Flat Cats Suffer Embarrassing Loss To Nets

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Chuck Burton/AP Photo

The Charlotte Bobcats were outplayed by a dreadful New Jersey Nets team in a 94-89 loss at the Cable Box on Friday night.  Brook Lopez led the Nets with 31 points and 11 rebounds.  The Bobcats were led by Stephen Jackson with 21 points and Gerald Wallace with 20 points/9 rebounds.

AP Recap |  Box Score

The Nets snapped a 12 game road losing streak by leading wire to wire over the listless Bobcats, who appeared to be waiting around for a spark that never really came.

The Nets lead by as much as 18 in the third quarter before a half-hearted fourth quarter comeback by the Bobcats cut the lead down to four with just over three minutes left.  But Devin Harris scored 5 points and assisted on another bucket over the next 90 seconds for a quick 7-0 Nets run that put the game away.

Notes

  • This had to be the worst performance by the Bobcats since Paul Silas took over, right?  Despite being at home in front of a decent crowd on a Friday night, after a day off, and fighting for a playoff spot, the Cats had very little energy.
  • What’s up with DJ Augustin?  Another quiet night (4 points on 2-10 FG) and he’s now shooting 31% FG and 28% 3PT for the month of February, while averaging just 3.8 assists.  To compare, those numbers on the season are 43%, 38%, and 6.2, respectively.
  • I’m going to put a lot of the blame for this one on Cardboard Gerald.  Cardboard’s been riding Brook Lopez pretty hard on Twitter recently for his historically weak rebounding this season.  So what does Lopez do?  Grabs 11 rebounds (averaging 5.6 for the season) and dominates inside for 31 points.
  • While the Bobcats were stinking up the Cable Box, the Pacers were busy getting another win (116-105 over the T-Wolves), thus increasing their lead over the Bobcats for the 8th playoff spot to a full two games.
  • And the upcoming schedule is not exactly conducive to making up that gap.  The Cats are at Atlanta tomorrow night (7 PM start), home against the Lakers on Monday, then at Chicago on Tuesday leading into the All-Star break.  Ouch.
  • So hopefully I’m just being cranky and pessimistic and premature, but I’m feeling like we’ll point back to these last two losses as the beginning of the end for the Bobcats this season.  After the All-Star break, the Bobcats will have three more games until the trade deadline — so just six more games in all to decide whether to go all-in and try to make the playoffs again or to entertain trade offers for our veterans who could help a playoff team.  As the losses mount up, the choice becomes clearer and clearer.

-Dr. E

Be sure to follow Dr. E, ASChin and Cardboard Gerald on Twitter

Cats Man Up for Ugly, Veteran Win in Jersey

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Bobcats win their first game of the season Wednesday night in New Jersey 85-83.  Cats improve to 1-3, Nets drop to 2-2.

AP Recap | Box Score

OBSERVATIONS:

  • Boris Diaw puts the knife and fork down long enough to play his first meaningful game of the season, dropping 24 points on 10-18 shooting, including a major momentum changing three pointer late.  Nice to see Boris focused and motivated.  Look forward to seeing it again in a few weeks.
  • Bobcats come back from 10 down with a little more than 6 minutes to go in this one, looking like a true veteran squad in the process.  They didn’t lose their focus and concentrated on finding good shots and getting to the line (23 to 15 advantage from the stripe) in order to negate the clock.  Nazr Mohammed, who picked up 3 fouls in the game’s first four minutes and looked atrocious in the first half, contributed six points late and played Brook Lopez as well as he ever has.
  • TURNOVER BONANZA! As is their stock in trade, Charlotte continues to both turn the ball over and force ‘em from the other end.  16 a piece in this game for a whopping total of 32.  Ugh.  When the Bobcats come to town, hide the women and children.
  • Both Geralds were beat up in this game. Wallace was lost for most of the third quarter with an ankle injury but returned in the fourth.  Henderson took a one two punch from Anthony Morrow in the third, sending him to the bench for good with a busted nose.
  • Crash’s ability to get to the line and convert is invaluable. Wallace earned eight freebies and made them all, going for 20 points, 11 boards in just 35 minutes. Bobcats had the best player on the court tonight and won for it.

