Pacers Outlast Bobcats in Indy

Standard

Charlotte Bobcats @ Pacers 3/16/10

Bobcats fall in typical Bobcat fashion on the road to Indiana 99-94.  The loss drops the Cats to 34-32, maintaining their tie with Miami for sixth in the Conference with just sixteen games remaining.

AP recap here | Box score here

More of the Same

Since I have the great privilege of covering most of the Bobcats road games for the blog, I’ve seen my fair share of losses this season (twenty four to be exact).  Last night’s Indy game stuck to the standard script: Play three solid quarters of basketball but disappear in the 2nd, go down by double digits and make a last ditch effort to salvage a win in the waning minutes of the 4th.

Against the Pacers, the ‘Cats were outscored 32-19 in the second quarter and it was specifically the Bobcats’ reserves who got torched in this one.  Although Tyrus Thomas dropped ten points before the second half, he and the rest of his unit threw up a big stink bomb in the plus/minus department.  Augustin, Henderson, Chandler and T2 averaged a -14 plus/minus for the game and let the Pacers run and shoot over them at will.  The second unit looked undisciplined and unfocused and gave Coach Brown little option but to burn his starters for most of the 2nd half.

Good illustration of my point:
Midway through the second quarter, Cats are settling for outside jumpers  Pacers go on a 14-0 run, CLT continues to turn the ball over.
Pacers work the ball around and find Brandon Rush down low, Tyrus cheats down on him anticipating the block, leaving his man – Troy Murphy.  Murphy immediately slips way back to his favorite spot at the top of the three point line.  Rush fakes the shot down low, swings it back out to Murphy.  Swish.  Think that the Pacers read the scouting report on Tyrus?  Yes.  Think Tyrus Thomas read the scouting report on Troy Murphy?  No.

The game looked like a blowout up until the Cats put on their traditional 4th quarter run which resulted from an intense “Carolina Trap” (as Pacers’ TV color man Quinn Buckner called it) that was completely missing for three and half quarters.  Equally as perplexing was Larry Brown’s lack of a timeout with :30 seconds on the game clock and the ‘Cats down just three.  The lack of a timeout resulted in a terrible Boris Diaw turnover and the game was over.  It looked as though LB wanted a TO but just couldn’t communicate it to Raymond Felton in time.

Bullets

  • Stephen Jackson started the game ice cold (2-8 from the field in the 1st half) before warming in the 4th.  JAX is one of those scorers who’ll drive you nuts as he tries to find his shot during games by bricking eight or nine three pointers in order to get into a groove.  JAX was also assessed a technical early on and it was pretty obvious that the Indy crowd was eating it up.  They really don’t like that guy.  This makes the second road game I’ve covered in which he was booed heavily by his former crowd (Golden State being the first).  I certainly hope that we don’t end up in a similar situation in Charlotte.
  • D.J. Augustin continues to infuriate.  He only shot the ball once in 18 minutes.  Once.  His role is “scoring point guard.”  His decision making was poor tonight.  GREAT DJ MOMENT in the 2nd quarter: dribbles around for five seconds wide open and as the shot clock winds down he finds Theo Ratliff for a well contested fadeaway twenty footer.  I’m not making this up.
  • Outside of the dagger turnover at the end, Boris Diaw had a nice game with 20pts (7-10), 5 boards and 4 assists.  He looks slimmer and seems to be moving around much better than he was earlier this season.  That’s a positive sign moving forward.
  • Tyson Chandler only played eleven minutes and was thoroughly owned by second year center Roy Hibbert.  That’s just sad.  Just sad.  But maybe things are starting to pick up!  According to Tyson’s blog, he’s feeling better than ever!  Yippee!  (Thanks to Bobcats Planet for the link).
  • Bobcats commit a total of 18 turnovers as JAX led the way with six.  If the Bobcats want to even think about the 2nd Round, they’ve got to figure out a way to cut out the errors.  They’re currently 29th in the League at just under 16 per.  Ouch.
  • Your ’09-’10 NBA IS FANTASTIC Exchange of the Year:
    First Quarter: Theo Ratliff with a major rejection on Danny Granger, Stephen Graham chases it down for a breakaway dunk, followed by a Troy Murphy JAM going the other way!  Givin’ the people what they want in Indiana!
  • Speaking of Graham.  Dude’s been playing out of his mind as a substitute for Crash.  Had a career high 19 points (8-10) to go along with eight boards.  Efficient, low-cost, high value.  Couldn’t ask for more for Joey Graham’s brother.  Nice work.
  • Too bad the ‘Cats didn’t bring it against the Pacers, both the Heat and Bulls lost on the same night and CLT missed an easy chance of going up another full game on each of them.

