I’ll give you three guesses, but if you need more than one then you must not follow the NBA or watch FOX on Sundays (or any other day thanks to syndication; love them reruns). What’s the answer? Easy—
Whether you are the optimistic or pessimistic type it is kind of hard not to agree with that. Coming into this season it was pretty easy to see that this season was likely going to be a rough one for the guys. While all the young talent is something to be excited and encouraged about, the team has no definitive leader or focal point.
The good thing is that in time a leader can develop. The problem is going to be in figuring out whom it will be and how long will it take for him to step up. Hence the theme of the post—low expectations (go ahead comedians let me have it).
I would not want to do this often, and I’m glad it is happening in a strike shortened season, but I don’t mind having a year like this. It may sound crazy, but hear me out a little.
Last night Andrew Bynum punched another ticket on his goon card with this absurdly cheap shot on the 5’2″ 118 pound J.J. Barea. I have no problem with hard fouls, but if you are going to dish one out, then man up and do it in game one of the series to give the Mavs a chance to retaliate. Don’t do it when you are down by 30 in game 4 on your way to getting swept.
Lets take a closer look at Andrew Bynum’s goon history.
If there was a worse way for this game to have gone, I’m not sure what it is. Star player is injured, your team loses, and opposing team’s star sits the entire fourth quarter. In a rivalry that your team has dominated. Yup, that’s about all I can say for tonight’s Charlotte Bobcats loss in Los Angeles.
Kobe Bryant, Phil Jackson and the L.A. Lakers shouldn’t get so upset about this, they should really be used to this by now. It’s been happening for years, No matter how phenomenal the Lakers are or how bad the Bobcats have been at the time, one fact has remained true. The Bobcats own the Lakers.
Why do the Cats have this mystical hold over the Lakers? Who the Hell knows, as fans we just have to enjoy it. It brought joy to my heart to see Kobe grinding his teeth and scowling at his teammates. Watching Phil Jackson have a conniption during each timeout was by itself worth the price of admission.
Although this has happened to the Lakers time and time again against the Bobcats, they were still extremely pissed following this loss. Lets have a listen to what they had to say after being decimated by the Bobcats… Again.
Looney-Tunes Ron Artest was impressed with 3 things following last night’s game: Nazr Mohammed’s conditioning, Kwame brown’s improvement since leaving Los Angeles and third he was impressed with the smell of his Unbreakable cologne. Take a look.
Nights like tonight are when I remind myself why I suffer through losing streaks, ownership issues, bad tv deals, and all the other problems of being a Charlotte Bobcats fan. Being a Bobcats fan means all that, but it also means an annual win or two against the Kobe Bryant-led Los Angeles Lakers, in front of a packed house sprinkled with fair-weather Kobe-lovers, Ric Flair, Bob Johnson, and MJ himself. Tonight was no different, and Gerald Wallace, Stephen Jackson and crew led the Bobcats to a win, 98-83.
After a disappointing road trip out West and two poor games this week, it seemed the ship was taking on water at the very least. But for tonight, if not the future, Gerald Wallace returned to his pre-All Star Game form with 17 points, 10 rebounds and 4 assists, and Stephen Jackson did his part with 21 points and 4 steals. But while the stars were part of the story, the Bobcat Bench was the glue that sealed the win, led by Tyrus Thomas (14 pts, 9 rbds, 2 blks) and DJ Augustin (12 pts, 5 ast, 2 st) but supported very well by Gerald Henderson and newly-returned Tyson Chandler, who had been out with the foot injury that’s hurt him all season long. Augustin, who had been a miserable 2-27 in a 5-game stretch prior to the Boston game Wednesday, went 5-8, and 2-3 from 3 point range, which is encouraging for all ‘Cats fans. Henderson received his first meaningful playing time of the year (albeit someshort), and delivered with Raja Bell-like defense on Bryant, who scored 26 on 9-21 shooting (0-4 on threes). The rookie had 6 points and 2 rebounds along with a steal and a block. Larry Brown said afterwards “I was proud of Gerald Henderson. The first time we played the Lakers in LA he said ‘Coach, I’d like to play against them,’ and I was a little nervous about that, but I saw him play in Boston; If he makes mistakes, if he takes a bad shot, it’s not because he isn’t trying so I think I’m gonna put him in more, give him a chance.” In the locker room post-game, Michael Jordan came up to Henderson and congratulated him. Perhaps that highly publicized game of HORSE, which Henderson called a “blessing in disguise,” had a major impact? Coach Brown also said that Tyrus Thomas would be a “helluva player” and said his attitude was comparable to Gerald Wallace in terms of wanting to learn. Speaking of Gerald, he summed up the night rather well with these words on the sporadic Laker jerseys in the stands:
“We want them to come with whoever they want to go with, as long as when they go home they’re Bobcats fans we’re good with that.”
