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October 29, 2010

SportSouth adding an HD channel

To those of you frustrated by the absence of an HD SportSouth channel. I just heard Time Warner Cable is adding SportSouth HD to its digital tier starting in early November. So Bobcats fans in Charlotte, Greensboro and Winston-Salem will start getting Bobcats games on HD soon.

Posted by Observer Sports on October 29, 2010 at 06:02 PM | Permalink | Comments (26)

SportSouth back on Dish Network

I just got an email from Dish Network, saying it has resolved its impasse with Fox, concerning Fox's various regional sports networks. That means SportSouth should be back on, for those wanting to watch Bobcats games.

Posted by Observer Sports on October 29, 2010 at 05:24 PM | Permalink | Comments (4)

Options exercised on Henderson, Augustin

As expected, the Charlotte Bobcats have exercised their rookie-scale contract options on D.J. Augustin and Gerald Henderson for next season.

Per that rookie scale, Augustin will make about $3.2 million next season and Henderson will make about $2.25 million.

Posted by Observer Sports on October 29, 2010 at 03:47 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)

Pacers punished for Rush's behavior

I thought Pacers coach Jim O'Brien made a great point to Indianapolis Star reporter Mike Wells, about why his team shouldn't be punished because swingman Brandon Rush failed his third drug test.

O'Brien has no problem with the league suspending Rush for five games, including tonight's matchup with the Charlotte Bobcats. But he says it makes no sense that Rush must count against one of 12 active roster spots for Indiana while he's under suspension.

Under the privacy rules of the NBA's drug policy, teams aren't informed when their players fail those first two tests. If they can't monitor this situation, they certainly don't control it, so why should the team be punished for Rush's bad behavior?

"If we were the ones drug testing and we were the ones that knew and were responsible to get him back on track after the first one, I understand that,'' O'Brien said, "but I can't follow this."

Posted by Observer Sports on October 29, 2010 at 11:44 AM | Permalink | Comments (4)

October 28, 2010

Some post-opener thoughts

 Some thoughts on the latest of many Charlotte Bobcats losses to the Dallas Mavericks:

 -- It's hard to picture, on numbers alone, how a team could give up 55 percent shooting and not think they lost this one on defense. But that's not what blew up the Bobcats Wednesday.

Turnovers were this team's flaw all last season, and nothing changed in the season-opener. Twenty-one turnovers led to 28 Dallas points. As a tennis guy (no double-fault is good, but some are far worse than others), I buy Larry Brown's principle that there are acceptable turnovers (daring passes, intended to make for easy baskets, that just don't work out), and unacceptable turnovers (lazy ballhandling at mid-court that leads to easy opponent scores).

Wednesday the vast majority of the turnovers were the ones that scorch you. Especially so with a Jason Kidd pushing the ball for the other team.

-- Speaking of Kidd, he controlled the game as well as a point guard can. I only saw Magic Johnson play a couple of times live, but he wasn't better than Kidd Wednesday.

The guy had 18 assists to one turnover. You know that plus/minus stat? Sometimes it can be horribly misleading. Not this time. The Mavericks outscored the Bobcats by 30 when Kidd played. Which means in the 16 or so minutes Kidd sat, the Bobcats outscored the Mavs by 15. Enough said.

-- Tyrus Thomas was really good in 30 minutes Wednesday: 22 points, six rebounds and 8-of-15 shooting. But I thought he'd be more impactful at the defensive end. His length and quickness should have helped in containing Dirk Nowitzki, yet Nowitzki still finished with 28 points and 13 rebounds. I'm not saying Thomas guarded Nowitzki a lot, or even had that much chance to play help defense. But Nowitzki's size and high-arc shooting might make his shot the hardest to contest in the NBA.

-- I'm guessing you'd never get Tyson Chandler to admit this, but I think he's a little ticked off by the season he spent with the Bobcats. He tried to rough up Gerald Wallace a couple of times in the fourth quarter. Maybe that was just Tyson competing, but I wondered if he was thinking about that time, early last season, when Wallace questioned publicly how hard Chandler was playing.

Posted by Observer Sports on October 28, 2010 at 01:23 AM | Permalink | Comments (37)

October 26, 2010

What? They won't be 82-0?????

Question: What distinguishes the Miami Heat from the Charlotte Bobcats?

Answer: Whatever it is, it's not winning in Boston in the opener.

