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December 05, 2009

Burning garbage wasn't the worst of it

 I was driving back to the hotel from Friday's game and this smell filled my nostrils: Burning garbage. And I thought, 'Yeah, that's Jersey.' And it didn't stink nearly as badly as what I just watched.

Remember Tuesday, when Larry Brown said losing to the Boston Celtics wasn't an embarrassment, but the WAY they lost to the Celtics was an embarrassment? Well, losing to the Nets was an embarrassment, and the way they lost was a bigger embarrassment.

You'd have to do something pretty extraordinary to keep that team in a game. The Bobcats did it by missing 12 free throws and committing 19 turnovers. I was standing next to Tyson Chandler in the locker room as he stared at the box score. I asked him what consumed his attention. He pointed out that the Nets took 14 more shots.

Think about that: The Bobcats have a hell of a defense. Entering this game they led the league in fewest points allowed and were something like third in field-goal percentage allowed. They out-rebounded the Nets 51-39. Yet you give up 14 extra shots, and miss so many free throws, and you deserve these things to happen.

 Four of the five starters had three turnovers. Can't have that.

Some other thoughts:

-- I wondered how long it would take for Brown to treat D.J. Augustin for what he is, rather than what he was. I asked Brown a simple question in practice the other day. "What's up with D.J.?'' Brown said he didn't have a clue, and didn't elaborate. Brown tends to have a detailed opinion about most anything, so for him to have no real reply says Brown is baffled by Augustin's vanishing act.

My guess? (And this really is an educated guess, not a "prediction'') is the Bobcats should try to package Diaw and Augustin for a physical, dynamic power forward.

 -- Speaking of Diaw, I'd love to know how much of his problems lately are "Can't'' versus "Doesn't.'' Brown isn't generally a patient guy, but he's been forgiving, in assuming this malaise is about Diaw's off-season ankle sprain.

There's a whole other theory out there that Diaw is always less-so in his second season with a new team. The X-factor in this is Stephen Jackson's presence; it means Diaw has the ball less with fewer opportunities to make decisions and control the game. But frankly, I don't see the same crisp, arrogant passes when the ball hits his hands anymore.

-- I'm glad Brown finally made some hard choices, and trimmed his rotation to eight. Some of you are all bent up because Derrick Brown didn't play. Derrick Brown looked terrified in the Celtics game. I'm sure he (and Augustin and Gerald Henderson) will work their way back in somewhere, but this was a good thing.

Posted by Observer Sports on December 5, 2009 at 01:53 AM | Permalink


If we play the starters something like 43, 42, 41, 37, and 37 minutes on the road against a young team, we shouldn't expect to win. No way our two bigs with their bum ankles should have been out there so long. I'm sorry. Play Derrick Brown, Nazr, or SOMEBODY a few extra minutes. It's not like Net PF Josh Boone is Kevin Garnett.

Maybe Diaw looks uninspired and/or hurt, but he was still shooting better from both 2 AND 3 than starters Jackson, Wallace, and Felton coming into this game. He's still racking up good assist numbers for a PF, as he did tonight. And we still don't need him to rebound because we are a good rebounding team overall. And we've still had great defense with him in the lineup. We are 2 games removed from our best basketball of the season.

Posted by: DeLaQuest | Dec 5, 2009 2:53:28 AM

I'll give Brown a clue about Augustin: He was a terrible draft pick over Lopez and now everyone knows it. Fact is, DJ is a bit speedy, but he doesn't have the monster athletic lift of a Chris Paul or Nate Robinson. He plays the game at the same ground-floor level of your average guy at the local YMCA. It can't be that difficult for NBA scouting to catch up with his game. This guy had a low ceiling to begin with, and last year he might have reached it.

Posted by: DeLaQuest | Dec 5, 2009 2:58:24 AM

I'll give Brown a clue about Augustin: He was a terrible draft pick over Lopez and now everyone knows it. Fact is, DJ is a bit speedy, but he doesn't have the monster athletic lift of a Chris Paul or Nate Robinson. He plays the game at the same ground-floor level of your average guy at the YMCA. It can't be hard for NBA scouting to catch up with his game. He had a low ceiling to begin with, and last year he might have reached it.

Posted by: DeLaQuest | Dec 5, 2009 3:04:00 AM

Okay, apparently there was a lag with my original post. Sorry about the duplication.