The Bobcats fumbled away an in-bounds pass with 9 seconds on the clock giving Jordon Farmar a dunk. Flip Murray then hit a long 3 pointer, (needed to tie the score when the Bobcats fumbled their inbound), ending the game with a (99-97) lose to the Lakers. Give the Lakers credit for intense defense against a team that had beaten them the last two visits to their building. The ‘Cats again were led by Stephen Jackson who was the game high scorer with 30 points. Nazr Mohammed also chipped in with a season high 23 points to go with 17 rebounds. The Bobcats managed to do this with All-Star Gerald Wallace side-lined with a sore hamstring.
The bench played solid second quarter minutes, allowing the ‘Cats starters much needed rest, as both teams played intense defense throughout the game. Kobe Bryant was held to 5 points for the game. This ends an eleven day (six game) road-trip for the Bobcats. I would call it a solid road-trip for a couple of points. The team doubled their road victories, (from 3 to 6), while playing only one really bad quarter (the fourth at Portland). It would have been “icing-on-the-cake” for the ‘Cats to pull this one out but it just did not happen. The Bobcats remain as the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference. The ‘Cats return home to play a Hornets team missing their injured star, Chris Paul.
First quarter action favored the Bobcats (21-19) with good defense from both teams. Raymond had a solid first quarter leading all scorers with 9 points. Boris Diaw had to leave quickly with two first quarter fouls. Charlotte limited their TO’s to 3 for the quarter. A very solid team effort (except B. Diaw) with your All-Star (G. Wallace) side-lined.
It was a very interesting start to the second quarter with all Bobcat starters, except S. Jackson, getting breathers. Jackson also left midway through the period for a break. D. Brown, F. Murray, and D. Diop playing needed minutes off the bench to get the starters rest. The ‘Cats lost the quarter, 30-26, going into the half trailing by 2 points. The bench played solid defense and certainly kept the team in the game. Diop was very active with 7 rebounds in his 12:45 minutes of play for the half. Kobe Bryant had an ankle twist right before the quarter ended. S. Jackson and A. Bynum both had 12 points to lead all scorers at the half.
K. Bryant returned to start the second half. The Bobcats defense continued to make Bryant a non-factor holding him to 5 points through three quarters. The Lakers won the quarter, (23-20), to extend their lead by 5 points. B. Diaw took himself out of the game again with another two fouls (4 for the game).
Fourth quarter action remained intense for both teams. The Lakers managed to put up their largest lead (7 points) but the Bobcats kept fighting back. A fumbled in-bounds pass at the 9 second mark denied the ‘Cats an opportunity to try and tie the game.
Nazr Mohammed with his third double-double of the season.
Stephen Jackson scored 30 points against a very tough Laker defense.
K. Bryant was held to 5 points for the game!
Solid road-trip (3-3) after only 3 prior road wins.
Team defense was solid throughout the game.
Solid bench play when needed.
TO’s…13…but too many happened at key points in the game!
Boris Diaw took himself out of the game for three quarters with four fouls. Diaw also had zero points and played poor defense for the 25 minutes he managed to stay in the game. Will this guy every be a positive factor again in a game? Will he ever step-up (G. Wallace side-lined and the team needed him) his game when his teammates need him?
Next game for the Bobcats: Saturday 2/6/10 7:00pm vs. the NO Hornets