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February 23, 2010

A quick post-mortem from L.A.

Just a couple of quick thoughts, since I have an early-morning flight to Salt Lake City.

-- You can only hope Boris Diaw's numbers versus the Clippers (20 points, nine rebounds and nine assists) are the start of a trend, and not a one-game tease. Diaw has a great sense of spacing -- I'd think he'd fit well in the triangle offense Phil Jackson runs. The problem is he'll pass up the best shot of a possession, trying to find an even better shot for a teammate. Diaw missed a big 3-pointer late in the Clippers game, but they never would have been close enough for that miss to be significant, had he not played as well as he did.

-- D.J. Augustin is1-of-14 in his last two games. The best reason he's still a Bobcat is management's fear Raymond Felton could sign elsewhere this summer. D.J. is a great kid -- classy, respectful, diligent. But I'm not sure he'll ever be a starter who invokes confidence at the NBA level. Something went way south between last season and this one.

-- I think we're all aware the Bobcats are better traders than drafters. The contrast grows wider all the time. Dealing for Stephen Jackson, Diaw and Tyrus Thomas all look like steals (and, yes, I realize Diaw isn't as good as he was last season). Meanwhile, the only draft picks in the rotation are Felton and Augustin.

-- Don't assume the Bobcats would sign a guard, should a Larry Hughes or Mike James gets bought out in the next few days. I'm not saying that can't happen, but I'm confident there's a count-your-pennies approach right now. I sure hope that doesn't cost them a playoff spot.

Posted by Observer Sports on February 23, 2010 at 03:26 AM | Permalink

Comments

Now's the time Felton, Wallace, and Jackson, to stand up and say we want to be the first playoff team in Bobcat's history. I'm not sure the heart and/or ability is there. You just can't drop games to the Nets and Clippers at this stage. If they don't wake up soon, it will be another season of lost opportunity. Despite the fact that under Coach Brown the team has made marked improvements, missing the postseason once again will leave nothing concrete to show for it.

Posted by: Ari | Feb 23, 2010 3:56:26 AM

sure could have used Flip Murray for some "O" off the bench last night...hmmmm

Posted by: feargod | Feb 23, 2010 8:33:11 AM

This season is bringing back bad memories of the Hornets going 41-41 and just missing the playoffs.

Posted by: apauldds | Feb 23, 2010 8:40:05 AM

The lack of a Flip Murray last night was not the reason for the loss. (Who's to say that Flip wouldn't have shot the team out of the game quicker than Jackson did last night?) The sloppy play on offense - combined with very poor execution on defense - in the first half of the game set the tone for the game.

Jackson going 1-15 (or something like that) gives just a glimpse of some of the problems on offense last night. The ball did not move from side-to-side much at all, particularly in the critical possessions, allowing the Clippers to settle in on defense and force tough shots. Both Jackson and Wallace took shots against double-teams at times, rather than finding the open shooters. Perhaps this wouldn't have been as glaring an issue if the ball was consistently moving well on other possessions, but that just wasn't the case last night.

Defensively, the Bobcats were slow on rotations in the first half, particularly on the 4 and 5 for the Clippers, leaving open mid-range jumpers to big men who are more than capable of making those shots. While the adjustments came late in the second quarter and in the second half, crisper play from end-to-end would likely have meant a different outcome in this game.

This is the second game in a week that the Bobcats have lost to a clearly inferior team. While the team can get up for games against the league's elite (such as the Cavaliers), there appears to be a trend of playing down to the competition against teams lesser in talent. Ultimately, this could be what keeps the Bobcats from moving up to the 5 or 6 seed, and could result in missing the playoffs all together if not corrected quickly.

Posted by: The A-Train | Feb 23, 2010 9:06:12 AM

The lack of a Flip Murray last night was not the reason for the loss. (Who's to say that Flip wouldn't have shot the team out of the game quicker than Jackson did last night?) The sloppy play on offense - combined with very poor execution on defense - in the first half of the game set the tone for the game.

Jackson going 1-15 (or something like that) gives just a glimpse of some of the problems on offense last night. The ball did not move from side-to-side much at all, particularly in the critical possessions, allowing the Clippers to settle in on defense and force tough shots. Both Jackson and Wallace took shots against double-teams at times, rather than finding the open shooters. Perhaps this wouldn't have been as glaring an issue if the ball was consistently moving well on other possessions, but that just wasn't the case last night.

Defensively, the Bobcats were slow on rotations in the first half, particularly on the 4 and 5 for the Clippers, leaving open mid-range jumpers to big men who are more than capable of making those shots. While the adjustments came late in the second quarter and in the second half, crisper play from end-to-end would likely have meant a different outcome in this game.

