I know, I know, it’s not Saturday, and none of this actually happened on Saturday to begin with. But I decided with this glut of information to throw at you I should just make a Godfather post, starting in the Queen City and ending in Disney World. Let’s start from the beginning, shall we?
The beginning would be in Time Warner Cable Arena on Friday night. Your Charlotte Bobcats played the much-maligned Los Angeles Clippers, one of the most poorly managed franchises in all of sports. They didn’t play like it for much of the game, though, keeping pace with the Bobcats. However, part of that likely had to do with former Charlotte Hornet Baron Davis drawing a flagrant foul on Gerald “Crash” Wallace in the 2nd quarter, which left Wallace out for this game and likely a while longer, but we’ll get to that later. In the short term, that didn’t matter, with Stephen Jackson’s 24 points and 6 assists leading the ‘Cats to a 106-98 victory. Jackson had assistance from Raymond Felton’s near triple double (10 points, 11 assists, 8 rebounds), Boris Diaw’s 16 points and 5 assists, and Tyson Chandler’s spectacular 13 points and 9 rebounds off the bench. Wallace had 17 points, 6 rebounds and 4 steals in 21 minutes. Michael Jordan was not present, missing his first game since it was announced he’s buying the team. He was with his son Jeff, who is on the Illinois basketball team that was competing in the Big Ten tournament.
Wallace has been diagnosed with a sprained ankle, and missed the entire second half of the Clippers game, tonight’s game against the Magic (recap below) and is out for Tuesday’s game in Indiana. His status after that is “day-to-day” and he will take off the protective boot upon arrival in Indianapolis. When asked about Wallace’s condition, Stephen Jackson simply said “Pray.” In other injury news, Center DeSagana Diop had dizzy spells during a Thursday practice and is out until at least Atlanta, possibly longer depending on tests. No word on Center Nazr Mohammed’s progress, though with the tremendous play lately by Theo Ratliff and Tyson Chandler, no rush to either Gana or Naz. Get well, guys.
We learned over the weekend that another injured player has been added to the Bobcats roster. That would be former 76ers first round pick Larry Hughes, who played for Larry Brown in Philadelphia and for Michael Jordan and Bobcats GM Rod Higgins in Washington, along with being a teammate of multiple current Bobcats. He is expected to be able to play within 7-10 days, and will be a backup shooting guard and the emergency third point guard if DJ Augustin or Raymond Felton were to get into foul trouble or be injured. Hughes will be playoff roster eligible, and since he will likely be able to adequately replace Flip Murray, the trade for Tyrus Thomas becomes that much more of a steal. Hughes has also played for Golden State, Cleveland, Chicago, and New York. He averaged 22 points per game with the Wizards in 2004-2005, and was the inaugural recipient of the Austin Carr “Good Guy” Award, for being helpful to the Cleveland media and community.
The last major update takes us to Orlando, where the ‘Cats were on the road tonight to face the Orlando Magic. Without Crash, Stevie Graham made his 6th start of the season, and Captain Jack took over the load once again, with 28 points, 6 rebounds, and 6 assists to help get the ‘Cats their sixth straight win, 96-89. Graham added 12 points and 6 rebounds, Ray Felton put in 16 and dished out 7 assists, Theo Ratliff had 10 points and 9 boards, and Tyrus Thomas had 9 points and 9 rebounds. The Bobcats held the free-shooting Magic to 11-32 three point shots, or 34%. Sharpshooters Rashard Lewis, Jameer Nelson, and J.J. Redick combined to go an abysmal 1-12 from behind the arc. Dwight Howard led the Magic with 27 points on 12-14 shooting, but was 3-10 from the free throw line. Magic Coach Stan Van Gundy said postgame “We weren’t very good at anything.” While that might be a bit harsh, he’s right in that the Bobcats are on a roll and have been playing excellent basketball, with or without their All-Star. Yankees Ace C.C. Sabathia drove up to see good friend Stephen Jackson play against the Magic despite pitching earlier in the day.
Rick Bonnell noted recently that
“All you fools who made fun of me for writing it would be a huge mistake for the Bobcats to sign Allen Iverson (you know who you are; I can look up the responses) can send me your heart-felt apologies soon as possible.”
While I assume Rick was just being trivial or attempting humor, he was not only wrong to begin with (what else is new) but he called his readers fools, which in jest or not, none of us here at BCP will ever do. Now, let’s look at why Mr. Bonnell is wrong. When the discussion for this signing was being made, Stephen Jackson was still playing in California, Bob Johnson seemed to be well in control of the team and Gerald Henderson was the only backup shooting guard. What many of us were asking for was what Memphis did very well. Sign Iverson, sell a ton of jerseys and tickets, and if he doesn’t work out, waive him with a minimal hit to the team. What’s so “wrong” about that, Rick?
Notes: Larry Brown has been rumored to both the Philadelphia and LA Clippers Head Coaching jobs, even though neither is technically available, but he said that him staying is “up to Michael (Jordan).” For right now, it appears MJ wants Larry around, and no changes are imminent…The Bobcats sale to Michael Jordan is expected to go through by the end of this week, at which time we will have a special ownership edition of Michael’s Minute with Bobcats Director of Corporate Communications Michael Thompson. If you go to the forum, you can submit a question you’d like answered.