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March 31, 2010

A small victory for radio continuity

Bobcats director of corporate communications Michael Thompson said the rest of the Bobcats' regular-season radio broadcasts should all be on WFNZ, rather than the occasional flip to WBCN. That was about conflicts with the Tar Heels and 49ers, who had contractual preference in WFNZ's pecking order.

Thompson said he didn't know for sure what the radio situation would be in the playoffs, simply because playoff games can start at a wider range of hours. I should think WFNZ would do whatever it could to keep Bobcats games on its signal, rather than push a game of that consequence over to a sister station.

Posted by Observer Sports on March 31, 2010 at 11:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (30)

March 30, 2010

Gerald Wallace speaks out

The ever-candid, ever-accountable Gerald Wallace, following practice today, when I asked him about this team's inconsistency:

“With this team, we’re so up-and-down, we’re so inconsistent. In a four-game week, if we play Cleveland, Boston, L.A. (Lakers) and maybe San Antonio, we might look like the No. 1 seed in the playoffs. If we play somebody like New Jersey or Washington – some under-.500 teams – we might look like we don’t even belong in the playoffs.


“That’s one of the bad habits we have as a team – we tend to play down to our competition. We’re not good enough to do that. We get away from our principles, and then it goes all individual. Everybody is selfish when we do that.’’


For more of Wallace's comments, check for my story later today on charlotteobserver.com or in tomorrow's Observer.

Posted by Observer Sports on March 30, 2010 at 03:22 PM | Permalink | Comments (7)

Some post-mortem on a cruddy loss

 I'm really of two minds about what came out of Stephen Jackson's mouth following the loss to the Miami Heat.

I have a hard time knocking someone for saying what he really thinks (I deal with way too many phonies in this business). Still, candor should be balanced with humility.

Jackson said the Raptors beat them, but they aren't a better team (true). He didn't stop there, suggesting it was all a fluke. I knew what he was saying and trying not to say: That the refereeing was lousy (not so much in specific calls, but in game-management; they lost the players' and coaches' respect). Also some people the Bobcats never thought would beat them hit big shots.

When Miami's Dwyane Wade made similar comments, refusing to credit the Bobcats with clinching the season series, I ripped Wade. Same circumstance here. Jackson was mad at the officials and mad at fate. But that shouldn't interfere with the dignity to give an opponent its due.

-- Michael Jordan, uber-owner, next to the bench has some value. If the best player ever is per chance your boss, and is in your ear frequently, you'll likely be more alert and motivated. However, how long before Jordan gets a technical foul for baiting the refs?

I hear Toronto's Antoine Wright was talking smack, telling referees to pay no attention to Jordan since he doesn't play anymore. I'd say the same thing if I were Wright, but lemme tell ya: Consciously or sub-consciously, Jordan still has juice with an NBA ref.

-- The Bobcats made 12 3s, three short of the most in franchise history. They shot 50 percent from 3-point range. And they lost. That speaks to the Larry Brown's concern that 3s are a tease that can make you stray from driving the ball (think free throws) or finding high-percentage mid-range shots.

-- Raymond Felton took blanket blame for the problem on the pick-and-roll, where Tyson Chandler dropped his pass late. Total class, when it really wasn't Felton's fault, and certainly wasn't all Felton's fault. For the umpteenth time, Felton wins the standup-guy award.

-- Prediction: Bobcats play the Magic in a first-round series. Hope they don't get swept.

-- Fozzie Bear: You blame me for all those Raptors' free throws late? Were you thinking that when the Bobcats were up roughly 29-10 in free-throw attempts earlier in the game? Yeah, didn't think so.

Posted by Observer Sports on March 30, 2010 at 12:42 AM | Permalink | Comments (31)

March 29, 2010

Brown: Thomas likely out

Charlotte Bobcats coach Larry Brown said power forward Tyrus Thomas would likely miss tonight's game against the Toronto Raptors due to a left ankle sprain. Thomas sprained that ankle Wednesday against the Minnesota Timberwolves, but played on it Friday versus the Washington Wizards.

This would have been Thomas' first game as a Bobcat against Toronto's Chris Bosh, and Brown saw Thomas' length and athleticism as a big plus in tryng to contain Bosh offensively.

Posted by Observer Sports on March 29, 2010 at 05:14 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)

March 28, 2010

Some thoughts on what's ahead

-- Even as bad as the Toronto Raptors' defense is, I'm surprised they blew that big lead in Miami. I'll no longer be surprised if they're the team to slip out of the playoff teams in the East. I'm NOT saying they will lose to the Bobcats Monday. Just saying they're fading, and I didn't see that coming even more than the Bulls.

-- I think the Bobcats end up playing the Orlando Magic in the first round, which is not what they would want. You'll hear a lot from the players about how they don't care who they play. More power to them. But the Magic causes all sorts of matchup problems. It's not just Dwight Howard (although that's quite enough). It's all the shooters who surround him and spread the floor.

