Bobcats Down Raptors; Trade Deadline Approaches

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DJ (Photo by Kent Smith/NBAE/Getty Images)

The Bobcats handily defeated the Toronto Raptors, 114-101, on Tuesday night at the Cable Box.  DJ Augustin led the way with 23 points and 8 assists/o turnovers, while Gerald Wallace relentlessly drove at Toronto’s weak interior defenders en route to 14-15 FTs and 20 points.

AP Recap |  Box Score

The Bobcats took the lead late in the first quarter and never looked back.  They stretched the lead out to double digits in the second and nearly out to 20 briefly in the third.  A meaningless Raptors rally cut the Cats lead to 11 midway through the fourth before Gerald Wallace closed the door for good by getting to the line for 5-6 free throws on three consecutive possessions.

Boris Diaw had a strong game with 16 points (6-10 FG), 9 assists and 4 steals.  Gerald Henderson added 15 points (5-11 FG) and 6 rebounds in 27 minutes off the bench.

The Raptors are pretty much a mess, and it starts with their best player.  7’0″ center Andrea Bargnani is about as soft as they come, and his nonexistent defensive ability and effort set the tone for the rest of the young team.

Notes

  • Stephen Jackson left the game in the third quarter after taking contact and landing awkwardly during a layup.  Jackson left the floor limping and holding his left hamstring.  He soon returned to the bench, but did not re-enter the game.  Jackson said after the game the injury was not a concern and that he could have played if called upon.
  • Nazr Mohammed did his best Kevin Love impression, grabbing 14 rebounds in just 24 minutes off the bench.
  • Boris capped his night of with a breakaway dunk that was rather out of character.  After a feed from DJ, who had stolen the ball in the backcourt, Boris cocked it back behind his head before stuffing it two-handed.  I would say that he was inspired by this past weekend’s slam dunk contest, but you and I know there’s no way Boris watched that.
  • Weird line for Jerryd Bayless.  He was about as relentless going to the rack as Gerald Wallace and had 11-12 FT, but was 0-4 from the field.   He also tallied 10 assists, but gave up 4 turnovers and committed 4 fouls.
  • The Pacers took care of the Wiz tonight, so maintain their one game lead on the Bobcats for the 8th playoff spot.
  • Bobcats don’t play again until Friday night when they host the Kings at the Cable Box, 7 PM ET start.  The Kings will be without Tyreke Evans, who is missing time with plantar fasciitis, and Carl Landry, who is about to get traded to the Hornets for Marcus Thornton.

Thoughts at the Trade Deadline

Bonus trade deadline thoughts!  Now that the Carmelo deal is done, some other smaller deals are starting to go down.  The deadline is at 3 PM ET on Thursday.  Several sources have indicated that the Bobcats have been active on the phones.

But Paul Silas has been quoted both Monday and Tuesday as saying that he doesn’t think the Bobcats will be making a trade; his quote from Tuesday made it sound as if the Bobcats had only received ludicrous proposals from other teams: “We’re not just going to give people away and that’s what most teams want you to do.”

That’s basically code for: “You know who we’ve got on the block.  We’re ready to deal, but you’re going to have to step your offer up.”

And while I agree that the Bobcats should only trade Gerald Wallace if they get a Godfather offer, and should be pretty picky about giving Boris Diaw up, I wouldn’t be as choosy about a Stephen Jackson trade.  I’d jump on a mix of an expiring contract and a draft pick in a heartbeat, but that’s probably not happening.

Whatever the case, despite Silas’s proclamation that “nothing’s happening”, expect to hear the Bobcats continue to come up in deadline buzz over the next day and half.

-Dr. E

POLL : What should the Bobcats do at the trade deadline?

  • Trade Gerald Wallace (23%, 12 Votes)
  • Trade Boris Diaw (17%, 9 Votes)
  • Trade Stephen Jackson (34%, 18 Votes)
  • Stand pat and make a playoff push (26%, 14 Votes)

Total Voters: 53

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Bobcats Hang On To Beat Raptors

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Gerald Wallace via Garrett W. Ellwood/NBAE/Getty Images

The Bobcats eked out their second victory of the season on Wednesday night in Toronto, defeating the Raptors 101-96. Gerald Wallace had a fantasy-owner’s dream game with 19 points, 14 rebounds, 5 assists and 4 steals, while Tyrus Thomas and Stephen Jackson owned the deciding fourth quarter.