Posted by: DeLaQuest | Dec 5, 2009 3:07:02 AM

This was a true embarrassment. They made Kiki look like Einstein with those ridiculous glasses. The Nets are a pathetic team, even with the injured players who miraculously appeared after running a fine young coach out of town. Just goes to show you, however, if you turn the ball over carelessly and can't make a free throw, anybody can beat you. It's pretty when the Bobcats put it all together, but too often this team just plays with a low-basketball IQ. Also, Rick, as you mentioned, the disappering acts by Augustin and Diaw are truly agonizing. They both look clueless. Maybe they could be part of a package to bring David Lee in from the Knicks. He's one guy who always leaves it on the floor. What do you think, Rick?

Posted by: Ari | Dec 5, 2009 5:13:20 AM

Trade Larry Brown!

Posted by: Deon | Dec 5, 2009 6:51:30 AM

I don't think DJ is a bad pick, especially not knowing if Felton would return, but he just hasn't been playing up to his potential lately, for whatever reason. Larry Brown is suppose to be the point guard whisperer, so we'll see if that helps. But the kid has Larry Brown, and Phil Ford to counsel and help him. I think he'll be alright.

Posted by: lamont | Dec 5, 2009 7:58:12 AM


Posted by: fox has to go!! | Dec 5, 2009 8:48:34 AM

Rick said -- "I'm glad Brown finally made some hard choices, and trimmed his rotation to eight. Some of you are all bent up because Derrick Brown didn't play. Derrick Brown looked terrified in the Celtics game. I'm sure he (and Augustin and Gerald Henderson) will work their way back in somewhere, but this was a good thing."

Don't get that line of thought at all. During that win streak wasn't our bench scoring in the 30s/40s range and also giving our starters some rest?

We're not going to make it very far playing the starters 40 mpg. They get sloppier and we get more TOs.

Posted by: spectre | Dec 5, 2009 9:18:07 AM

Carlotte & Detroit need to take a hard look at there teams and do some trading. Rip & tayshaun for DJ & Diaw. Dumars has lost it.

Posted by: Lee | Dec 5, 2009 9:50:21 AM

The issue with even THINKING about trading DJ is that Felton and Murrary are unrestricted free agents at the end of the year. Who would play point next year?

But the issue with NOT thinking about it is that he has so disappeared this season, if this continues, we may not have a point guard next year in any event. Oh yeah, AI is the Answer at the age of 35!

MJ says he'd rather trade that draft for the right talent. It certainly lowers the risk since you know what you are getting. But the GM's that really win in this league are the risk takers that pick well in the draft.

While we may get good players in trades, we tend to take on longer term liabilties to do it, which is squeezing the team because of the salary cap / luxury cap implications. (see details of Nazr trade, Radmonovic trade, Jackson trade, JRich draft night trade; Okofer trade was the one real exception.)

Watch, if Rick's thought is correct and the Bob's package DJ and Diaw, they'll take back someone with a longer term contract.

Posted by: Bobfan1 | Dec 5, 2009 10:10:03 AM

I'll take living in NJ over NC any day of the year. NJ has the most millionaires of any state.

Posted by: Dan | Dec 5, 2009 10:20:19 AM

The problem is the Bobcats aren't that much better than the Nets. The Nets had injuries.

Posted by: Jack | Dec 5, 2009 10:22:23 AM

Diaw and Diop for Brand and Smith

Posted by: Deon | Dec 5, 2009 10:26:15 AM

LOL @ Bobcat fans thinking their team is so superior to the Nets. The Nets had injuries, the Bobcats have not.

Your team just isn't very good and your front office is a joke.

Thanks for Lopez, suckers.

Posted by: Jack | Dec 5, 2009 10:32:53 AM

Your Welcome, you forgot to thank us for T. Williams, we had the opportunity to trade up and get him, but we knew ya'll wanted him.

Posted by: MJ | Dec 5, 2009 10:34:47 AM

you wanna trade for elton brand? you guys haven't been watching philly play this year. diaw and graham don't deserve game checks from this game. hell flip neither really.

Posted by: charlottean | Dec 5, 2009 10:37:17 AM

It can't get no worse, just trade every asset we got and start over. How bout we tank this season and get in the John Wall sweepstakes, who knows. We need to do something, theres no need to stand pat, and continue to get worse. The Cap is already messed up for the next 3 yrs.