This is the second game in a week that the Bobcats have lost to a clearly inferior team. While the team can get up for games against the league's elite (such as the Cavaliers), there appears to be a trend of playing down to the competition against teams lesser in talent. Ultimately, this could be what keeps the Bobcats from moving up to the 5 or 6 seed, and could result in missing the playoffs all together if not corrected quickly.

Posted by: The A-Train | Feb 23, 2010 9:06:14 AM

When we stop trying to settle for the easy shots and realize, I don't care how open a shooter is, We are not a 3pt shooting team. Stop the insanity Please. We consistantly miss 16 ft and less jumpers and layups(not last night). SO stop it already.
Diaw,Jack and Augustin managed out of 15 3's TWO!! Its simple there is the game.

Diaw 2:56 down 2, Shots a 3 miss.
Jack 2:14 tied shots a 3 Miss. Back to Back.
16 sec left Diaw throws it inside for 2, down 4..... WHAT!!!!

Diaw drive to the basket, Set up plays for Wallace to drive, did well last night to the basket.

The not getting up for inferior teams. I'm just saying LB needs to get a little more animated all the way around(my opinion), Second The Leaders of the team have got to pump the team up, Jack Moping around did not help. I don't see any encouragement coming out of the Timeouts. A little Rah! RAh! coming from Jack and Gerald

Posted by: fox has to go!! | Feb 23, 2010 9:32:42 AM

Sorry
* Shoots

Posted by: fox has to go!! | Feb 23, 2010 9:34:14 AM

Besides getting behind early once again, I though Larry Brown really screwed up the 4th quarter last night. Gerald Wallace has 29 points and Rasual Butler can't guard him at all but he didn't have one play run for him the last 4 minutes. Instead we are running Jackson(1-15) isos and Diaw and Felton pick'n'rolls while Wallace stands in the corner. How about getting your best player the ball! Drove me crazy!

Posted by: Benny | Feb 23, 2010 9:38:26 AM

The A-Train, I agree with you in that we made to many turnovers and mistakes in the first half and the 4th Quarter. However, having Flip would have made a difference. I am extremely happy for Thomas and i wanted that trade to happen 100%, even if it included Flip. I hated too se him go, but you need to give up something in order to gain something.

That being said, yesterday it was obvious we need a 3rd guard preferably a combo guard. A guy like Larry Hughes would be perfect for that. He is a combo guard who has size (6'5"), defends really well both guards and wings, and he can score. Plus he played for Larry Brown already and that makes a difference (see Nazr & Ratliff, both played for Brown in the past and are playing pretty good right now).

Tyrus Thomas has been a great addition, but we need a 3rd guard preferably a combo guard. That is for sure, hopefuly management won't be "TOO" stingy with the money and unfortunately, things don't get easier down the stretch. With aguy like Larry Highes in the team, who knows if we can upset someone in the 1st Round, remember the 2007 Warriors, after all Jackson was on that team.

Posted by: RobC | Feb 23, 2010 9:40:12 AM

Benny absolutly right. The last 3 minutes if we had set up some plays for Gerald. The refs. were calling the fouls and he was hitting his FT.

And my bad we were up 2 with 2:56.

Posted by: fox has to go!! | Feb 23, 2010 9:48:44 AM

apaul, it won't be quite that bad. This team won't miss the playoffs unless they somehow can't manage 40 wins in this awful conference.

And why consider garbage like James or a guy who's not even a free agent in Hughes? Ricky Davis is already on the market, and has been playing some of the most efficient ball of his career this season.

Finally, we shouldn't be surprised that the ball-movement isn't great. We've got a mediocre starter at PG despite having been a top-five draft pick. Felton will never be an above-average player, and he'd fit best as a scoring sixth man on a good team, because he doesn't have the mindset or the willingness to distribute as a true PG like Paul, Williams, Nash, Rondo, and others do.

Posted by: Michael Procton | Feb 23, 2010 10:39:45 AM

I thought we got flip murray back for a game last night watching jack. It reminded me how much I dont miss watching flip go 1-12 or 1-15 every other game!

Posted by: mike | Feb 23, 2010 12:19:04 PM

Taking out DJ & Jax we shot like 59% from the field. We had 28 assists on 34 made baskets.

Other than Jax stopping the movement & trying to shoot us out of it I thought we moved the ball pretty well.

It's always telling how losing seems to bring out those with an axe to grind. For some it's the team and others certain players. It's just more tired spiel from the peanut gallery.

Thankfully after all this time most recognize those for what they are.

Posted by: spectre | Feb 23, 2010 12:55:02 PM

Was Jackson hung over last night? In all seriousness, that was the worst performance I've seen by ANY bobcat this season... two telling plays last night: Jackson losing the ball in 1st quarter and the clippers are the ones diving on the floor for the loose ball... where's the urgency with this team? Last 3 minutes, close game, long jumpers when Gerald was the best player on the floor, all night. Not exactly "play the right way" material.