And while I shouldn’t minimize any road victory for a team that struggled to win double-digit road games all of last season, I just can’t get too excited about this one.  The Raps are a toothless team that plays no defense (Cats shot 50% tonight and got to the line 33 times) and announces Jarrett Jack as the fifth starter in its pregame introductions.  Furthermore, they were without one of their better players, Leandro Barbosa, who sat out with an injury.  And the Cats barely managed the W.

AP Recap |  Box Score

Observations

  • DJ Augustin had a nice game with 16 points (3-5 3pt), 3 steals and 7 assists/1 turnover.  Gerald Henderson had 10 points off the bench.
  • Stephen Jackson and Boris Diaw are turnover machines.  I’ve beat around the bush in the past, passive-aggressively noting their turnover numbers several times in game recaps (4 and 6 tonight, respectively).  But let’s be direct: these guys force way too many bad passes.  You can excuse it by saying that they’re expected to be playmakers in this offense, and that they occasionally do produce easy buckets for their teammates.  And you’d be right — Jack in particular had a great assist to Ty in crunchtime to help seal the win.  But if you’re looking for some specific issues that Cats could shore up in order to dig out from their poor start this season, look no further than Boris and Jack’s “wishful thinking” types of passes.
  • Matt Carroll!  Matt Carroll! To all the Matt Carroll fanboys who somehow survived Carroll’s stint in Dallas, and still roam the Cable Box now free to again yell “Matt Carroll!… Matt Carroll!… Matt Carroll!” whenever the Bobcats need a bucket:  I give you… Matt Carroll!  In his first action of the season, Carroll got 4 minutes of burn in the second quarter and hit his only field goal attempt.
  • Box Score issues.  What was up with the online box scores for this game?  ESPN.com’s was so buggy, they eventually just took in offline at some point during the game.  And Yahoo’s froze sometime during the second half.

-Dr. E

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

Calderon/Evans for Diaw/Chandler Still Not Official (UPDATED)

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The three team trade that will reportedly involve the Bobcats sending Boris Diaw and Tyson Chandler to Toronto and receiving Jose Calderon and Reggie Evans is still not official as of Monday evening.  Bonnell is reporting that it won’t happen tonight, and cites the complexities of a three-team deal in regards to satisfying salary cap issues for the delay.  In a subsequent blog entry, Bonnell reports that the Raptors are causing the holdup and that there is still a chance the deal could break down.

The Phoenix Suns are also supposedly involved — sending Leandro Barbosa to the Raptors for Hedo Turkoglu.  Earlier versions of the story also had the Suns sending Dwayne Jones to Charlotte, which accounts for the “three team” and not “two separate trades involving the Raptors” characterization of the deal.

Here at the Baseline, we’ve been anticipating a trade of either Diaw or Chandler for a point guard, but I have to say, I’m surprised it took both of them to get back someone the caliber of Calderon.  Granted, the contracts have to match up (and Calderon has a big one — 3 years left at an average of $10 million per year) but I would have rather seen a smaller deal that sent Diaw away for a cheaper PG like Jarrett Jack, Ramon Sessions or even TJ Ford.

Getting Chandler helps the Raptors improve defensively and maintain an air of respectability this year while still being bad enough to miss the playoffs and get a lottery pick, then getting the cap space when Chandler’s deal expires to help their rebuilding project.  Frankly I would have rather kept Chandler to anchor the middle this year and used the cap space his expiring deal would provide next summer ourselves, but the Cats have essentially waived the white flag when it comes to being free agent players.

ASChin has already pontificated on Calderon in an earlier post; my take is fairly similar.  Calderon had a career year in 2007-08 while splitting time with TJ Ford at the point.  Calderon led the league in assist-to-turnover ratio while shooting over 50% from the field, 40% from 3PT, and 90% from FT.  As a result, the Raps traded TJ Ford away after the season and signed Calderon to the current fat deal he’s on.

