combined, we have three data points that suggest he should play and none that argue against his playing.”

Nothing’s gone down yet, but Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury news reported Friday afternoon on his blog that things in Warrior-land are very tense right now; anything could happen.

3) Gotta call out Bobcats TV analyst Henry Williams, who was rocking an awful, pea-green, Craig Sager-wannabe number tonight.  Awful — words can’t do it justice.

4) So anyways, a great game by the Bobcats tonight.  Probably the best game they have played all year — everything was working.  Midway through his fantastic first quarter, Emeka Okafor got two straight buckets to give the Cats a 15-10 lead, and they never looked back.  The Cats won every single quarter, and save for a short stretch late in the third where we settled for some marginal shots, always looked in control.  The Cats finished the game shooting 65.8 % (a franchise record!), dominated the boards 41-23, and had 35 assists.

5) Okafor had yet another strong game, with 25 points on 11-16 FG, 7 rebounds, 3 assists and 1 block.  He made several strong post moves (against the Grizzlies admittedly underwhelming duo of Darko Milicic and Marc Gasol) and got a bunch of easy buckets on putbacks and feeds from Boris and Raymond.  Okafor is really playing well with Diaw; let’s keep an eye on this going forward.

6) Speaking of Diaw, he has to get player-of-the-game honors tonight, going for 26 points (11-13 FG, 4-4 3PT), 10 rebounds and 3 assists.  He has looked more motivated since coming to the Bobcats than he has in years, and is an immense upgrade over the Sean May/Jared Dudley PF-by-committee that we had been seeing.

7) Great to see Gerald Wallace back in the lineup: 22 points (9-11 FG), 9 rebounds and 4 steals.  The Cats didn’t need much else; Matt Carroll was the only other Bobcat in double figures with 10.  DJ only shot 3 times tonight, and ended up with 10 assists versus 2 points.  Not often you’re going to see that kind of ratio from DJ.

8) First good game for Raja Bell tonight, as he absolutely shut down Memphis super-rookie OJ Mayo. Mayo went 2-10 for 7 points in 28 minutes, well under his gaudy 20.8 PPG average.

9) Memphis has real trouble at their PG spot.  They started Kyle Lowry, but gave more minutes to Mike Conley — neither were effective.  At one point in the second half, Conley nervously passed up an open look at a three, which drew the ire of all 17 Grizzlies fans in attendance.  Conley’s still just a 21-year-old second-year player; nonetheless, the Grizzlies have to be disappointed that he hasn’t shown much progress.

10) Next game is Saturday night, hosting the Warriors at the Cable Box at 7:00.  Another Saturday night in December, another holiday party — which means I’m passing my tickets to Mom & Dad again and will be DVRing the game (that is, if my dubious Time Warner cable box cooperates).

Could be interesting, what with the Bobcats playing so well tonight and the Warriors in the midst of a tough stretch in their schedule and apparently at DEFCON 2.

-E

MEMPHIS? A LOSS TO MEMPHIS?

Standard

The Charlotte Bobcats are bad on the road. Actually, they’re horrible on the road, but they really should have pulled one out against the Memphis Grizzlies. What an embarrassing show for the ‘Cats on Monday night.

Head Coach Sam Vincent had very little to contribute to the game, but that may be his orders. Perhaps, his team is on course to tank the season. Well, no one needs to make excuses for Sam Vincent. He’s done plenty of that himself. As well, “tanking” wouldn’t excuse the first four months of the season for Vincent.

When the entire picture comes together, it appears that the Bobcats really didn’t have enough interest in the playoffs this season.  Memphis was clearly the easy pick up for any team in that last desperation dash for a final seed.  Though they could be considered the worst team in the league, the Bobcats just couldn’t keep up with the Grizzlies for a game that the broadcast team labeled a “must-win.”  If you follow this team, you should be happy that the ‘Cats won’t be matched up with a top-seeded team in the first round.  They’ve experienced enough blowouts over the regular season and the series would almost certainly result in the most lop-sided match-up in recent NBA Playoff history.