Big game coming up at home against the OKC Thunder.  Dr. E will Tweet you there.

Until Next Time…Enjoy the Loss Bobcats Fans…

-ASChin

Bobcats Defeat Magic For Sixth Straight Victory

Standard

Charlotte Bobcats @ Magic 3/14/10

The Bobcats defeated the Magic in Orlando 96-89 on Sunday night to earn their sixth straight win.  The Cats improved to 34-31 overall and maintained their hold on the 6th spot in the East.  Though Dwight Howard finished with 27 points on 12-14 FGs, the Bobcats were able to keep him frustrated and in foul trouble all game.

AP recap here |  Box score here

With Gerald Wallace sidelined by an ankle sprain, the Bobcats looked to Stephen Jackson to pick up the slack.  Jack delivered with 28 points (10-20 FG, 3-5 3PT, 5-6 FT), 6 rebounds and 6 assists.  Most importantly, as the game hung in the balance in the fourth quarter, when the Cats of old wouldn’t have been able to score, Jack had three huge buckets and two free throws to seal the win.

Defensively, the Bobcats played another solid game.  Dwight Howard, Vince Carter and Michael Pietrus combined for 70 points on 26-40 FG, but the rest of the Magic only managed 19 points on 7-32 FG.  Jameer Nelson and Rashard Lewis, in particular, shot a combined 3-17 and 1-9 3PT.

Tidbits

  • Theo Ratliff put in a days work, playing 32 minutes guarding Dwight Howard.  Theo finished one rebound short of a double-double with 1o points and 9 rebounds.
  • Stephen Graham filled in admirably for Gerald Wallace, with 12 points (4-8 FG, 1-2 3PT, 3-3 FT) and 6 rebounds in 30 minutes.
  • Speaking of Crash, he is traveling with the team despite the fact that he didn’t play and has already been ruled out of Tuesday’s contest with the Pacers.  When interviewed during the game, Gerald said that he’s been wearing a protective boot over the weekend, but was hoping to take it off tonight.  He also indicated that he’d try to play as soon as allowed, knowing that he’ll be playing through soreness.
  • And speaking of the Pacers, apologies for getting this post up late — I got hooked into the ESPN 30 for 30 documentary that premiered tonight on the Reggie Miller/Pacers vs. Knicks rivalry.  Fantastic stuff.

-Dr. E

Bobcats Take Care Of Business Against Warriors

Standard

Charlotte Bobcats vs Warriors 3/6/10

The Charlotte Bobcats defeated the Golden State Warriors 101-90 in front of another sellout crowd at the Cable Box on Saturday night.  AP recap here, box score here.  Charlotte’s favorite son, Stephen Curry, led all scorers with 25 points for the shorthanded Warriors in a losing effort, while DJ Augustin played his second straight solid game in leading the Cats with 19 points on 7-10 FG in just 28 minutes.

The game was tight until the waning moments of the third quarter, when the Cats were able to open up a small lead.  In the fourth, the Cats turned up the defensive intensity and the Warriors wilted.  Gerald Wallace blocked 3 shots in the deciding final frame as the Warriors were only able to manage 14 points.

The Bobcats dominated the paint against the defenseless, run-and-gun Warriors, who trotted out some guy named Chris Hunter to play center and jump-shot their way to 38% FG for the night.  The Cats outrebounded the Dubs 60-36 and scored 56 points in the paint.  Good thing, too, because the Cats didn’t take good care of the ball — 19 turnovers.

For the umpteenth time, Boris Diaw came oh-so-close to netting the first triple double in Bobcats history: 14 points (6-10 FG), 12 rebounds and 9 assists.