However, Calderon (and the Raptors, for that matter) has struggled to meet expectations since.  He’s been hampered by injuries that have limited him to 68 games in each of the last two seasons.  Never a gifted defender to begin with, hamstring problems have rendered the Spaniard into a matador when it comes to defending quick opposing guards.  Toronto’s lack of interior defense didn’t help matters any.

Still, at his best, Calderon is a sharpshooting, efficient point guard with good size who excels at taking care of the ball and his teammates.  He’s not much of a playmaker, but under Larry Brown, the system will make the plays, not the point guard.  With Tyrus Thomas and Gerald Wallace on the court to provide help defense in the paint, his on-ball defensive deficiencies will hopefully be mitigated.

(UPDATED 11:55 PM ET)  Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski is now reporting that:

Charlotte owner Michael Jordan has had “second thoughts” on trade with Toronto and deal is suddenly in peril, league sources tell Y! Sports.

You mean I just wrote three paragraphs breaking down Jose Calderon’s career/game for nothing?!?!

-Dr. E

Diaw Shipped to Toronto for Cap Space

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We can finally put all that talk of Boris Diaw playing the point behind us.  The versatile forward will be shipped to Toronto to play for his former Suns boss Bryan Colangelo.

The Arizona Republic reports that Diaw will be heading to the Raptors in exchange for part of the Chris Bosh trade exception and journeyman (as well as former Bobcat) Dwayne Jones.  Jones would be first acquired by Toronto from Phoenix in a prior trade that would send Hedo Turkoglu to the Suns in exchange for Leandrinho Barbosa.

The trade as reported would save the Bobcats $9 million dollars in cap space this season and next while putting the team in prime position to trade for a starting point guard and fill out their roster without venturing into the luxury tax this summer.

ANALYSIS: After re-signing PF Tyrus Thomas to a 5 year $40 million contract last week, the Diaw move comes as no surprise.  Only a team with cash reserves like the Lakers spends $8 million a year on their backup power forward.  Expect Tyrus to start immediately.  Depending on how Tyrus’s contract is structured, the Bobcats are between $8 and $10 million below the League’s luxury tax threshold for next season of $70 million.  Trading Diaw will not only give the team the ability to find a quality starting point guard via trade this season but also allows the team to potentially pursue a max-type free agent next summer as they currently sit about $20 million under next year’s cap.

-ASChin

twitter: @bobcatsbaseline

Bobcats Blow Fourth Quarter Lead In Loss To Raptors

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Charlotte Bobcats vs Raptors, 3/29/10


The Charlotte Bobcats dropped another winnable game to the Toronto Raptors, 103-101, on Monday night at the Cable Box.  The Cats led by six points to start the final period before falling behind.  A mad scramble in the closing 90 seconds resulted in one last chance for the Cats, down two, to tie or win.  However, Raymond Felton couldn’t connect with a cutting Tyson Chandler and the ball bounced out of bounds to ensure the loss.

AP recap here |  Box score here

Things looked pretty good for the Cats after three quarters.  No one was playing extraordinarily; instead it was a pretty well-rounded effort.  The Cats had contained Chris Bosh, and kept Andrea Bargnani and Hedo Turkoglu very much in check.

But some issues lurked.  Stephen Jackson was in full-on “I’m more interested in barking at the refs instead of beating the Raptors” mode after being in foul trouble all game.  The Cats had not been able to turn the Raps over very much (10 Raptor turnovers, only 7 fast break points for the Bobcats).  The Cats were outrebounded 38-31.

Furthermore, the Cats had not taken enough advantage of the Raptors notoriously bad defense (only 24 points in the paint).  Being without the high-flying antics of  Tyrus Thomas (ankle) and the low-post scoring of Nazr Mohammed (back, still) didn’t help here, but the Raps also usually give up more penetration into the lane than the Cats were able to manage.

These shortcomings allowed the Raps a chance to make a few clutch shots in the decisive fourth quarter and overcome the Cats.  Jarrett Jack, Andrea Bargnani and Hedo Turkoglu all hit big threes.  Jarrett Jack then added three free throws after drawing a foul on Raymond outside the arc to push the Raps lead to 100-93 with just under 3 minutes left.