Posted by Observer Sports on October 26, 2010 at 10:16 PM | Permalink | Comments (14)

Jordan on the roster churn

I wrote a long story for Wednesday's Observer on why the Charlotte Bobcats have become the NBA's trading-est team -- how it's their signature, if not imbedded in their DNA.

In researching that story, I had a really interesting interview with team owner Michael Jordan. He made two primary points:

1. They've drafted poorly, so they've used trades to fix mistakes. Now, you can say that's obvious, but I commend Jordan for being that frank. A lot of owners (or GMs or coaches) would never acknowledge a pattern of mistakes.

 2. That they're comfortable rolling the dice with trades, in part, because -- Jordan's words -- Larry Brown's unique gift is taking players who have underperformed on other rosters and coaching them up to reach potential. Jordan said he trusts Brown to evaluate players' potential, to a degree he never reached with Bernie Bickerstaff or Sam Vincent.

Jordan would prefer to avoid more big, in-season trades this season. He likes the core -- Gerald Wallace, Stephen Jackson, Tyrus Thomas and Boris Diaw -- and would like to see what they can do with the time to jell. The Bobcats have had a slow start each of Brown's previous two seasons (that's typical of Brown teams) and Jordan hopes some continuity -- a team that is left intact for awhile -- might avoid that slow start.

Jordan isn't saying a trade can't happen, but it was obvious he's not casting about for a deal, despite this team's recent history (nine trades, involving 27 players, in the past two seasons).

Posted by Observer Sports on October 26, 2010 at 08:52 PM | Permalink | Comments (12)

Brown saddened by Iverson's fate

Charlotte Bobcats coach Larry Brown finds it sad that former NBA most valuable player Allen Iverson has to go to Turkey to continue his career.

But Brown also understands the reputation Iverson has around the NBA is a factor in all this.

“Sometimes it’s perception,'' Brown said at practice Tuesday. "All the people told me that when he went to Philly (last season), that he was trying to do everything to fit in, and unfortunately it didn’t work out. A lot of times you get labeled in this league; you’ve just got to hope somebody believes in you.’’

Iverson starred for Brown in his first stint with the 76ers. Though the two clashed, Brown feels great loyalty to Iverson. Brown said he's tried to get other teams interested in Iverson, partially at the request of NBA executive Joel Litvin, but nothing worked out.

“It’s sad, having him have to go to Turkey to finish his career. I wish there was some way I was in a position to help,'' Brown said.  “What, he got 26.000 points? With what he’s accomplished, I think that’s what Joel Litvin was talking about. You don’t want to see him end his career this way.’’

A caution: This was not Brown's way of advocating the Bobcats signing Iverson; they have an abundance of scoring guards, and if adding Iverson made any sense, it would have happened before this.

Posted by Observer Sports on October 26, 2010 at 02:29 PM | Permalink | Comments (10)

Jackson's ankle scare

Charlotte Bobcats guard Stephen Jackson strained a tendon in his left ankle Tuesday. Though he limped off the court, Jackson said after practice he feels good about playing Wednesday in the season-opener in Dallas.

Jackson stopped suddenly, and his foot stuck to the floor, causing the ankle to twist. He spent the end of practice with the ankle elevated and on ice.

On the other injury fronts, Shaun Livingston (sore left knee) and Gerald Henderson (left knee tendonitis) both practiced fully Tuesday, so they should be healthy enough to play Wednesday.

Coach Larry Brown said there's no question he'll use Livingston as the backup point guard, assuming he's healthy enough to play. Monday and Tuesday were Livingston's first full practices since training camp.

Posted by Observer Sports on October 26, 2010 at 01:23 PM | Permalink | Comments (16)

No Bobcats on Dish Network

If you're a Charlotte-area Dish Network subscriber, you won't have access to the Charlotte Bobcats' opener in Dallas Wednesday, due to an impasse between Dish Network and Fox.

Before this gets hijacked in the comments section, this has nothing to do with the Bobcats. The team's television rights are owned by Fox, who will show 80 regular-season games this season on SportSouth. SportSouth is one of 19 Fox regional sports networks that Dish Network currently can't access because Dish Network and Fox haven't agreed on a rights-fee deal.

I'm not an expert on television rights, so I wouldn't try to speculate on how long this will last. But until it's resolved, Dish Network customers won't be getting Bobcats games.

According to Fox spokesperson Kate Hart, no other cable systems or satellite providers are affected by this impasse.

Posted by Observer Sports on October 26, 2010 at 10:05 AM | Permalink | Comments (26)