New Orleans is another one of those good teams, coming into last night’s game 24-16, that the Bobcats have to beat. Well, they had a chance but squandered it by regressing. Too often last night the ‘Cats fell into old habits of complaining, protesting calls, slowing down the offense and allowing easy baskets off of turnovers. Biggest single example? Tyrus Thomas giving the ol’ crook of the arm to former Bobcat Emeka Okafor. The play resulted in T-Time’s ejection, 2 shots for Okafor (which he made…go figure) and the ball for the Hornets. 81-77 when the rebound occured and 85-77 at the end of that exchange. Two and a half minutes to go in the game and one act of stupidity results in an additional 4 points that the offending party wouldn’t be around to help get back.
So, with the Bobcats facing the Hornets tonight and only being able to watch the game on one of two TVs, my mother’s recorded soaps on the other, Dad and I sit down to watch the game. Without further ado: Shit My Dad Says version of Bobcats vs Hornets
I hate that damn Sprite commercial (the one with Drake, I’m not even sure)…it’s not even music. If it were music we’d still hate it because it doesn’t even rhyme!
(Steve Martin explaining the Stephen Jackson suspension)That’s just ridiculous, they won’t let him play for something he said to the ref. Not getting off the court in time? Come on!
The Hornets jumped out to an early first quarter lead, but the Bobcats behind the scoring of Stephen Jackson ( 25 points ), the rebounding of Gerald Wallace ( 13 boards, 10 points) along with the strong overall play of Tyrus Thomas (17 points, 7 boards) managed to tighten it up by halftime and the game remained close for the rest of regulation.
In overtime the Bobcats breezed to the win, outscoring the Hornets 16 to 9. A few things of note from this game:
Boris Diaw actually ran the point for a little while during the game. We speculated on this over the summer, most thinking that Boris getting minutes at the point wouldn’t necessarily be a good thing.
- DJ Augustin continued his solid play with 15 points, 5 assists and 4 rebounds. Following his play in the last few preseason games, the community panic level over the PG position seems to be settling down just a bit.
- Gerald Henderson struggled, going 1-5 from the field for just 2 points, 1 rebound 0 assists, 0 steals in 18 minutes. This is his second straight game where he has put up a weak statline like this one. I wonder if he came back too soon from his hamstring tweak?
- Shaun Livingston sat out again to rest his knee. How on earth is that knee going to hold up for an 82 game season if he is having pain in it already?
One more preseason game remaining and then the real fun begins.
Charlotte fans are getting a quick peek at what could be the roller coaster ride the play-offs will be for their Bobcats. For the second game in a row, the ‘Cats let a huge margin evaporate (26 points tonight) and had a tough fight on their hands to win the game. Tonight saw the Bobcats go through a 35 point swing, 26 points up to 9 points down, and have to fight back to get a win against a determined Hornets team. There were lots of first for the Bobcats tonight. They clinched their first ever play-off berth. They won for the first time on the Hornets home court. Tyson Chandler also has the most points, 16, as a Bobcat. Chandler added 10 rebounds and 5 blocked shots to go with his 16 points. Lastly, the ‘Cats assured themselves of their first winning season in franchise history with tonight’s win. Stephen Jackson led all Charlotte scorers with 29 points. But the biggest offensive player for the ‘Cats was arguably DJ Augustine. The Hornets bench outscored DJ by one point, 15-14, as DJ connected on 4 of 5 three-point attempts and hit 5 of 7 shots from the field. When the ‘Cats struggled offensively tonight, it seemed as if DJ was there for every bail-out point his team needed. Raymond Felton hit two free throws as the game was ending and they were the difference, since the Hornets hit a three-point shot as time ended!
In one game summary a few weeks back I wrote that there would not be any “easy wins” for the Bobcats and there really have not been. The teams staying home for the play-offs still have something to prove, so it’s a fight every night. Tonight the Bobcats not only gained a win but character, after letting New Orleans overcome a huge point margin. The ‘Cats will need all the character they can find when the play-offs start. If the season had ended tonight the Bobcats would be paired against the second-best Eastern Conference team, the Orlando Magic. But the ‘Cats still have four games left in the season and trail both the Heat and the Bucks by two games, so the final standings could change.