Tidbits

  • Gerald Wallace’s night ended about a minute early when he was ejected for throwing an elbow at Anthony Tolliver under the basket in the waning seconds of the game.  It was a strange incident — very few people caught it in the arena, and Gerald was upset that the ref ejected him for it.  I didn’t notice it live at all, and it’s not in either NBA.com or ESPN.com’s online video highlight packages, but apparently it was replayed on the television broadcast a few times. Bonnell blogged in detail about it.  Gerald had 19 and 10, by the way.
  • Gerald Henderson played first half minutes again tonight; he was not as productive as he was Friday night, but still decent.  Hopefully this will continue, as it allows Larry Brown to give Stephen Jackson and Gerald Wallace a little extra rest and get away with it.
  • Stephen Graham had two nasty baseline jams in the second quarter, so naturally the NBA.com highlights contain neither of them, featuring instead a pull-up 18 foot jumper he hit.
  • Best line I’ve seen in awhile: Andris Biedrins — DNP Athletic Pubalgia
  • The Hawks could’ve done us a solid tonight and beaten Miami, but it didn’t happen.  The Cats are 30-31 and a half game back of 8th place Miami at 31-31.  Which leads me to…
  • Next game will be the biggest game of the year so far.  Tuesday night Miami will be in town for a 7PM ET start at the Cable Box.  A head-to-head matchup against the team that’s a half game ahead of you for the last playoff spot — you can’t ask for anything more.

-Dr. E

    Bobcats Beat Warriors At Their Own Game

    Standard

    Bobcats Charlotte Bobcats @ Warriors 1/29/10


    Staying with the “Running Diary” theme recaps…

    FIRST HALF

    Lots of talk from the Warriors broadcast team about Stephen Jackson coming back to Oaktown.  Boos aplenty.  Wow!  The Bobcats have their very first heel!

    Great moment midway through the first quarter which illustrates Larry Brown’s impatience with Rookies.  Derrick Brown checks in to give Diaw a breather and proceeds to fall asleep in transition defense.  LB yanks him after thirty seconds and inserts Stephen Graham for the rest of the quarter.  Talk about a short fuse.

    Ronny Turiaf checks in later in the quarter and starts making plays immediately.  I wrote in my Power Forward Trade Column recently that Turiaf would be a great fit as a backup four in Charlotte and he’s proving me right again this evening with lots of energy on the offensive glass, a few nice put-backs and one crazy steal and almost finish on the fast break.  If the ‘Cats could get him for Henderson and Law straight up I say make the deal immediately.

    Just caught the box score for the Philly/Lakers game.  Anybody realize that both Primoz Brezec AND Jason Kapono play for the Sixers?  Me neither, maybe because they both logged DNP-CDs tonight.  Somewhere Bernie Bickerstaff is crying.

    My first look at Steph Curry as a pro.  I wasn’t sure how he was going to turn out but thus far I’m impressed.  He has some pass-first PG acumen; is an As-Advertised great long range shooter and is a little bigger than you’d think.  Will probably play just as long as his pops (16+ seasons) in the League and be at worst a Steve Kerr role player on a contender.

    Starting the 2nd quarter now and we have a SPECIAL GUEST ANNOUNCER joining the Warriors’ broadcast crew.  “Oh my gawd King, it’s that sadistic bastard Paul Heyman!”  No, it’s Dell Curry!  DC4THREEE! chats about Steph’s success, the JAX trade, Monta Ellis’ dependence on his right hand, Steph’s mouthpiece fetish (possibly inherited from watching so many Crash games in CLT), the light, skin-tight kevlar body armor that so many players are wearing these days (including Gerald Wallace), etc, etc.
    I’m actually starting to think that Dell could be a great ambassador nation-wide for Charlotte Pro Basketball.  Sort of an Obama/Brad Daugherty gene splice.  He’s no Mike Gminski yet but a strong upgrade from Adrian Branch/Henry Williams.

    Who is that tall, bearded guy on the Bobcats bench wearing a suit?  Did Sean May lose a bunch of weight and go all Joakim Phoenix on us?  Oh, that’s the guy we traded our franchise center for, Tyson Chandler.  Tyson Chandler everybody!  Woo-hoo!!!  Sixteen games and counting!

    Starters (especially JAX and CRASH) playing a ton of minutes in the first half.  D.J. comes in to to give Raymond a blow.  Augustin nails two straight threes and looks confident.  Then he loses that turnover to Run Ronny Turiaf who embarrasses him with the aforementioned steal and almost finish.  Still, D.J. with a respectable eleven points in the first half.