From there, Stephen Jackson’s five straight points and the Raptors’ 3-6 performance from the free throw line conspired to make the finish interesting.  With 13 seconds left, the Cats got the ball down two.  With Stephen Jackson, Boris Diaw and Gerald Wallace camped out along the three-point line for the kickout, Raymond Felton drove into the lane, moving from right to left.  As the defense collapsed on Raymond, Tyson Chandler cut to the basket.

If you want to blame it on Tyson, say that he didn’t take a great angle to the basket on his cut (or that he probably wouldn’t have caught the pass if it came right to him — probably true).  If you want to blame it on Raymond (more appropriate) say that he flat-out threw an errant pass.

Whatever you choose, they didn’t connect.  The ball bounced out of bounds with a couple seconds left, leaving the Raps to simply complete an inbounds play to steal the win.

Tidbits

  • I’ll keep my bitching brief, because “he is who he is” and on balance, he’s been a big positive for the Cats.  But if Jack could channel half the vitriol he directs at the officials towards his opponent, he’d get that All-Star recognition he supposedly covets so much.  The Cats would also probably get an extra couple of wins over 82 games.  In the third quarter, after fouling Bargnani, getting under his skin and drawing a tech on the Italian, and hitting the technical free throw, Jack couldn’t stop yapping at the ref about the loose ball foul that started it all, eventually garnering a tech of his own.  Pointless…
  • Tyson Chandler rolled an ankle in the second quarter and left for the the locker room.  After a retape (I presume) he did return.
  • Owner Michael Jordan was back in his benchside seat and got into it with the refs in the fourth quarter when the Raps were taking the game over.  Didn’t help…
  • Shame about that last turnover for Raymond — before it he had played another really nice game with 18 points (7-12 FG, 4-5 3PT), 5 rebounds and 7 assists.
  • The loss drops the Cats to 38-35 and 7th place in the East.  We’re 1.5 games behind 6th place Miami and 2 games ahead of 8th place Toronto.  Tonight’s loss gives Toronto the season series at 2-1, should we finished tied with them.  Hollinger’s playoff odds are currently predicting that we’ll finish in 7th place, 1 game behind Miami.
  • 9 games left: 5 home, 4 away.  Next one is Monday night at home against the 76ers — follow me on Twitter for in-game tweets.

-Dr. E

Bobcats’ Road, Turnover Woes Continue In Toronto

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Charlotte Bobcats @ Raptors, 12/30/09

New Year’s Resolutions: Less Turnovers, More Road Wins

The Charlotte Bobcats were defeated 107-103 by the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday night in Toronto.  AP recap here, box score here.  The Bobcats drop to 12-18 overall and a dismal 1-13 on the road.  For the Raptors, the win is their fifth in a row; they improve to 16-17 overall.  The Raptors played without starting PG Jose Calderon; Hedo Turkoglu sat out the second half after suffering a knee bruise in the first half.

It was more of the same for the Bobcats as they committed 23 turnovers.  The Raptors took advantage with 33 points off those turnovers.  In the first quarter, the Bobcats shot over 70%; however, they committed 9 turnovers and finished the period down 31-26.

The Bobcats also had trouble slowing down Chris Bosh — the soon-to-be unrestricted free agent had 33 points (11-20 FG, 11-11 FT) and 13 rebounds, 2 steals, 2 assists and a block.

Want A Microcosm?

The last couple minutes of the game serve as a pretty good microcosm for the whole thing.  Down five with under 3 minutes left, the Bobcats were able to get 3 straight buckets in the paint to take a 1 point lead — the Raptors don’t offer much resistance.  On the next Toronto possession, however, Chris Bosh got a easy basket after a clutch post move on an overmatched Boris Diaw to put the Raps back up 1.

Next Bobcats possession (just over a minute left): Stephen Jackson badly misses a 20-footer trying to draw a cheap foul.  Belinelli then missed a wild layup.  Next Bobcats possession: Raymond Felton turnover as he tried to dribble between his legs against a defense that had collapsed on him.  30 seconds left as the Raps go for the win.  The ball goes in to Bosh and the Cats are forced to double; Bosh then makes the right pass out of the double, to Bargnani spotted up at the 3-point line.  Nail in the coffin, as Bargnani nails the 3 — Raps up 4 with 10 seconds left.

