Bobcats, Brown Snag One From Sac-Town

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Jordan Watches Kwame Brown Beat The Kings

The Charlotte Bobcats pulled out a win in Sacramento to start their longest road trip thus far this season. Despite several bumbling moments late in the game, the Cats kept the Kings at arms-length throughout to notch a 94-89 win over their host in Sacramento.

AP Recap | Box Score

1st Half Notes

The game started ugly, with a lot of stoppages due to a hyped up referee crew. With so many whistles, neither team established a groove and both squads had to sit big men due to early foul trouble (Boris Diaw for Charlotte and DeMarcus Cousins for Sacramento). The first quarter was an exhibition in bad shooting.  The Bobcats could maybe blame this on time-zone difference, and the Kings could say that they suffered coming off of a back-to-back in Portland.  So, the poor shooting allowed for a load of rebounds and most of those came in the form of offensive boards for the home team.

Sacramento has a good reputation for their rebounding, and it appeared that Charlotte’s crew intentionally tried to avoid focusing on just battling them on the boards. The Bobcats were working to move the ball in transition and score quick, easy points. Had they stood around to the paint after shots, the game would have moved much slower and given the advantage to the Kings. This “strategy” led to a double-digit lead in the second quarter, where Gerald Wallace started to take over. Crash has been a bit “ho-hum” lately, and it was nice to see him drive to the hoop and finish strong. He’s capable of a lot more than he’s shown over the last month, and the team will need more of his presence on this road trip.

The Kings have some decent, young talent and guard Beno Udrih put a lot of work in to use his size against DJ Augustin early in the game. Tyreke Evans was covered by the taller Stephen Jackson, but scored easily to start. Surprisingly, Kings forward Jason Thompson showed a load of offensive ability and hustle during his first half minutes. Despite the bright spots for the Sacramento’s team, the Bobcats began to establish a flow on offense in the second quarter and Kwame Brown’s presence grew larger and larger on the defensive side of the floor. Things were rolling for the Cats to close the period, and it was great to see the guys building chemistry on the road trip as they talked and joked in the time-out huddles.

2nd Half Notes

Foul trouble was the theme for the start of the second-half of this game. Boris Diaw and Eduardo Najera both entered the 3rd Quarter with 3 fouls apiece. Diaw quickly snagged his fourth and it seemed as thought the Frenchman had barely seen the floor during the match. Najera was plugged in at the Power Forward spot, and handled his promotion excellently by nailing an open 3-pointer and getting to line on quick cuts. Stephen Jackson was fairly quiet throughout the first 2 quarters and somehow picked up 3 fouls in less than 2 minutes of the 3rd period, leading the Bobcats into the penalty very quickly. Interestingly, Kwame Brown kept taking the ball up strong and could not get the refs to call foul on the Kings defenders. Finally, after several bumps and slaps, DeMarcus Cousins was called for his 4th foul mid-way through the 3rd. Despite the lop-sided calls, Brown never lost his cool and kept working hard on both ends of the floor to snag 11 rebounds in the period.

After a streak-for-streak match by the teams to open the final quarter, the Bobcats found themselves struggling to establish offensive consistency. Shaun Livingston showed a few nice driving, pull-up shots, but that wasn’t nearly enough to settle the Kings momentum. Carl Landry threw down a strong dunk (with the beat of Snoop’s classic “What’s My Name?” playing over the arena soundsystem) to spark a rally for Sacramento. During their push, the Kings enjoyed Nazr Mohammed’s lack of presence on defense and made him look even more “ugh” on offense.

Coach Paul Silas must have seen enough, and unleashed Kwame Brown onto Sac-town about half-way through the 4th. Quickly, Brown forced Cousins into his 6th foul and eliminated the Kings’ best big man. While Stephen Jackson stepped up, Gerald Wallace went quiet for many of the final minutes. The most consistent force for the Cats was clearly Kwame Brown. Teammates worked to feed him and he defended the paint, allowing them to run out on the break. Boris Diaw re-entered the game late, and kept up a habit of making unnecessary passes until knocking down a 3-pointer that should have been the “nail in the coffin” shot with 1 minute left. Unfortunately, Charlotte finished ugly and left the door open for the Kings to cut it close. The Bobcats settled down when it counted and survived the scare to finish the game like professionals, winning 94-89.

Loose Notes:

Kwame Brown had a big double-double with 13 pts / 18 rebs! In a post-game interview, Kwame credited Asst. Coach Charles Oakley for pushing him during practice.

Boris Diaw made some bad fouls to keep him on the bench. While Najera filled in adequately, this could have been a big game for Boris to exploit the youth and inexperience of the opposing youngsters for the Kings.

Michael Jordan made the trip to see his club in Sacramento. It was also reported that he was at the Blazers-Kings game in Portland the night before. With Rod Higgins at his side, is he doing a little personnel scouting or just supporting his team on their big West Coast swing?

Gerald Henderson never found a rhythm in this game. He had a really sweet hang-in-the-air scoop lay-up early in the game, but showed nothing else. Dominic McGuire failed to impress, as well. D-Mac was forced to guard a lot bigger forwards, so he did well just to survive.

Lastly, I wanted to bring up a topic that’s been on the minds of a lot of Cats fans – rebuilding. It seems like the savvy thing to say is that a small-market team needs to follow the “build through the draft” model to succeed. If the San Antonio Spurs are the the prototype of this model, it should be noted that they are an anomaly. David Robinson and Tim Duncan don’t come around too often, and the Spurs struck gold twice. When folks (and fellow Baseliners) preach the “rebuild through the draft” method, we need to realize that a team like the Sacramento Kings are the most likely outcome of this plan. I hear that the Kings were really good about a decade a go. What’s been going on out there since?  Hmmm?

Bonus Link : Recap By Sactown Royalty

-Mike

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