Posted by: MJ | Dec 5, 2009 10:44:07 AM


Like I said, we are two games removed from our best basketball of the season. If you ask me, this roster needs stability after all the changes. Just trade a backup guard for a backup PF, and limit Diaw and Chandler to 35 minutes EVERY game!!

Posted by: DeLaQuest | Dec 5, 2009 10:52:14 AM


You really really really picked the WORST day to say that DJ wasn't a bad pick. Do you know anything about him and Brook Lopez? Do you know anything about last night's game? I'm honestly surprised you haven't been eaten alive by that comment. Lopez looks on his way to being an All-Star, and Augustin looks on his way to being out of the league.

This team needs to take the best player available from now on out. Drafting for "need" has gotten us very little.

Posted by: DeLaQuest | Dec 5, 2009 10:55:33 AM

Very good article, Rick. I'm with you on trading Augustin, but, the way he's playing this season, will there be any takers?!
I suspect the truth about him is somewhere in-between DeLaQuest ("too hard") and Lamont ("too light"). Obviously, Diop isn't playing and should be traded. After all, he still is a strong low post defender; his big contract, though, stands on the way of a trade.
I also start wondering how much is due to lingering injuries, and how much to low motivation, about Diaw. I used to be strongly against trading him, but now this seems to make sense; more than DJ and Diop, he should still have trading value. (I would say "let him rest that ankle for a few games, and then see what come back he's making", but the team doesn't have this luxury, thin as it is at PF.)
But this is why Derrick Brown should've played last night, regardless of how intimidated he was by the Celtics. Hey, these were the Nets, not the Celtics!
Even so, our rookie can only be an improvised solution at PF. So, if Diaw is traded, we need to get TWO real power forwards, not one! Depending on whom we can get, any other guard - except for Felton, who is the one and only one capable of running this team - and Stephen Jackson, who is a big difference-maker, can be seen as tradeable.

Posted by: Sandy | Dec 5, 2009 10:58:21 AM

So what are the chances of trading Diaw and Augustin for Elton Brand?? I know that's a huge contract and a huge mistake by philly, but he's playing well this season...and a starting five of Felton, Jax, Wallace, Brand and Chandler would be nice...and my opinion, Law and fill that back up PG spot fine, along with Flip spelling him and Felton. Just a thought, probably won't happen who knows with Larry Brown, anything is possible.

Posted by: Justin | Dec 5, 2009 11:22:04 AM

If the Bobcats make their free throws they win this game; irony is LB is one of the alltime great freethrow shooters;

Nets were ripe to win - Del Harris is a great addition for them - they were too cheap to get him for Frank but Kiki has the clout to pay a top assistant what he wants - they wouldn't pay Brian Hill - team was ripe to impress the new coach - LB said it was a "trap" game and Bobcats fell right in -
Bobcats are much worse on the road - in old days LB wasn't afraid to substitute more, I think he needs to again - clearly they needed to change something up down the stretch, and didn't - the bench can be a plus for this team - this isn't the Pistons - I say substitute more to keep the energy up - LB teams used to be about the energy - whatever it takes, fresh bodies, fresh plays - especially on the road.

Posted by: CACougar | Dec 5, 2009 11:39:27 AM

Larry Brown needs to go. You don't change your rotation that won 4 games in a row when you're playing the worst team in the league just because they played poorly in their last showing. That's how you lose young players.

Good coaches also don't keep their best players on the bench when the other team is running away with the game. Great job protecting Gerald from his 3rd foul against Boston, only problem is by the time he got back in the game it had already been decided.

Also we keep hearing Brown saying he doesn't coach motivation... well judging by last nights game he's obviously not coaching x's and o's, the cats are one of the worst teams in the NBA in turnovers per possession, and we all know they're a bad scoring team.

At least under Bickerstaff you felt like the team was consistently giving a good effort. Phil Jackson recently said that only 20% of his job was coaching real on-the-court basketball. That means that the other 80% is dedicated to managing egos and getting guys ready to play... I honestly think LB is done. The game has moved into a new era without him. Sooner bobcats realize this the better.