Bullets

  • Gerald Wallace had a good game with 15 points/16 rebounds.  He was only able to get to the line 1 time, however, as the Raps were able to shut down his limit his slashing/driving.
  • Besides the 6 turnovers, Raymond Felton had a good game as well: 23 points on 10-12 shooting (!) and 7 rebounds.
  • Stephen Jackson continues to be the main culprit with the turnovers — he had 7 tonight.  What is it about Larry Brown’s offense that seems to cause the main ballhandlers/playmakers (Felton, Diaw, Jackson) to turn the ball over so much?
  • Larry Brown’s postgame comments to the media were very brief.  He was clearly disappointed with the team’s play.
  • Next game is Saturday afternoon (3PM ET start) at Miami — have a safe and happy New Year’s, everyone.

-Dr. E

Charlotte Bobcats vs. Raptors 3/16/09

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1.  The Bobcats end their three-game skid with a thorough beating of the Toronto Raptors, 112-86, on Monday night at the Cable Box.  AP story here, box score here.  The Cats improve to 29-38 overall, 19-16 at home, and more importantly, stay afloat in the race for the 8th playoff spot in the East.

2.  As the pics above show, the Raptors wore green unis in honor of St. Patty’s Day.  I’d love to relentlessly bag on them, but they actually looked pretty good.

Also, check Voskuhl in the background of the Gerald Wallace alley-oop shot sporting the warmup: a white longsleeve with green “Raptors” and a shamrock.  Red Auerbach is spinning in his grave right now.

3.  Save for a couple of minutes early in the first quarter, the Cats led this one from wire to wire and looked pretty good doing it.  Unlike the first two times these teams matched up back in November, Chris Bosh was held in check tonight.  CB4 only had 18 points (5-12 FG, 8-9 FT), but did dominate the boards with 14.  Overall, the Raptors shot poorly (38%, including 3-16 3PT).  (This morning’s film session must have helped.)

4.  Both Bosh and Calderon picked up technical fouls arguing calls.  Overall, the team looks like they were ready for the season to be over weeks ago.  And, so sad to see The Matrix like this: 12 points on 4-8 FG, 6 rebounds and 3 assists.  If Marion is Dirk Diggler, then this stint with the Raptors is definitely the “The Heat Will Rock You” segment.  Maybe next year will be like the scene where they try to rob/scam Alfred Molina.  Roko Ukic can play the little Asian boy with the firecrackers.

5.  I was honestly stunned to see that Andrea Bargnani had only 11 FGAs when I looked at the box score after the game.  It seemed like he was shooting the ball every other time down the court in person.  I would have bet a C-note that he shot over 20 times, yet the box score says only 11.

6.  For the Bobcats, everyone played pretty well.  A 16-4 run midway though the third quarter broke the game open, leaving the Cats with a 75-56 lead that they wouldn’t squander.  The Cats shot 49% from the field and 18-19 from the free throw line.  32 of the 44 baskets were assisted, versus only 12 turnovers on the night.  Pretty solid.

7.  Gerald Wallace led the way with 25 points (8-13 FG, 1-3 3PT, 8-8 FT), 9 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals and a block.  Augustin led the bench crew with 15 points (6-10 FG, 3-4 3PT), 6 assists, 2 rebounds and a steal.

Despite shooting 1-7 3PTs, Radmanovic led the team with a robust +27 +/- in 31 minutes.  The 9 rebounds and 4 assists he notched probably had something to do with that.

8.  With the Bobcats in control early, Cartier Martin got some meaningful run in this one (9 points in 15 minutes).  Juwan Howard and Nazr Mohammed also got off the bench for a few minutes as well.  But the biggest applause was reserved for Sean May, who logged 3 minutes at the end of the game.  The fans ate it up as May went on a mini scoring binge of five points in garbage time.

In all seriousness, May looked OK out there — noticably thinner than he’s been in a long time.  And it was nice that none of the starters played 40 minutes.  In fact, only Felton and Wallace played over 30.

9.  New Jersey lost to Denver Monday night to fall to 2 full games back, while the rest of the 8th seed hopefuls were idle.

So Milwaukee and Chicago are tied for the 8th spot.  The Bobcats are 1 full game back, the Knicks 1.5.

10.  Next game: hosting Sacramento Wednesday night at 7 PM ET.  Go Cats!

-E