Hope you guys don’t have an Election Day hangover. I know I partied til the break of dawn. TEA PARTAY! Riiiight. Election nerds are like sports nuts except without the athleticism and the Political stuff is a little less serious. One thing we can all agree on, at least here at BOBCATS Planet, well we can agree we care about the Bobcats. Whether we like it, we’re hopeful or not, want the coach fired, want the players traded…whatever, we share a concern (wrong word at 0-3) for the Charlotte Bobcats. So shake off the confetti you Republicans and cheer up you Democrats, or whatever happened in your particular district, and I’m officially regretting I started this post about politics, MOVING ON!
Bobcats travel to New Jersey, the Garden State to face the Nets Wednesday Night. These two teams, on the outside looking in are going in opposite directions. The Nets won their first two contests before being brought back to Earth by the Heat Sunday afternoon. The 1PM tipoff with the Giants on a bye but the Jets at home left a few empty seats against the ever amazing and intriguing Miami Heat. 17086 in an arena that holds 18,500 for basketball? Tsk, tsk Mr. Prokhorov. Wonder what the story is? Either way, the Heat looked unstoppable and on a few plays I saw in the highlights, Brook Lopez among others were thinking the same thing. Playing some of that olé defense with Lebron driving the lane, yep, down by 12 basically from the beginning, yep, I’d be doing the same thing.
The previous 2 games for New Jersey were wins by 3 over Detroit and by 6 against Sacramento. While they don’t look like much, it took until like mid-December for them to get to 2 last year. 4 straight home games to start the year for a young team in flux must be nice. ”In flux” there is an understatement. They got a new owner, new coach, 5 free agents and 3 rookies, new arena (for them) and then the constant rumors regarding Carmello Anthony. All of that going on and yet there is seemingly no sense of panic or confusion. As an observer, it looks like this ship in stormy seas has an excellent rudder as well as a solid captain. Between Mikhail Prokhorov and Avery Johnson, they have some proven strength. Avery in his 3 and a half years in Dallas has the best winning percentage of any coach in history. Prokhorov is a BBBBBBBillionaire, with a B. While you might think MJ is a big deal, and he is, Prokhorov is “Pushing for Draconian Labor Reform” in his native Russia. Yeah, I had to look it up too. Dude is seriously serious.
I gotta get the smell of the Nets’ jock out of my nose before somebody accuses me of…wait, I just accused myself. There are interesting things happening in Newark/East Rutherford/Brooklyn/Moscow? I can’t help but be inquisitive and look into it. Either way, onto the game. The Bobcats traveled back from Milwaukee Sunday, spent a couple days in Charlotte and headed back out again to New Jersey. I know that because I follow Sherron Collins, Larry Brown just said “Who?” I said, “You know the chunky dude that played at Kansas?” ”Point guard?” ”Yeah, LB, you still got those pills for your memory?” ”I have a 9 year old child.”
Seriously though, you gotta give a guy credit when he surprises you and this story from Rick Bonnell and Mike Gminski deserves a lot of credit. It’s interesting and provides a little hope. The G-Man says that the team didn’t even get their legs until January! January! Slick Rick goes on to say: ”Gminski suspects all that complexity makes the current point-guard situation problematic. With Raymond Felton gone to New York, the Bobcats have a first-time starter (D.J. Augustin), backed up by an injured newcomer (Shaun Livingston), backed up by an undrafted rookie (Sherron Collins).”
So with DJ coming into his own after 3 games (to me anyway), the Bobcats may fare better than Gminski’s ’81-’82 Nets. It is a concern but not a cause from alarm, this 0 and 3 start. Certainly, the defense falling off to 20th in the league and the offense picking up but not nearly as much as the D has fallen. DJ’s development and Larry’s tinkering with lineups will help, I have faith in that, whether it happens Wednesday night, who knows?
The Nets have a distinct advantage at the center position, Brook Lopez is damn good. Favors is coming on, although off the bench at the moment. Harris is doing his thing, 18.7 ppg and 8.3 assists per, not too shabby, could have helped….thanks a whole pile there Carmello! Beyond that, they’re a little thin but solid play from those role players, playing their roles and playing with the plays have carried them through, except against the Heat. Interesting to see Travis Outlaw score 10, Farmar hit on 14 or so, and Anthony Morrow (Charlotte Latin product) with 13, someone outside of their “core” steps up to at least help.
Can the Bobcats’ relative strength at the wings and “hustle” and “defense” a) show up and b) make the difference? Remains to be seen, that’s why they play the game as they say.
Final Score: Bobcats 96 - Nets 96 (Who said it won’t go to overtime?)
Over/Under: 30…Number of mentions in the chatroom that the Bobcats could have drafted Brook Lopez rather than DJ Augustin
Surprise of the game: Halftime will feature a poker game between Michael Jordan, Mikhail Prokhorov, Charles Oakley, Tony Soprano, Beyonce (Jay-Z doesn’t like to play), and a 14 year old who won’t be named because he’s a minor. The 14 year old wins the pot, including MJ’s last ditch bet of putting the team on the line and renames the Bobcats to the Charlotte Awesomes.