Tyson Chandler with a double-double and 5 blocked shots.
Stephen Jackson with 29 points.
First half ball distribution.
Free throw shooting (87.5%)
DJ Augustine with a clutch game.
Second half defense.
Poor ball distribution in the second half.
Larry Hughes only has four more regular season games to find his shooting touch.
35 point swing from the ‘Cats to the Hornets.
Turn overs (22).
Next game for the Bobcats: Friday 4/9/10 8:30pm at the Houston Rockets
There are many good ways to spend a Saturday evening. Unfortunately for us Bobcats fans, none of those ways involved anything that happened in last night’s Bobcats game.
For starters, we had Emeka Okafor come back to town. Emeka is a nice guy, and to be honest with you he was one of my favorite players during his time as a Bobcat. With that being said, it was more than a little bit painful watching him put up 16 points, 7 rebounds, 2 blocked shots and 1 steal while playing solid D. The guy that we got for him ( Tyson Chandler ) when we traded him away this summer had a nice suit, a great view of the game from the bench while resting his eternally gimpy ankle… again.
Next was the George Shinn factor. When Shinn ripped the NBA out of Charlotte almost a decade ago, he single-handedly managed to sour the fanbase on the NBA to the point where people are still reluctant to come back. So to watch that little goofy assed dwarf’s Mr. Shinn’s team come back and drop an ‘L’ on the Bobcats was unpleasant to say the least.
Next on my list was watching a rookie fill in for CP3 who was out and not miss a beat with 24 points and 4 assists. Seriously guys, Darren friggin Collison????
Next, puzzling rotations. Let me preface this by saying that Larry Brown knows more about basketball than 99.99% of the human population, BUT his rotations baffle me at times. DJ Augustin was playing really well ( 5-6 from the field, 5 assists but only 18 minutes ). Nazr Mohammed played Emeka well in the first half but we don’t see him on the court in the 4th quarter with the game on the line, Instead we go small?
The final straw to a rotten Saturday night was the 3rd quarter collapse. They entered the 3rd quarter up by 10, they exited the quarter down by 5. They gave up a ridiculous 36 points in that quarter and the defense looked nothing like the devastating D that we were seeing during the month of January.
All of these factors combined to create a pretty rotten Saturday evening.
What were your thoughts on Saturday’s game?
It’s baaaack. The NBA has finally tipped off, if only for preseason action. That means LeBron and Shaq are playing together, AI and the Grizzlies aren’t, and Charles Barkley is back to being paid to murder the English language. On Tuesday, Bobcats fans from across the Carolinas, across the country, and around the world (just go on the forums and take a look at our international flavor!) were thrilled as our beloved Charlotte Bobcats were back in action against the Cleveland Cavaliers in Ohio. Thursday brought the ‘Cats back to North Carolina, but this time in Greensboro where they played the Hornets, and then tonight, Saturday, again against the Cavs but this time in Charleston, South Carolina, the second and final of the “Taste of the Carolinas” tour.
While preseason means starters are given bench minutes, this still gives us a look at the team before the season and a good look at the bench. With Tyson Chandler and Boris Diaw out, Vladimir Radmonivic and Nazr Mohammed joined regulars Raymond Felton, Raja Bell, and Gerald “Crash” Wallace in the starting lineup. Crash wasn’t his usual self in this one, playing ten minutes and going 0-5 from the field, although he did have two free throws. The real story in this one, though, was center Nazr Mohammed. Going up against Shaq, Nazzy had 10 points on 5 of 7 feild goals, 8 rebounds, 2 blocks, and no fouls in 18 minutes. In 16 minutes, Shaq had 6 points, 3 boards, and 1 block with 3 fouls. Which one of those looks like the one worthy of the SportsCenter highlights? Well, tell that to ESPN. Not a single Bobcat highlight was shown on ESPN. Not even Alexis Ajinca’s alley-oop. Speaking of the Frenchman, he was also impressive. In 19 minutes, he went 3-6, scored 9 points, had 7 rebounds, an assist, a steal, and a block. And this wasn’t even his best game. Other notable stories were Flip Murray, Raja Bell, and Gerald Henderson making the shooting guard trio’s total from the field a miserable 6-24, Derrick Brown scoring 10 points in just under 23 minutes, and Stevie Graham looking like a real energy guy off the bench for Larry Brown. After the game, Larry Brown spoke about the replacement referees. “They’re learning,” Brown said. “It’s not an easy game to officiate and I understand that. I’m on them because all you do as a coach is want consistency. They don’t need to be hearing it from me, but I want my young kids to have a chance to win. We’ve got a lot of good people who are going to try and train these guys. They’re doing the best they can. Hopefully it gets settled and everybody benefits.” Brown received a technical foul from the crew, and may well be a regular offender this season.
