The home opener has arrived! After dropping the season opener to the Mavs in Dallas in Wednesday night, the Charlotte Bobcats will be taking on the Indiana Pacers on Friday night at Time Warner Cable Arena, aka The Cable Box. Tipoff is at 7:00 PM ET.
The Pacers come in also 0-1 after losing 122-109 in San Antonio on Wednesday night, despite Roy Hibbert’s big 28/9/3/3 statline. The Pacers start new addition Darren Collison at the point, Mike Dunleavy and Danny Granger on the wings, and Josh McRoberts and the aforementioned Hibbert on the blocks. Lottery pick Paul George, veteran James Posey, and onetime Bobcat trade target TJ Ford are also in the rotation. Meanwhile, former Tarheel favorite Tyler “Psycho-T” Hansbrough pulled a DNP-CD in the Pacers opener.
The Pacers don’t play much D, so look for the Bobcats to get some offense going. I’d like to see Jack have a big night against Dunleavy, in particular — especially because he was quiet in the opener and finished that game on the bench.
When the Bobcats are on defense, I’d watch out for the Augustin/Collison matchup. Collison is one of the faster points in the league, the kind that DJ struggles to stay in front of.
Charlotte can’t overcome Stephen Jackson’s worst game as a Bobcat as they lose 98-94 to the Clips on the road, falling a game below .500 (27-28) and deadlocked with Milwaukee for 8th place in the Conference. The ‘Cats trail early, turn the ball over, play defense for around two thirds of the game and can’t withstand a late charge by the home team. Any of this sound familiar?
The story of the game for the Bobcats has to be Stephen Jackson’s “Jamison“-like stinkbomb. JAX went 1-16 from the field and ended up fouling out late in the fourth with 7pts, 5asts, 5TOs, and 6 boards. He never got it going and the ‘Cats threw away a winnable road game thanks to the backcourt’s poor shooting. JAX and backup point guard D.J. Augustin combined to go 2-24 from the field. Ouch.
Jackson was lucky to not be T’d up several times as he repeatedly directed his frustration onto the officials. Before tonight’s game, JAX had scored in double figure in ALL of his 45 games with the Bobcats.
The fact that Jackson’s stinker came a day after his “tired from fatigue” comments doesn’t bode well for a team that has no real backup at the shooting guard position. Hopefully the coaches will stop rubber cementing Gerald Henderson to the bench from this point on. One positive note from this development: It did seem as if Jackson’s frustration came from his inability to help his teammates when they needed him, rather than some ego-fueled scorer’s rage. You like to see that in a player.
How ‘Bout Them Clippers!
For people still wondering why Mike Dunleavy is still employed in any capacity, just take a look at the talented roster he’s assembled in the past couple of years:
Baron Davis: B-Diddy can still bring it when he’s motivated and has at least another 3-4 solid years in him.
Chris Kaman: Has mastered the 15-foot pick & pop, is a solid rebounder and has apparently vowed to add a 3-point shot to his arsenal in the next two years.
Too bad that Hollywood has moved on to 3D for all of its monsters, freaks & aliens. Kaman could have picked up a lot of side-work in the offseason as sort of a poor man’s Peter Mayhew.
Eric Gordon, DeAndre Jordan, Blake Griffin: Three solid prospects picked in the last few drafts, two of which have All-Star potential.
Craig Smith, Travis Outlaw: Talented guys in their mid-20s who could definitely be in the rotation for a contending club.
Steve Blake, Rasual Butler, Drew Gooden: Quality “Rent-a-Veteran” players who make enough plays every night to put your team in a position to win.
Add in a MAXplayer like Joe Johnson or Chris Bosh (they have the cap space to do it) and a real coach and this team could be VERY GOOD next year.
The Clips went nine deep tonight and (unlike the Bobcats, who essentially got production from five guys with Nazr out with a back and D.J./JAX ineffective), ALL NINE PLAYERS contributed. It was death by a thousand cuts with Butler dropping corner threes at will, Eric Gordon scoring the ball from everywhere on the court and Baron balling in spurts like it was the year 2000. Six players dropped double figures for LA while new backup PG Steve Blake notched 7 assists. Good times to be a Clips fans.
Who Steps Up?
The Bobcats rallied hard in the third quarter when they erased the Clips’ 13-point lead at the 6:36 mark and went up 64-62. They couldn’t hold on as no one (aside from Boris Diaw) could step up their game in Jax’s absence. Gerald Wallace had one of his super-stats games (32pts, 12rbs, 4steals, 5asts) but he’s not the team’s Go-To guy in the 4th. That’s JAX’s job and tonight he just wasn’t delivering. Raymond tried but couldn’t do it. Boris was aggressive and could have nailed a three with 2:50 to go that would have put the Cats up by six but it rimmed out.
The Bobcats will need to find a strategy that will allow them to win games even if their clutch scorer is cold. Hope they figure it out soon.
Tyrus Thomas (10pts, 4rbs, 3blks) showcased both a fifteen AND a twenty footer. He also had a nice post scoop & score on Jordan in the second half from the block. Didn’t realize he had these moves already. Hopefully LB will stick around at least for another season to help tutor T2 to the next level.
Diaw looked great tonight and nearly logged the franchise’s first triple double with 20pts, 9rbs, 9asts. He looked aggressive and alert. Clippers broadcast team was gushing over him all night.
As much as I loved Crash’s line tonight, I HATED the number in the minutes column: 48. How is this team going to make the Playoffs when the top two guys are already running on fumes? Coach Brown needs to suck it up and let Gerald Henderson & Derrick Brown play through some mistakes. Besides, they can’t be any worse than Augustin, right?
Who would you rather have: DeAndre Jordan ($736,000) or Tyson Chandler ($12 ka-gillion)?
Bobcats should be sold by the end of the month. Word has it that MJ has until the 28th to match the Postolos Group offer. We’ll have an in-depth article on this later on in the week.