Bobcats Keep The Turnovers a Turnin’ in Brewtown

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The Bobcats lose their third straight to start the season against the heretofore winless Bucks, 98-88.

AP Recap | Box Score

OBSERVATIONS:

  • Well, I’m really glad that they used the summer to work out those turnover issues.  After leading the League last season in giveaways, the Bobcats continue their sloppy ways by handing the ball over 18 times to the Bucks.  Not counted amongst the eighteen where a baker’s dozen errant jump shots hoisted mostly by Nazr Mohammed, Gana Diop and the previously golden Tyrus Thomas.  Aside from having an otherwise strong game, D.J. Augustin did his best Emeka Okafor/Raymond Felton hybrid impersonation by repeatedly driving deep into the lane and getting swatted down by Son of Gondor Andrew Bogut.  If the Bobcats hope to sniff the Postseason again this year, they’ll need to start taking better shots and better care of the ball pronto.
  • Stellar games from the PGs in this one.  D.J. nailed 5 of his 6 threes to go for a total of 26 points with 5 assists and only a single documented turnover.  2nd year phenom Brandon Jennings celebrated his first career triple double, notching 20pts, 10rbs, 10asts.  Augustin’s shot looked as smooth as ever and he did a much better job of fighting through opposing high screens after being demolished by them a night ago.
  • Story of the game was Andrew Bogut.  He’s one of the handful of centers in the League who can influence a game at both ends and I dare say if he had the same crew as Mr. Howard down in O-Town, we might be talking about him as the League’s best.  14pts, 8rbs, 4blks in just 33 minutes of action.  I hope we’ll see Bogut and Superman matched up this spring.  Bobcats had no answer for him tonight as Nazr continued to regress from last year’s “Fluke Rule” season and Gana Diop continued to be Gana Diop.
  • Boris Diaw is officially sloppy fat.  My wife read a book titled, “French Women Don’t Get Fat.”  Apparently French Ballers do.  The weight is starting to effect his play.  He’s having a much harder time getting in defensive position and officially starts getting winded somewhere around “…and the Home of the Brave.
  • Three years in and I’d like to fancy myself a Larry Brown quasi-expert.  And judging from the look on his face and the body language, I think it’s safe to say that he’s not losing any sleep over an 0-3 start.  Let’s face it, his teams start slow every year and then around the late-November/early December mark the organization makes a big trade and they go on a run.  I’m not panicking until at least Thanksgiving.  Meanwhile, the team has some nice depth, a ton of athleticism and at least a handful of real deal NBA players on the roster for the first time in franchise history.

Until Next Time…

Enjoy the Loss Bobcats Fans,

-ASChin

Bobcats Gut Out Overtime Win Over Bucks

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Charlotte Bobcats vs Bucks, 4/2/10


The Charlotte Bobcats scored a tough overtime win over the Milwaukee Bucks, 87-86 on Friday night at the Cable Box.  The teams exchanged defensive blows all night amidst a playoff atmosphere, with Stephen Jackson (32 points) supplying the offense for the Cats.

Though the ruggedness of the game had a distinct mid-90s feel (generally regarded as an ugly period of basketball for the NBA), this was one of the most fun games I’ve attended in the past two seasons. Bring on more playoff basketball.

AP recap here |  Box score here

This one was intense right from the get-go, and tight throughout.  The biggest lead either team held was 7, by the Bucks halfway though the second quarter.  That was just after Larry Brown was ejected after arguing about a non-call, inciting a brief “Lar-ry, Lar-ry, Lar-ry” chant from the crowd.  Assistant Dave Hanners assumed the lead role the rest of the way.

The Bobcats appeared to be primed for victory late in regulation after Jack hit a monster three with just over two minutes left to put the Cats up 76-73.  The Bobcats maintained that three point buffer, only to see John Salmons bury a contested three to tie it at 80 with 10 seconds left.

The Cats called timeout to set up a gamewinner, but Raymond Felton only managed a contested jumper that was off the mark.

The slugfest continued in overtime until Stephen Jackson stepped back and drained a deep three (again) with under a minute left to put the Cats up three 87-84.  After Salmons responded with a bucket to cut the Cats lead to one, disaster nearly struck.

With the shot clock running down and about 20 seconds left in the game, Jack was working against Bucks defensive bulldog Luc Mbah a Moute.  Mbah a Moute poked the ball away and a mad scramble ensued.  Jack was able to get a hand on it first and drew a foul on Mbah a Moute in the process — ball could’ve bounced the other way just as easily.