Definitely playing down to the competition, and it is going to cost the bobcats because chicago and milwaukee are playing like they're in a playoff race right now. I hate watching the 1st quarter for this team because you immediately know when they're taking their foe lightly. Just winning games at home isn't going to sneak you into the playoffs anymore.

Posted by: David | Feb 23, 2010 1:12:58 PM

Procton,

Ricky Davis is more a SF than anything else. This team doesn't need another SF, they need a combo guard that is able to play some PG as well.

Also, I know you're a Felton hater, but you're wrong in this one. Felton is indeed an above average PG, in fact he is above average in basically every stat among PG's. And just FYI, I don't like Felton either but I can be objective. I don't think losing him in FA will be a huge loss, but yes, it will be a loss difficult to replace, because DJ definetly is not the answer (you said he was many times last season).

He will stay in Charlotte because Charlotte needs him and there is nobody else better than him avaliable in Free Agency: Chris Duhon, Sebastian Telfair, TJ Ford, Luke Ridnour, Steve Blake; none of those guys is better than Felton in any stat.

Posted by: RobC | Feb 23, 2010 1:22:31 PM

David - I'm glad it wasn't just me, but I thought Jackson looked tired/hungover too. He kept fumbling the ball and losing the dribble. A day off of practice in LA may not have served him too well.

Posted by: Benny | Feb 23, 2010 1:25:56 PM

DJ's biggest flaw that I can see is his inability to get calls from refs. A big part is his natural instinct to avoid the contact but i mean, he's a great free throw shooter and has a knack for drawing fouls he just doesn't go at people hard enough to get a lotta calls. I think that's easily fixable but i mean that has a lot to do with his horrible shooting numbers. almost everything around the bucket is with contact but somebody his size has to go harder to get calls.

i hate how quick charlotte fans jump on and off the bandwagon......this kid was absolutely awesome last year and he's shown flashes of it this year. and complaining about poor shooting nights never happened when flip was around.....glad to see i'm not the only one that saw all those games.

Posted by: charlottean | Feb 23, 2010 3:33:11 PM

Man, we have the worst point guard play in the league! We should have got TJ Ford when we had the chance! Felton sucks, DJ sucks!
It's up the the point guard to keep the team in check, get the team going and not have these bad starts at the beginning of games, that's what's killing us! Last year all Felton talked about was this was his team, blah, blah, but his skills have diminished! And don't even get me started on DJ! It's a shame!

Posted by: jah P | Feb 23, 2010 9:15:54 PM

Losing this game isn't so mysterious. When the team's top scorer has his worst game in a very long time (Jax, 1 of 16 from the field), this is the result. Such things happen. Also, the defense wasn't strong enough. But don't go bad mouthing the point guard; Raymond had "only" 9 assists and no turnovers in LA. I'd take this every night, from ANY point guard in this league.
I'm not gonna try to guess what would've happened if, on Jackson's off night, Flip would've still been a Bobcat; you can't know that.

The point I want to make is more general, about the last trade, and about DJ.
Sure, Tyrus Thomas is a very nice addition to the team. However, the price paid for him was way too high: Flip - a combo guard and the team's only other volume scorer (besides Jax), Acie - perfectly capable to become a good back-up PG, and a first round draft pick on top of it! And NO, this wasn't necessary. The Wizards offered us a good back-up PF, Andray Blatche, for DJ, and the management said "no". Why? Tyrus is tougher, more athletic and a better shot blocker; but Blatche rebounds well, and is a better offensive player than TT.

The choice was between having Blatche, Flip and Acie (and keep that future first round pick), versus Tyrus and DJ. In my opinion, the first option was preferable. We are now a less dangerous team in offense ("thanks" to losing Flip), and we are one injury away from being left with one active PG only (as Rick explained very clearly). Sacrificing depth at point guard is as bad an idea as can be.

As for DJ as insurance for the future in case we won't be able to keep Felton past this season, thanks, but NO, thanks. DJ still has some fans around here, but honestly, believing he'll be able to become the starting point guard of the team is, in my opinion (based on what I have seen from him throughout this season) like believing in Santa Claus. The management should do their best this summer to re-sign Raymond. If that won't work, they'll have to look for some trade for a starting PG (hopefully, this won't be needed).
The Bobcats made a few really good trades in the past, with the one for Stephen Jackson topping them all; that was a steal. But the trade for Thomas doesn't belong in this category, because the price was too high, and an alternative was available.

Posted by: Sandy | Feb 24, 2010 12:23:14 AM

Very well said Sandy.

Posted by: spectre | Feb 24, 2010 5:25:13 AM

volume scorer = guilded sports talk for an inefficient shooter.

Posted by: charlottean | Feb 24, 2010 1:05:09 PM

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