The only matchup worse for the Bobcats would be the Boston Celtics, who have embarrassed them in each game this season.

-- Among the Bobcats' potential playoff opponents, who they'd best match up with:

1. The Atlanta Hawks (they'd have a real chance to win it in six games).

2. Cleveland Cavaliers (don't be fooled by the regular-season record. They're deep and dangerous. Bobcats would lose in five.)

3. Boston Celtics (They remind me of the Denver Broncos with John Elway; yes, they're old. Yes, their championship window is closing. But you want no part of them until they're broken up.)

And finally some links:

The people I'd read if you want to keep up with the competition:

Cleveland Cavaliers: Brian Windhorst, Cleveland Plain-Dealer. The beat-writer's beat writer. Energetic, savvy, connected.

Orlando Magic: For gamers, Brian Schimitz of the Orlando Sentinel. For blogs, quick news, etc., Tania Ganguli, also of the Sentinel.

Boston Celtics: Jessica Camerato at weei.com. There's been huge turnover at the Boston newspapers, and in that void, Jess knows what's going on with the Cs.

Atlanta Hawks: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has fallen on hard times. So Sekou Smith (former Hawks beat writer, now Atlanta-based nba.com guy) is your best bet.

Milwaukee Bucks: The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel continues to be a great resource.

Miami Heat: Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel could write the manual on beat-reporting.

Charlotte Bobcats: I hear there's some guy from the Charlotte Observer who's been around and knows the drill.

Toronto Raptors: Doug Smith of the Toronto Star. Funny, entertaining and joins me as the last true fans of the Buffalo Braves. And he mourned the fire at Ri-Ra, by the way.

Chicago Bulls: K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune is great, and it's not easy replacing Sam Smith as the voice on the NBA in Chicago. 

Posted by Observer Sports on March 28, 2010 at 11:56 PM | Permalink | Comments (3)

March 26, 2010

Wizards lose Thornton; Bobcats doing summer league

Two quick pre-game notes, heading into the Charlotte Bobcats' home game Friday against the Washington Wizards:

-- The Wizards lost another starter; Al Thornton is out with a strained right hip flexor. He'll be replaced in the starting lineup by former Development League player Alonzo Gee.

-- The Bobcats made two cost-saving moves last spring, deciding not to field a summer-league team and not to hold training camp outside Charlotte. Coach Larry Brown asked that they revisit the summer-league decision.

General manager Rod Higgins confirmed pre-game that the Bobcats will be in Orlando's summer league in early July.

Posted by Observer Sports on March 26, 2010 at 05:54 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Charlotte Bobcats links for Friday

Friday's Charlotte Bobcats links:

Will Wallace, Jackson be rested for playoffs? / Charlotte Observer

Gameday: Wizards at Bobcats, 7 p.m. / Charlotte Observer

Miami thrashes Chicago, hurts playoff hopes / Chicago Tribune

Heat-Bulls box score / Charlotte Observer

Posted by Observer Sports on March 26, 2010 at 06:39 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

March 25, 2010

Who you rooting for in Miami-Chicago?

Quick question to gauge how confident you are the Charlotte Bobcats make the playoffs:

The Miami Heat is at the Chicago Bulls tonight. Either way, the Bobcats benefit: If Chicago loses, there's a wider gap between the Bobcats and the ninth-place Bulls. If Miami loses, the Bobcats have a half-game lead for sixth place, plus the tiebreaker, over the Heat.

Are you confident enough at this point that the Bobcats make the playoffs that you'd rather have the Heat lose?

Posted by Observer Sports on March 25, 2010 at 11:20 AM | Permalink | Comments (22)

March 24, 2010

Charlotte Bobcats links for Wednesday

Wednesday's Charlotte Bobcats links:

Bobcats beat Wizards, set franchise wins mark / Charlotte Observer

Rolled over: The cost of doing business with Bob Johnson / Charlotte Observer

Gameday: Timberwolves at Bobcats, 7 p.m. / Charlotte Observer

Bobcats-Wizards box score / Charlotte Observer

Blatche benched as Wizards' streak reaches 12 / Washington Post

Posted by Observer Sports on March 24, 2010 at 10:27 AM | Permalink | Comments (4)

Jackson is hurting

This late in an NBA season, you'd be hard-pressed to find a rotation player without nagging injuries. But this is different; way more than an annoyance.

Charlotte Bobcats guard Stephen Jackson is a tough guy, so when he looked up in the post-game locker room to say he's in "excruciating pain,'' I took notice. He had his left hand wrapped in ice, and while X-rays detected no fracture, this is affecting him.

The diagnosis is a bruised ligament at the base of Jackson's left index finger. It started bothering him a month ago when he slapped down on a ball while attempting a steal. It's getting progressively worse.and while it isn't certain this affects his shooting, I doubt it's a coincidence he shot 10-of-40 the past two games. 

Posted by Observer Sports on March 24, 2010 at 12:19 AM | Permalink | Comments (18)