The Cats weren’t in the bonus, so had to inbound the ball.  The Bucks decided not to foul with a four-second shot clock/game clock differential.  Raymond worked himself free for another chance at a game-clinching shot and missed again, but Tyson Chandler was able to get a hand on the rebound and tip it back out to Felton, who grabbed it as time expired to seal the win.

It was an appropriate finish as the Cats only shot 37.5% on the game — they made up for it at the free throw line, making 20 free throws to the Bucks 10.  It was as if both teams, the officials and the fans all agreed early on that this was going to be physical, intense playoff-style basketball.  And the Cats were up to the challenge.

Tidbits

  • Tyrus Thomas (ankle) played a few minutes in the second quarter, but didn’t get back into the game after that.
  • Nazr Mohammed (back) dressed but did not play.  Gerald Henderson was inactive.
  • Stephen Graham was awesome in 10 minutes off the bench: 7 points on 3-4 FG and 1-2 3PT.  Larry Hughes was decidedly not awesome off the bench: 0-7 FG in 16 minutes.
  • The loss actually drops the Bucks back into 6th place as the Heat continue to surge against their weak schedule downthe stretch.  Tonight it was the Pacers who were unable to do us a solid in falling to the Heat.  The Cats are now a game-and-a-half behind the 5th place Heat and one game behind 6th place Milwaukee.
  • The Bobcats travel to Chicago to face the Bulls Saturday night.  The Bulls are on the outside looking in — four games behind the Cats and a game-and-a-half behind 8th place Toronto — and would love nothing more than to take us down.  8 PM ET start on SportSouth.

-Dr. E


Bobcats Salvage Road Trip In Memphis

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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

Bobcats Comeback Bid Falls Short In Milwaukee

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Charlotte Bobcats @ Bucks, 2/20/10

A night after a rousing victory over the Cavaliers, the Bobcats fell on the road to the Milwaukee Bucks 93-88 on Saturday.  AP recap here, box score here.  The Cats have fallen back to .500 at 27-27.

Like they frequently do on the road, the Cats came out flat, falling behind by 10 early and 15 by half.  Behind a balanced attack of Brandon Jennings, Andrew Bogut and John Salmons, the Bucks eventually extended their lead to 20 early in the third quarter.  Raymond Felton and DJ Augustin both had trouble keeping the lightning-fast Jennings in front of them, while failing to make Jennings play much defense by shooting a combined 3-16 FG.

Midway through the third quarter the Bobcats began chipping away behind Stephen Jackson, who would finish with a game-high 35 points on 14-25 FG.  Tyrus Thomas was again a force inside, finishing with 11 rebounds and 4 blocks.

The Cats would eventually cut the Bucks lead down to three at 86-83 with 2:20 left on a Jackson layup, but couldn’t get any closer.  After a Carlos Delfino free throw increased the Bucks lead to four, Steven Jackson committed a completely unforced turnover to end the Cats comeback bid.  Jackson simply lost his dribble, giving John Salmons the easiest steal he’s ever had.  Worse yet, Jack grabbed Salmons for a clear path foul, which really ended things.

Bric-A-Brac

  • This was a particularly bad night for the Bobcats not to show up on the road.  The race for the 6-8th playoff spots in the East is between the Bulls, Heat, Bobcats and Bucks.  After the loss, the Bobcats are clinging to the 8th spot, just one game ahead of the Bucks.
  • Additionally, with the loss, the Cats lost the chance to hold the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Bucks.  The Bucks now lead the season series 2-1 with one game (April 4th) to go.
  • Nazr looks really limited by his back.  We really could have used his low-post scoring to weather the cold start.  Maybe he can get his hands on some medicinal marijuana out in LA to loosen it up.
  • Next game is Monday night against the Clippers, 10:30 PM ET start.

-Dr. E

Wallace Leads Bobcats To Another Home Win

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Charlotte Bobcats vs Bucks, 12/28/09

Seriously, I’m Running Out Of Angles Here

The Charlotte Bobcats get another solid win on the home floor Monday night, 94-84 over the struggling Milwaukee Bucks.  AP recap here, box score here.  The Cats are now 11-4 at home; but their dismal 1-13 road record has them at just 12-17 overall.  The Bucks have now lost 14 out of their last 18 to drop to a matching 12-17.

The Cats took control in the second quarter with excellent defense and cruised to a 22 point halftime lead.  Scott Skiles, unhappy with the Bucks’ first half performance, benched starters Andrew Bogut and Michael Redd in the second half.  Redd, in particular, looked awful.  I have to wonder if he’s done.  In looking at his game log, I’m surprised to see he went for 32 points against the Wiz last week — he looks like he’d have trouble mustering double digits.