    Bobcats up 65-59 at the break.

    SECOND HALF

    JAX and CRASH haven’t come out of the game yet and Boris has only been out a minute.  The announcers for GS are talking like this is a good thing.  I’m a little worried about all of this wear and tear.

    RADMAN in the house!  Not sure if it’s a Bay Area inspired thing but Vlad has suddenly started looking like the lead singer from Loverboy.
    Also, Warriors fans must be in secret agony every time they see Vlad get toasted by JAX.  Golden State really didn’t get enough for him in that trade.  Kind of like when the Bobcats play the Hornets and Emeka Okafor drops a double-double on Tyson Chandler’s replacement.

    I’m a Boris Bee-Liever but Diaw has been hit or miss all season and I’m starting to think that he’s gonna be the player that the team moves if you believe Bill Simmons’ assertion that the ‘Cats are making another trade before the deadline.  Carlos Boozer for Diaw and change?  A Felton/Jackson/Wallace/Boozer/Chandler lineup is a tough matchup for anyone in East.  I’m warming to the idea.

    Back to Raymond for a second, I feel like his beard is under-discussed.  Baron Davis started doing this and his game went to the next level a few years back.  Not to mention Magic in the 80s.  I’m calling on Ray to push it at least as far as QuestLove before the Playoffs.  Felton is playing so well these days (16pts on 6-10, 6asts tonight) that I’m a little worried that the Lakers are gonna sweep him up this offseason to replace Derek Fisher.  They’ve liked him since the ’05 draft and it wouldn’t surprise me to see Ray running the point next year for Kobe and Phil.

    Nazr Mohammed has played a total of 17 minutes and Gana Diop’s nearing a DNP-CD himself.  Larry Brown chooses to go small with JAX and CRASH alternating playing the four and Diaw taking Center.  Bobcats up by double digits in the Third.

    WOW.  Andris Biedrins with a Turiaf-esque steal of a Felton pass and then a one-on-none fast break JAM.  Let’s talk about Biedrins’ hair for a second.  Is he purposefully trying to invite Dolph Lundgren comparisons?  He basically looks like any Eastern European tough guy involved in a Russian Arms Deal Gone Bad.  I’m gonna search later for photographs of Andris wearing a grey sportcoat and black undershirt.

    Monta Ellis looking every bit as you’d expect.  Scoring at will.  Driving the lane and hitting jumpers from the outside.  Looks like a young Iverson.  Warriors hot all game shooting 56% from the field but can’t secure a rebound while the ‘Cats aren’t doing too bad themselves at 50%.

    CARTIER MARTIN SIGHTING!  Yes, Cartier “That’s Really My First Name” Martin just checked into the game and put one up over JAX.  He then gets hyper and starts launching threes – all errant.  Thanks for the memories, Cartier.

    Fourth Quarter and the Bobcats look like the better team.  They blow the game open and build a 20 point lead with just a little over six minutes left and are killing the W’s this half with a 20-9 rebounding advantage (CRASH lead the way with 13 to go along with an impossibly quiet 30pts).

    JAX with a killer 3 (bringing his scoring total to 30), D.J. with another killer three and for some reason Larry Brown decides to leave his starters in with 6:30 to go with the ‘Cats well ahead and the Warriors trotting out Cartier and Anthony Tolliver (GS’s answer to Stephen Graham).

    Warriors make a mini-rally but come up short and LB empties the bench with 2:20 to go in the game.  Gerald “The Sequel” Henderson comes in and looks as though he’s never even seen a basketball before, missing free throws, slipping on the floor, throwing the ball away.  Doesn’t matter.  Bobcats in control and take this game 121-110 to go 23-22 on the year while improving to 5-17 on the road.

    AP recap here.  Box score here.

    Enjoy the win Bobcats fans…

    -ASChin

    Observations: Knicks @ Bobcats 10/30/09

    Standard

    Could there be a more perfect cure for an offensively offensive team than to play against Mike D’Antoni?

    Bobcats ache out a win against the Knicks tonight in double overtime 102-100.

    1. Ugly, ugly, ugly win for the Bobcats and the problems that we witnessed in Boston didn’t get any better, the competition just a lot weaker.

