Semi-Depleted Bobcats beat Seriously-Depleted Jazz
The headline in the Salt-Lake Tribune reads “Depleted Jazz let victory slip away.” The Observer’s for the same game reads “Hollins energizes Bobcats.” I prefer to look at the game as a fan and say “Cats freakin almost gave the game away but made some great plays, awesome dunks and blocks, I could give to poops about who was on the floor for the Jazz, who cares we freakin’ pulled it out in the end!”
That’s 2 freakin’s and one poop, pretty harsh headline, don’t think I’ll be a sports editor anytime soon. I thoroughly enjoyed the game. Missed the first 4 or 5 minutes because I’m approximately 10 minutes from the arena but the walk takes 10 from the parking deck and I didn’t really account for that. Point is I missed the wonder that is Sean May trying to make it up and down the court, even jump. Very peculiar starting line-up if you forget what we’re working with here. Okafor, Felton, Gerald Wallace, all regulars that you’ve got to feel good about. Jared Dudley has been starting at PF and of course leading-scorer Jason Richardson at the 2 guard. Dudley’s been, well let’s say “put in his place” by the greatest basketball player ever. J-Rich got his knee scoped, no damage but you can’t move laterally for about 5 days after that, so he’s out, nothing you can do. I’ve felt good with the guys mentioned, Matt Carroll, Sean May, not so much. Matt looked like he didn’t have a spot on Larry Brown’s system early in the season. May ate himself out of the rotation and suddenly he showed up the other night late in the game.
The power forward position is a huge question mark, but you can’t reshuffle because you think/hope you can make it work another way, right Sam Vincent? One thing I’m really enjoying this year is what Larry Brown is doing with players and their “roles.” He’s not painting them into a corner, he hasn’t predestined their spots but played to their strengths and weaknesses. Raymond Felton as the point guard, every night, in most game situations? Who would have thought of such a thing? Gerald Wallace playing at the small forward and slashing and hitting open shots when given the chance. Possibly most important are the roles given to Okafor and Adam Morrison.
Okafor plays center, I don’t care if he has no back to the basket offensive skills, he’s only 6’10” or 6’11.” His strength is defense on big men/protecting the rim and rebounding. His weaknesses are outside defense, he doesn’t seem to move quick enough for athletic PF’s, and we don’t want him to do that if he was good at it anyway. If he has to step out he’s not close enough to get a rebound, not close enough to stuff a driving shot to the basket.
Morrison has been playing fantastic defense, hitting his shots (except the first one off the bench which he missed badly twice last night), just providing something really valuable in his given role of sixth man. I’ve wondered why Chicago’s leading scorer comes off the bench (Ben Gordon); it has to be because he fits better in that role.
Putting Morrison out there starting would not have helped. The only other choice had to be Carroll, who struggled early but came through with some big threes. He might get hot in the next few games and really help down the stretch in games. I liked the way he played last night. I liked the way May played as well.
Sean May has more than pissed me off lately. But he’s our best option at the power forward position, if healthy and able to keep up. I’m so sick of saying that. If healthy, if he would get in shape, if only he had decided to have the surgery at the end of his rookie season instead of the beginning of last year. Well my Dad always says “If my aunt had the equipment, she’d be my uncle.” Facts are he’s not getting it done for so many reasons and he needs to get better simply because of his abilities he showed last night. It seems like every team that is in that “are they good or are they not” has a guy that starts and may or may not provide what he’s capable of.
I’ve gotten off track because I honestly do not recall much of the game. The place was crowded and I’m a people watcher. I was sitting next to some big Australian guys that had Discovery Place wristbands on. I really wanted to ask what that was all about but never did. Over in 215 there was a guy that thought he was calling plays. “PUUUSHHHH IIIITTT!!!!!!!!” he’d shout after every rebound by the ‘Cats. At one point he thought he could run the defense, shouting “ZONE! ZONE! ZONE!”
The game was very fun to watch as you can see from the highlights. Great dunks by Wallace, Shannon Brown, and Hollins. A very nasty one by Boozer who almost brought the Jazz back single handedly but was limited by foul trouble then finally fouled out. The free throws towards the end and general team play were what saved the Bobcats from losing to a supremely short handed Jazz team.
I really want to go back and watch this game on dvr but it wasn’t shown on TV locally. Very disappointing in a long line of disappointing blunders by this team related to TV. I realize you can’t show every game on TV because you won’t get some fringe fans to show up ever but, you need some fringe fans to make that theory work.
Winners win when they should as well as when they don’t have an advantage. This team has not proven the later but last night helped them show they are close to showing they can close the deal against “lesser” or even the dreaded “depleted” teams on any night.