  • DJ wasn’t terrible (5pts/7asts/0TOs) but he’ll never be Brook Lopez.  I wonder what goes through Larry Brown’s mind when he faces off against the multi-dimensional big man four times a year, knowing that he passed on the elite center out of Stanford three drafts ago.  Brook dropped 17 points on the Bobcats and sent back 5 shots on the other end.  As well as Nazr closed the half and as well as Gana Diop defended in relief, Charlotte continues to get dismantled by opposing centers.
  • Derrick Favors = Beast*.  Once he figures out how to play the NBA game, he’s gonna be something special, he’s just a physical specimen at the four spot.  I can see how NJ has been reticent to include him in any Carmelo trade.  Favors has to the potential to be very good.
    *©2008-reggie-productions. all rights reserved.
  • For all the Devin Harris trade hype (I’d gladly welcome him to CLT if a deal transpires), watching him it makes sense why Jersey would consider trading him.  There’s something about Harris’s body language and his relationship to his teammates on the court that makes me think he’s not a natural born leader.  Thoughts?
  • Sherron Collins Sighting! I tweeted that he looks like a gene splice lab creation of Raymond Felton and DJ Augustin, @bobcatsbaseline followers were quick to add Boris Diaw and/or Sean May’s Pillsbury DNA to that mix.  Indeed.

Until Next Time, Enjoy the Win Bobcats Fans…

-ASChin

Bobcats Secure Tyrus Thomas For 5 Years/$40 Million

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The Charlotte Bobcats have accomplished one of their primary goals of the offseason in signing restricted free agent Tyrus Thomas to a 5 year/$40 million contract (Yahoo | Bonnell/Observer).

Media reports in recent days had indicated that Thomas preferred to resign with the Bobcats (nothing wrong with drinking the Larry Brown kool-aid) and the Cats had been pretty transparent in their desire to keep Thomas.

Beyond the fact that they had given up Flip Murray and a future first round pick to obtain Thomas at the trading deadline (meaning that he would have been a very expensive rental), Thomas is young, upside player on a squad where “young” and “upside” are in short supply.  He played quite well for the Cats down the stretch.  He’s a long, athletic, “Larry-Brown-type-of-guy”; accordingly, Brown has specifically mentioned that he is looking forward to helping Thomas continue to develop.

However, the fear that another team with ample cap space could swoop in with a deal that Thomas couldn’t refuse was well-founded.  The Knicks, Nets and Clippers had plenty of room after striking out on the Lebacle.  Of particular concern was the possibility that someone could offer a “poison-pill” front-loaded contract that the Bobcats wouldn’t be able to match without going over the luxury tax line for 2010-11.

You have to read between the lines to figure out exactly how it went down (so this is speculation) but from the sounds of it, the Bobcats had a reasonable dollar amount and contract structure in mind.  Most importantly, Thomas wanted to stay; however, he needed to make sure no team was going to throw silly money at him.

The New Jersey Nets (in a great show of confidence in their lottery pick PF Derrick Favors) were apparently the most interested other team, and they did indeed offer Thomas a front-loaded contract that would have been difficult for the Cats to match outright.  However, the general range of the Nets offer must have assured Thomas that the Bobcats’ proposed numbers were in line with his market value, so he’s signing with the Cats.

Again, that’s speculation.  Maybe he considered the New Jersey offer more seriously?  Maybe the Cats had to re-raise with a better offer after hearing New Jersey’s?  Either way, the Cats have accomplished an important goal for the offseason in keeping him.

What remains to be seen is what else the Cats can do to remix and upgrade the roster.  Tyson Chandler’s big expiring contract is a strong contender to be moved.  The Cats would likely be looking to shore up the PG spot, while lowering their overall payroll.  Easier said than done…

-Dr. E

Concern Grows As Bobcats Lose To Nets

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Charlotte Bobcats vs Nets 2/16/10

Trying Not To Panic, Here

The Charlotte Bobcats appeared to still be on All-Star break as they lost 103-94 to the New Jersey Nets on Tuesday night at the Cable Box.  AP recap here, box score here.

I’m just going to cut right to the chase: this was a terrible loss and I’m concerned.  Here’s all you need to know: coming into the game, the Nets were 4-48, with only one road win.  They are the worst-shooting and lowest-scoring team in the league.  But in defeating the Bobcats for the second time this year, the Nets never trailed.

In the early going, Raymond Felton and Nazr Mohammed had no answer for Devin Harris and Brook Lopez, respectively. Courtney Lee got into the act as well; he ended up leading the Nets with 21 points.  The Nets ended up shooting 52% on the night.

Meanwhile, the Bobcats couldn’t get anything going.  Everyone gets an “F” tonight.  Poor effort, poor execution, didn’t play any defense, got outrebounded, missed open shots, etc.

This now means that the Cats have lost 4 out of their last 6 dating back to the Portland loss on February 1st.  And let’s remember that those two wins are nothing to be too proud of (2 point win over Washington, lucky 1 point win over Minnesota).

Suddenly the Cats look like they are in serious need of a shot in the arm.  I had been hoping that the return of Tyson Chandler could provide that, but it hasn’t happened.  If anything, he looks as bad as ever, with four turnovers and 3 fouls in 18 minutes off the bench tonight.