    Not much more to say when both teams shoot 38% from the floor: Cellar Dweller MANIA!
    Knicks are supposed to be an offensive team but looked completely lost until the 4th quarter when Nate Robinson, Chris Duhon and David Lee Jared Jeffries got it going to bring the Knicks back from 20+ down to tie the game with around 2 minutes to go.  Danilo “Big Bright Shooting Star” Gallinari looked good in limited minutes scoring 16 on 6-11 shooting before sitting down with foul trouble and a bad back.

    As for the Bobcats…where does one start?  The team played a great first half, scoring 51 points (just 8 shy of Wednesday’s total in Beantown), spreading the ball around and looking confident on offense.  The D was spectacular, limiting the Knicks to just 37 first half points.  Then came the second half…

    2. The Bobcats Have Two Options: Find a Reliable Scorer OR Play the Knicks 80 More Times This Season.

    The ‘Cats only managed 31 points in the 2nd half – which is basically what they averaged in the Opener debacle against the Celts – and amazingly were outscored 27-13 in the decisive 4th quarter.  The game should have been over in the third quarter but Charlotte reverted to its “Hot Potato” ways of old with no one stepping up to take and make shots.

    In an embarrassingly desperate strategy, the Bobcats repeatedly went to tertiary star Gerald Wallace in the post or on the wings to “will them a basket” with no one in the organization realizing that Crash is not in the least bit equipped to play that role.  Not since Scott Baio left Happy Days has a supporting cast member struggled so mightily to carry his own show.  Maybe Gerald has a Charles in Charge 2nd Act resurgence in him later this season.  Let’s hope so.

    We’ve been blogging about it all season and I’ll mention it here briefly again: The Bobcats need a go-to scorer.  Period.  It will take them from 11th in the East to 7th or 8th.  Worth the gamble.

    3. Right now, Raymond is The Man.

    By the end of the first overtime, Raymond Felton was seriously flirting with the first Triple Double in team history.  A minor ankle injury may have sabotaged the effort by keeping him out for a few possessions but Felton still finished with a very solid 22pts, 9asts, 8rbs on 8-18 shooting.  Those shooting numbers would’ve been higher had the team not insisted on running the famously hit-or-miss-but-mostly-miss “Raymond Does Dallas” iso drive nine or ten too many times throughout the game.  Ray nailed his last three driving layups though to lead the team to victory so expect to see a whole lot more of those errant layup attempts until the team gets some more offensive help.

    4. Pleasant Surprises.

    Stephen Graham played out of his mind (in terms of Stephen Graham) scoring 14pts on 6-9 shooting, including a CLUTCH drive late in the second overtime to put the ‘Cats up.  His defense was superb and I was impressed that he hit that clutch drive late after sitting on the bench for most of the second half.

    D.J. finally started spinning in the 2nd half scoring all 15 of his points after the break.  Augustin had a few very smooth, feline drives and scoops to the hoop.  He also hit a clutch three in overtime.  Good to see him back to form.

    5. Not Ready For Prime-Time Players.

    Diaw and Chandler are still not in game shape.  Chandler worse so than Boris.  Tyson looked like “Emeka Okafor Gone Horribly Wrong” fumbling a couple of easy layup/dunk attempts in the first half.  In the second he got it going a little bit and threw a couple down.  He still looks slow and he has no hops so until he gets in game shape, he’s basically a Jahidi White type foul magnet.

    Diaw’s rust shows in his shooting.  While 17pts/6asts/11rbs isn’t a terrible line, 5-15 shooting is.  He also looks slow on defense.  Can’t wait to see both of these guys back to their old ways.

    IN CONCLUSION:

    At the end of the day, a win is a win.  Unfortunately the competition isn’t going to get much worse than the Knicks so if your team requires 2-count ‘em-2 Overtimes to beat what might be the worst team in the conference AT HOME, well, then you might want to figure out how to improve the roster just a bit.  Cavs up next.  See ya there.

    -ASChin

    Charlotte Bobcats @ Celtics 10/28/09

    Standard

    Bobcats fall to the Celtics in the season opener tonight 59-92.

    1. It is often said that a good defense beats a good offense but tonight the Bobcats added a new wrinkle to that old chestnut: An ATROCIOUS OFFENSE will eventually infect your great defense and render it moot.