The Bucks made a bit of a run in the fourth quarter but never seriously threatened.  The Cats outshot and outrebounded the Bucks by just a bit, and kept their turnovers a bit lower than the season average.

The Cats were led by Gerald Wallace, who finished with 21 points (7-13 FG, 7-9 FT), 14 rebounds and 4 assists.  Pretty much your standard Gerald Wallace game.  Raymond Felton continued his solid play with 11 points (4-6 FG, 2-3 3PT), 6 rebounds, 3 assists and no turnovers.  Steven Graham had a nice game off the bench with 11 points in 18 minutes.

Gana Diop deserves special mention.  With Tyson Chandler out, Nazr Mohammed deservedly got the starting nod again.  However, Nazr had to sit early with two fouls and Gana was pressed into early and extensive action.  Gana acquitted himself well with 7 points on 3-4 FG with 3 rebounds and a block in 12 minutes.  He even hit a free throw.  Of course, he airballed another — that’s our Gana!

Tidbits

  • The dichotomy between the Bobcats’ home and road records continues to mystify.  At 11-4, the home record is better than Dallas or Boston’s.  But the 1-13 road record is only bested (worsted?) by the abysmal New Jersey Nets.  The only other team with a similar split is New Orleans: the Hornets are 11-3 at home, 2-12 on the road.
  • Speaking of dichotomies: how is it that Brandon Jennings couldn’t get any playing time last year in Italy, yet he is essentially running a decent NBA team this year?  Even though he’s hit the rookie wall pretty hard and a bit early, dude is still a player.
  • Luke Ridnour and Micheal Cera — separated at birth?
  • Gerald Henderson really should be sent to the D-League to get some regular playing time.  He’s not getting any regular minutes now, and when he does get some garbage time, really seems to be pressing.
  • Next game is Wednesday night in Toronto, 7 PM ET start.  This would seem like a good opportunity for the Cats to get a road win, as the Bobcats manhandled the soft Raptors in their first meeting back in October.  However, that game was in Charlotte, and the Raptors are on a season-best 4 game win streak right now.

-Dr. E

Charlotte Bobcats vs. Bucks 1/3/09

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1.  After getting beat soundly in Milwaukee last night, the Bobcats returned the favor tonight in CLT, with a 102-92 victory.  AP story here, box score here.  Cats improve to 12-22; Bucks fall to 16-19.

2.  The story of the game was probably that Andrew Bogut sat out with back spasms, leaving Dan Gadzuric and Fransisco Elson to patrol the paint for the Bucks.  Neither did a particularly good job, and the Bobcats exploited the lack of interior defense just enough to tilt the balance in their favor.

3.  Gerald Wallace, in particular, attacked the paint over and over in the second half.  Crash ended up leading the Cats with 24 points (7-17 FG, 9-10 FT), 3 rebounds, 3 steals, 2 assists and 1 block.  He had a couple of key plays in the fourth quarter: first was a dunk off a baseline inbounds lob with 7:30 left to pump the lead back up to 16 (86-70).  The easy bucket steadied the Bobcats, who had settled for jump shots on the previous couple of possessions and allowed the Bucks reserves to chip away at the lead.

The other big one came with about 4:30 left.  Villanueva hit a short bank shot to keep the Bucks hanging around (down 16), but was frustrated at not drawing a foul call on the shot (he had a case, from my vantage point).  On the other end, Wallace grabbed an offensive rebound and took it right by Villanueva, who corralled him around the head on the layup attempt (see picture above).  Wallace popped up ready to scrap, but cooler heads prevailed.  A flagrant 1 was called, which further frustrated Villanueva.  Wallace hit both free throws, then drew another shooting foul on Villanueva on the ensuing possession.  Villanueva eventually picked up a technical.  Carroll hit that free throw, then Wallace hit the two from his jump shot.

End result: a 5 point possession that gave the Cats a 21 point lead (98-77) with a little over 4 minutes left.  The Bucks made a meaningless push after that to get to the final tally of 102-92.

4.  Diaw had another strong game: 21 points (8-11 FG, 2-3 3PT), 6 rebounds, 7 assists.  When he plays like this in a win, the trade looks pretty darn good.  He is head and shoulders above what we were putting on the court at the 4 spot.

5.  Okafor had 14 points on 5-8 FG and 4-6 FT.  Only 6 boards tonight.  The Bobcats probably could have pulled away sooner had the pushed the ball into Okafor more in the first half; there was a really satisfying stretch late in the third where the Bucks tried to go small and have Villanueva guard Okafor.  Charlie V tried to front his college teammate, but Okafor worked hard to get open; his teammates found him for 5 quick points in just 2 minutes, and Bucks coach Scott Skiles had to pull the plug on the Villanueva-on-Okafor experiment.