Thursday brought Emeka Okafor back to the team that traded him this offseason, although he was sidelined with an injury, as was Tyson Chandler, who he was swapped for. Before the game, Mek said he was “shocked” to be traded from the team where he was the foundation, even though Larry Brown said at the end of last season he wanted Okafor to focus more on basketball and was repeatedly on Mek’s case during the year. But enough of that, on to what matters. The game redeemed Crash from his poor showing two days before, having him put up 14 points, 2 boards and a steal in 24 minutes. While Nazr Mohammed wasn’t as impressive at first, putting up only 4 points, his defensive presence was impressive, with four rebounds, two blocks, a steal, and +/- of +17, compared to backup center Gana Diop’s -8. The next highest on the team were Ray Felton and Derrick Brown at +9. Whatever Nazr did in the offseason, it seems to have paid off in gold. After playing just under 14 minutes, Felton left with a minor injury and did not return, but was back in the linuep against the Cavs. DJ Augustin manned the point from then on, scoring 22 points on just 2 field goals, shooting 18 free throws and making 16. Augustin said, “Coach told us to drive and not settle for jump shots, and that’s what I tried to do.” It didn’t hurt that the replacement officials were whistle happy, calling 77 fouls in all. Swingman Stevie Graham scored 15 points and 6 boards along with an assist, and Derrick Brown once again had 10 points.
Tonight it was back to playing Lebron, Shaq, and the rest of the Cavs, this time in Charleston. However, thanks to a bunch of greedy tv executives, most of South Carolina and a good deal of North Carolina couldn’t even see the game, per usual. Crash set the tone for the Bobcats in the first half and part of the second, dropping 18 points and grabbing 5 boards and a steal. But this was The Alexis Ajinca show. Lexy came into his own in the second half, putting down 15 points, 7 rebounds, a steal and two blocks. But it wasn’t just the stats, it was how he did it. Ajinca scored via mid-range jump shot, hook shot, alley-oop, dunk, lay-up, and putback. He was all over the Cavs bench, and if the Bobcats get half of this from him in the season, the worries about power forward depth are totally unnecessary. This kid has some real talent, and he’s finally starting to show it. Maybe he won’t be the tallest person in Maine this winter after all! In other notes from the game, Raja Bell and Flip Murray are still looking for their stroke, if you find it, please call 704-BOBCATS right away, they are offering a reward. Just Kidding. I think. Also, Stevie Graham came back down to earth a little tonight, with just 2 points, 4 rebounds, a block, and 5 fouls and turnovers. Shannon Brown, anyone? Anyways, I’m very encouraged by the first three games, and I’m looking forward to the next bunch.
- For those of you trying to listen to WFNZ’s broadcast of Bobcats games online, according to someone at WFNZ, that’s because the NBA and the Bobcats own the rights to all games broadcast online, and no othe entity can legally put the games online, whether in audio or video format. Why the game is being broadcast locally but not on NBA.com, who knows.
- Before the Cavs game, the Bobcats exercised their option for 2010-2011 on DJ Augustin’s contract. Larry Brown said “I think it’s a no-brainer.” The Bobcats have until after the third regular season game to decide whether to exercise Alexis Ajinca’s option.
- The Bobcats are hosting a free Open Practice on Thursday the 15th. You can sit anywhere you want outside the first five rows, and all who show up get a free soda and popcorn.
- Monday the Bobcats head to Atlanta to face the Hawks, then are off until the weekend when they head to Los Angeles to play part in the Lakers preseason tournament. They come back to Charlotte to play host to the Bucks on the 20th, then the Grizzlies on the 23rd, then the preseason is over and it’s time to get going.