    When five players who should be either THIRD or FOURTH OPTIONS play hot potato with the basketball for 24 seconds, NOTHING good can happen.  Players who aren’t naturally turnover prone BECOME turnover prone and that is what happened to the Bobcats tonight.  The Bobcats 18 turnovers don’t even tell the whole story.  Bad or errant shots also lead to long rebounds, fast breaks and easy points for the opposing team and there were plenty of bad shots against the Celts.  The ‘Cats went 23-74 from the field and shot 50% from the charity stripe.  Everyone played horrible save for a few solid minutes from 2nd Rounder Derrick Brown and little-used center Nazr Mohammed.  Yes, it was that bad.

    2. BRIEFLY in Celtics news:

    Paul Piece is awesome, Ray Allen is still the best shooter in the game, Garnett’s “INTENSE” Act is TIRED, and Rasheed Wallace has the easiest job of his entire career: Stand around the three point line and launch trifectas over the arms of smaller defenders. With Cleveland looking bad thus far, it’s gotta be Boston and Orlando as the top teams in the East without a doubt.

    3. Remember how everyone was saying that Stephen Graham was the next “George Lynch?”

    What they meant to say was that he was the next “David Lynch,” a surrealist who believes that just because he wears Michael Jordan’s number, he deserves as many offensive opportunities.  Graham is a player who at most should be playing 5-8 minutes in spot defender duty.  Tonight he played 29 minutes, taking 11 shots, making 2 and, as a “defensive-ace” is often to do, registered a whopping -33 plus/minus.  He also started.

    4. Remember how everyone was saying that D.J. Augustin should be the starting Point Guard?

    Yeah, we’ve all said it and he looked like a starting PG tonight: A PG who should be starting for an Offensively-Disabled team.  One point, four assists, 0-5 from the floor.  Raymond-fanatics can take a little solace in the fact that Felton’s -1 plus/minus easily ousted D.J.’s -30 but that’s largely unfair because while Augustin was suffering on the court through the Celtics 3rd Quarter DEMOLITION, Raymond was enjoying a comparatively peaceful time in the locker-room having 15 stitches sewn into his mouth.

    5. Was Larry Brown using this as a statement game?

    Remember that this kind of thing happened last season too.  Bobcats begin their season on the road in Cleveland and get blown out by the Cavs.  They continue to start slow, Larry whines to the front office and eventually gets his wish for a roster overhaul and the team finishes strong.  So as it is VERY clear that this team can’t score (and before you start with the “It’s only one game” rhetoric, I’ve watched a lot of basketball in my life and this monstrosity didn’t strike me as a “bad game” so much as it did “this team isn’t built properly”).  I’m still optimistic about the season but Coach Brown is going to have to go into full persuasion-mode in order to bring in a FIRST OPTION like a Monta Ellis or whoever else is out there.  Wonder if Bonnell still thinks that a healthy Iverson would’ve ruined the team?

    -ASChin

    Bobcats Media Day 2009

    Standard
    AP/Chuck Burton

    AP/Chuck Burton

    Some tidbits as the Bobcats open camp Tuesday morning:

    • The Cats signed Flip Murray to a one-year deal late last week.  The deal for the veteran combo guard is for the biannual exception, just under $2 million.  Flip goes 6’3″, 200 pounds, can handle the ball competently enough to fill in at point in a pinch, and is a career 10 ppg scorer.  Charlotte will be his seventh NBA team in eight years in the league.  So basically, he scores just well enough to hang around in the league, but doesn’t do anything else well enough to have ever earned a big, long-term contract.  I expect that Murray will get a fair amount of playing time, especially if/when Raja gets dinged up and if/when rookie Gerald Henderson struggles and finds himself in Coach Brown’s doghouse.
    • Stephen Graham and Antonio Anderson will be in camp with the Bobcats.
    • Monday was Media Day: here’s some coverage from Bobcats.com, some pictures from the Observer, a candid interview with Gerald Wallace, and the standard “talk to the new guy” interview with Tyson Chandler by Bonnell.
    • Hollinger is out with his team previews on ESPN.com.  His prediction for the Cats?  Not good: 29-53, worst in the league in offensive efficiency, and out of the playoffs at 12th overall in the East.  Link here (ESPN.com Insider Access needed).

    -E