Boris continues to look lame and uninspired, DJ’s playing with no confidence, Flip hasn’t been reliable, opponents seem to have figured out how to slow Jackson down, and Gerald looks tired.  It’s not good, folks.

I understand that a trade is unlikely with the impending sale of the team, but if the last 6 games are any indication, the Cats need to shake things up a little.

Next game is a tough one; hosting the Cavs at the Cable Box on Friday night at 7PM ET.

-Dr. E

Baseline Observations : Nets @ Bobcats 12.27.2008

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The second episode of this back-to-back, away-and-home series should later be recalled as Nets-Cats Pt. 2 : Donaghy’s Ghost. Nets win in overtime 114-103 AP recap here. Boxscore here.

Although both teams were tied at the end of the first half and were tied and the end of the second half, the overtime session was removed from any of the ten players on the court. The Bobcats missed several close range shots, and the Nets hit a few open baskets to start the extra period. Just as the Bobcats started to close the gap, with the crowd on their side, things just fell into the judgement of the officiating crew. (Note : Referee Mark Wunderlich can Wunderlich my balls)

The stripes dictated this game based upon the past or perceived accomplishments of Nets stars Vince Carter and Devin Harris. (Btw, how many championship rings do those guys have?) Star recognition was a big factor for the Nets not only in overtime. Harris and Carter were somehow involved in enough plays to get 26 and 28 respectively, but inexplicably they only combined for 2 fouls. I think Tim Donaghy would be proud. Devin Harris certainly has been playing like an All-Star for about eight weeks, but it’s a bit early for him to get to the line every time he misses a shot. Harris is a solid point guard, but his stats in this game were bloated by the whistles that surrounded his defenders. Vince Carter is about 65% of the player he used to be but that really doesn’t matter when you still get 100% of the whistles that the refs used to blow for you.  Ok, enough of that. . .

Offensively, the Charlotte Bobcats just didn’t have enough to demand the respect of the referees. Emeka Okafor struggled to establish himself posting up. His shots fell short and it appeared that most of that was caused by his less than adequate jumping. Back-to-backs look to wear on him. Boris Diaw never impacted the game after the first half. He had some impressive drives into the paint, but nothing worked for him in the second half.

Throughout the first half, Raja Bell led the Cats on offense. He exploited the Nets’ failed defensive rotations and made the most of each mismatch. Bell went out in the 3rd quarter with an injury, and didn’t return. For several plays the Bobcats looked sloppy on offense, and didn’t find a rhythm until the Nets had a strong lead going into the fourth.

Gerald Wallace took over the game after Bell’s injury. While he had scored 16 points in traditional Gerald Wallace fashion through the first 3 quarters, he switched to GForce for the fourth and carried the Cats to overtime. Raymond had several untimely turnovers, but really came through with a three point play to tie the game at 96 with seconds left in the fourth. A good crowd came out for the game, and this must have confused the officials. They must have thought that there was no way they could have been in Charlotte. The Nets seemed to have the home court advantage from then on.

Several tough calls against the Bobcats followed and when Josh Boone steamrolled over Gerald Wallace on a late Nets possession, Wallace was called for his 6th personal foul and the steam had boiled over. Wallace received a technical in his reponse to the call, and the Nets received credit for the Vince Carter shot that followed the whistle away from the ball.

Interestingly, Yi Jianlian never really stretched the offense for the Nets. His skills seem to better set for role like Dirk Nowitzki. The Nets appear to need much more from Yi inside. Early in the 3rd quarter Okafor threw down an vicious dunk on Yi. Down the court on the next play, Yi attempted to return the favor but it ended embarrassingly with a block by Emeka. Within a few minutes of play, Yi entirely air-balled an 18 footer. His next foul (4th) saw him pulled by Lawrence Frank never to return in the game.

 

Additional Note:  

NBA.com posted an article about Diaw and Bell’s involvement in Charlotte’s improvement.

-Mike

Charlotte Bobcats @ Nets 12/26/08

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Felton Drives Bobcats over Nets

Bobcats take care of the Nets at home to get their 3rd road victory of the season and improve to 11-19.  AP recap here.  Boxscore here.

1. Emeka Okafor.  Wow.  Larry Brown seems intent on getting the Cat’s money’s worth out of the $72 million man.  Oak had another efficiently great game with 21pts on 9-14 shooting while grabbing 9 boards.  His throw-down on Brook Lopez in the first quarter was an exciting sign of aggressiveness.  The big man topped it all off by swatting a Bobby Simmons runner with under 2 minutes to go in the 4th to effectively kill the Nets late game run.  Take a look at Okafor’s numbers for December.  18pts, 11rbs, and 2blks are no joke.  If he continues this through January, he’s probably in the hunt for an All-Star spot.

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