Posted by: David | Dec 5, 2009 11:51:33 AM

Love the post Rick I have been saying trade Diaw and DJ for a while. We need a real PF. Are there any trades out there that would make sense for both partys? I would love to have David Lee and a Diaw Dantoni reunion but the Knicks would have to be crazy to make that deal. Wishfull thinking

Posted by: Bcat2.0 | Dec 5, 2009 12:04:13 PM

LOL @ this guy taking a crack at NJ..NJ is one of the wealthiest and most beautiful states in the country. Ask all the actors/athletes/millionaires who live in NJ if they'd rather live in NC? Haha GO NETS!

Posted by: Brett | Dec 5, 2009 12:44:39 PM

DJ will be fine. Felton had a good game last night, but he is not the long term answer at the point. DJ is the better guard.

My first move would be trading Diaw and Diop for Elton Brand. Come January, I'd package Felton and Law for Andre Miller and Jeff Pendergraph. Charlotte should be substantially better with those two moves and safely seated in middle of the play off race.

Posted by: Larry | Dec 5, 2009 2:48:05 PM

look at diaw's play post trade and tell me it makes sense to have 3 of the same guy. not to mention the fall of dj augustin is crazy depressing. this guy looked like a STUD last year. he looks worse than adam morrison did last year now and nobody is saying anything like that and everyone gave morrison the 3rd degree.

and stevie graham proves why he is awesome in mop up duty and nobody else in the league wanted him for their rotation.

Posted by: charlottean | Dec 5, 2009 4:10:16 PM

elton brand? are you serious? do you even realize how horrible that guy is post surgery?

Posted by: charlottean | Dec 5, 2009 4:13:16 PM

It was sad and embarrassing watching the game and seeing the results. What terrible performance of this team. Can we make the play-off without a road win?

I think Diaw ran out of juice and he need an IV to help restore his creativity he brought to is team last year. As for DJ, the clock is ticking and his days in Charlotte are numbered by the minute. Any trade package involving DJ, Diaw, Diop (all Ds) will lift this team from the present slumbered. It was a wise and swift decision to have traded Bell & Romanovic for Jackson and may be similiar thing need to swiftly be done to give this team an offensive boast.

I also think LB is a selfish coach because a make no sense for Diaw to played thirty minutes in a game and still keep him on the floor. Gerald Henderson could have made a difference or Derick Brown. His distribution of minutes amongst players has proven him to be a selfish coach. Consider Chandler & Mohammed performance; he plays Chandler more minutes than Nazr. Rethink you strategies.

Posted by: nunu | Dec 5, 2009 4:45:01 PM

OMG Y'all will regret taling trash about DJ like that but as a DJ fan i will say the sooner we trade him the better but then who will play the point next year?

Posted by: RufusDufus | Dec 5, 2009 9:53:18 PM

Oh yeah blame LB for that pick not DJ it was LB's pick after all.You can tell Lopez had something to get off his chest last night after we passed on him in the draft, he tore us apart.Bet you he was sayong to himself "i'm going to make you pay for not selecting me at 9" lol serves us right too.

Posted by: RufusDufus | Dec 5, 2009 9:57:59 PM

i love how everybody is on the chopping block every game. beginning of the year it was felton...now he's winning games left and right and being the only bright spot in losses. now it's diaw cause he's had a rough stretch since jackson came on board. and augustin also.....we're all completely forgetting how he torched derrick rose last year and looked as though he would have been the roy if it weren't for felton.

can we have a basketball IQ check requirement before comments are made? we got people calling for trades for elton brand. that's like asking to trade for greg oden and adding like 6 million to his salary and several years too.

Posted by: charlottean | Dec 6, 2009 12:55:42 AM

"Don't get that line of thought at all. During that win streak wasn't our bench scoring in the 30s/40s range and also giving our starters some rest?"

I am screaming the same thing. When I bench plays, this team wins, simple as that.

Posted by: Roy | Dec 7, 2009 8:34:07 AM

At the time, picking Lopez and putting him next to Okafor didn't make sense. Sure we can look back now and say "why didn't we pick Lopez!" But nobody was on here complaining when DJ was having 25 and 30 point games last year as a rookie.

Posted by: Smitty | Dec 7, 2009 9:20:05 AM

that burning smell wasn't garbage it was the bobcats. I knew they were losing that game as long as the nets were winless

Posted by: joe cool | Dec 7, 2009 7:29:37 PM

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