Okafor needs to turn his play back up a couple of notches in the next couple of weeks if he wants to stay on the fringes of the conversation for the backup center spot for the East All-Star team.

6.  Felton quietly had a nice game, with 11 points on 4-8 FG, 6 rebounds, 5 assists (with just 2 TOs) and 2 steals.  Augustin also played well with 12 points on 3-8 FG, 3 rebounds, 5 assists (with no TOs) and 2 steals.

7.  Matt Carroll and Adam Morrison continued their uninspired play, combining for 3-14 shooting.  If I were Larry Brown, I’d be supremely frustrated with both of these guys.  Morrison got regular playing time through about mid-December, and Carroll has received it since then.  But save for Morrison’s first dozen games or so, neither guy has proven worthy of being on the floor.

8.  For the Bucks, Michael Redd started off the game hot again, but wasn’t able to sustain it as he had done on Friday night.  Richard Jefferson offered his usual solid game (19 points) but it was quiet, and didn’t have much bearing on the final outcome.

9.  The Cats have a couple days off, then a big one on Tuesday night at the Cable Box, hosting the World Champion Celtics for the second time this season.  The Cats always seem to play the Cs tough, so let’s hope for a big win.

-E

Charlotte Bobcats @ Bucks 1/2/09

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1.  So I caught a really good show at the Cable Box last night — only it wasn’t the Bobcats, who lost badly on the road in Milwaukee 103-75.  AP story here, box score here, PopcornMachine.net game flow here.  Bobcats drop to 11-22; Milwaukee improves to 16-18.

2.  The show I saw at the Arena last night was Lil’ Wayne’s I Am Music Tour.  It was fun, but note that I said it was a “really good” show — not great.  I missed the first two opening acts and got to my seat just as Keyshia Cole took the stage.  Unfortunately, Cole is not the R&B diva responsible for the song “Single Ladies“, which would pretty much be the only chick R&B song that I enjoy hearing these days.

T-Pain was up next — he did a fun set with a circus theme, complete with mimes/clowns, fire dancers, contortionists, and little people/midgets/whatever is PC these days.  The obvious problem with a T-Pain set is that all of his recognizable songs are duets at best, or feature him just singing the hook at worst.  So he ran through all those verses and hooks, danced around and goofed off, and that was that.  Everyone seemed to enjoy.

Lil’ Wayne, the artist of the 2008 by any criteria, was up next.  It was a solid show that, as the Observer review pointed out, lacked clear direction.  There were some cool moments: T-Pain came back out on a Segway (a la Gob Bluth) for “Got Money” and stuck around for a few more minutes, Wayne did his verse from the “They Know” remix (my favorite Wayne verse), and “Ms. Officer” and “A Milli” were big crowd pleasers.

But again, it was a scattered effort.  While Weezy himself has a strong, clear identity as an artist (“The Greatest Rapper Alive” who has begun to flirt with being an all-out rock star), his set lacked any such identity.  There was no theme, no point to all the action.   Some really good parts were in the mix, but they didn’t sum up to anything unified, consistent, or great.

Sound like a certain basketball team you know of?

3.  Back to the Bobcats; there was no local TV for this game, and the Broadband NBA League Pass is giving our international correspondent some issues (insisting on showing him the ATL/NJ game when clicking the CLT/MIL link), so we don’t have any first-hand observations for you.

Looks like a bad loss, though.  Michael Redd came out and jumped all over the Cats, going for 18 in the opening quarter and 10 more in the second (he had 3 more in the third for a total of 31 before sitting the entire fourth).  My first thought on seeing those numbers was that, with Raja Bell out with a strained groin again, Redd had toasted Matt Carroll.  But in looking at the game flow, Redd did it to everyone: Carroll, Shannon Brown and Felton.

And a quick look at the video highlights on ESPN.com shows that Redd was mostly hitting open jumpers after penetration & kickouts from his teammates.  Rotations looked slow in those highlights, and Redd was in the zone.

4.  Has DJ Augustin hit the rookie wall already?  It’s about that time, as he has logged 30+ games.  Since his 29-point dismantling of Derrick Rose and the Bulls back on December 16, Augustin has had 7 straight lackluster games, only going for double figures once during that stretch.

5.  That’s all for now.  The Bobcats are back in town tonight, hosting the Bucks for one of these strange same team back-to-backs that the schedulers like to give us.  7:00 ET at the Cable Box — I’ll be there and will be back with some post-game observations later tonight.

-E