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November 30, 2010

Jackson suspended 1 game

The NBA just announced it has suspended Charlotte Bobcats guard Stephen Jackson for Wednesday's game against the New Orleans Hornets. The league said Jackson verbally abused referees and failed to leave the court in a timely manner after being ejected in Milwaukee Saturday.

The suspension will cost Jackson over $100,000, based on his salary this season of about $8.4 million.


Posted by Observer Sports on November 30, 2010 at 03:13 PM | Permalink | Comments (23)

Jackson discipline

The NBA is expected to announce discipline assessed to Charlotte Bobcats guard Stephen Jackson this afternoon

          It wasn’t clear whether that discipline would take the form of a fine or a suspension, after Jackson was ejected from Saturday’s road game in Milwaukee. Jackson received his fifth and sixth technical fouls of the season.

          Jackson was not at practice when media was admitted Tuesday.

          Forward Gerald Wallace (bruised left elbow) and point guard D.J. Augustin (sinus infection) both said they should be well enough to play Wednesday in New Orleans against the Hornets.

Posted by Observer Sports on November 30, 2010 at 12:35 PM | Permalink | Comments (3)

November 29, 2010

Jackson, Brown on the Techs

Charlotte Bobcats shooting guard Stephen Jackson said he’s “pretty sure’’ the NBA will assess him additional discipline following his ejection Saturday in Milwaukee, and Jackson implied he could be suspended.

“The only way I can look at it right now is, let them do what they’re going to do and be ready to play next time I get out there on the court,’’ Jackson said following practice Monday.

Jackson was scheduled to speak with league officials sometime Monday.

He shares the league lead in technical fouls (six) with Orlando’s Dwight Howard, and would have a seventh had the league not rescinded one. In addition, Jackson was fined $50,000 for berating referees following a road loss to the Detroit Pistons.

While Jackson said “I know I have to abide by the rules’’ he was not apologetic for his actions in the Bucks game. Jackson received back-to-back technicals from referee Eli Roe, after complaining the Bucks were pushing and holding him when he had the ball.

“I know every time I complain, it’s for a good reason,’’ Jackson said, adding, “when things are not fair, I speak my mind.  I’ve never been a guy not to speak my mind and I guess people don’t like that.’’

Coach Larry Brown said he’s sympathetic to Jackson’s concerns, but that Jackson’s actions are hurting the Bobcats.

“It affects him, it affects our team,'' Brown said. "We’ve got a key player who’s in the locker room. It’s tough.

Posted by Observer Sports on November 29, 2010 at 03:26 PM | Permalink | Comments (9)

Wallace's elbow better; Additional discipline for Jackson?

The good news for the Charlotte Bobcats Monday: Forward Gerald Wallace's bruised left elbow was well enough that he practiced free throws and thinks there's a good chance he'll play Wednesday in New Orleans.

The bad news: Shooting guard Stephen Jackson anticipates additional discipline from the league, after he was ejected in the first quarter in Milwaukee. Jackson now has six technical fouls -- tied with Orlando's Dwight Howard for most in the league this season -- and was fined $50,000 earlier this season for berating referees following a road loss to the Detroit Pistons.

I spoke with Jackson about his growing tech total and with coach Larry Brown, who said Jackson's T's are hurting the team. Plenty more on that later today on the web site and in tomorrow's Observer.

Two more quck notes off practice:

Starting point guard D.J. Augustin missed practice with the flu.

Shooting guard Gerald Henderson is at Duke, getting a second opinion on the soreness in his left knee that has kept him out the past several games.


Posted by Observer Sports on November 29, 2010 at 01:46 PM | Permalink | Comments (8)

November 27, 2010

Diaw shows a hint of what he should be

Larry Brown said tonight he needs to figure out how to make Boris Diaw a bigger part of the offense. Great, I say, and I hope Brown follows through on that.

Many of you are down on Diaw. I appreciate why. He’s nonchalant to a fault in a profession where passion counts for a lot. Also, fans always want to play with a new toy, so many of you are preoccupied with starting Tyrus Thomas, whatever that would take.

Here’s the deal: Diaw (and he would never admit this) was marginalized when Stephen Jackson showed up. So much of what he did (drawing defensive attention, creatively passing out of the post) became moot with the ball in Jackson’s hands last season.

Diaw didn’t complain. He did his best to adapt to new circumstance (you should appreciate that, not dismiss it). The problem is Diaw isn’t a conventional power forward and never will be. If you’re waiting for him to be Charles Oakley, stop waiting. It’s not happening.

Friday, Diaw went back to being Diaw. He exploited the pick-and-roll, he found holes in the Rockets’ defense. And Brown saw a spark that made him comment – quite unsolicited – how important it is to explore ways to better use Diaw’s skills.

We’ll see. Does Diaw go back to his passive ways, or is this a template how to get back in the playoffs. I sure know this; the Bobcats are so offensively challenged that anything that makes them more functional must be chased. That certainly applies to Diaw’s skill set.


Posted by Observer Sports on November 27, 2010 at 12:25 AM | Permalink | Comments (26)

November 26, 2010

Jackson needs to see the possibilities

I get it that Stephen Jackson feels he deserves a lot more free throws. He averages 12 minutes between trips to the foul line this season.

But I never got his reaction to that phenomenon. He all but abandoned drives and post-ups of late, becoming somewhat of a 3-point specialist the past couple of weeks.

I’ve been asking questions about this for awhile. I asked coach Larry Brown if he was comfortable with Jackson scoring nearly half his points this season from outside the arc. Brown said he’s never in love with the 3-point line, but couldn’t argue with Jackson’s shooting percentage from there.

Then I asked Jackson the same question, and he went back to a familiar theme – that if the refs won’t reward you with free throws, what’s the point in constantly venturing into the lane?

Friday night demonstrated the counter-argument. The subtle message in the Bobcats’ 10-point victory over the Rockets was the value of Jackson posting up, regardless of whether he scores as a result.

Jackson is bigger (not always taller, but bigger) than just about any other shooting guard in the league. Jackson beat up Houston’s Kevin Martin, forcing the Rockets to send constant double-teams Jackson’s way.

Those double-teams aren’t a new thing. But Jackson’s reaction was, at least for this season. He viewed that as a weakness, and exploited it. The Bobcats shot 53 percent in the second half, to a great extent because of how Jackson’s presence skewed the Rockets’ defense.

Everyone said the right things afterward: How Jackson understood the opportunities for teammates, how the other players need to move into position to be targets for Jackson’s passes, how running hard ahead of D.J. Augustin keeps the opposing defense from setting up to best advantage.

I just hope this wasn’t a one-game thing. It’s not too late for the Bobcats to climb back into the playoff race. To do so, it’s imperative they exploit the defensive attention Jackson draws.

Posted by Observer Sports on November 26, 2010 at 11:35 PM | Permalink | Comments (3)

Mohammed back as starter tonight

Charlotte Bobcats coach Larry Brown just said pre-game he'll start Nazr Mohammed at center, so Tyrus Thomas goes back to being sixth man.

Posted by Observer Sports on November 26, 2010 at 05:15 PM | Permalink | Comments (4)

November 25, 2010

Empty performance, empty locker room

Wow, it sure was lonely in that Bobcats locker room, post-game.

I would say that by the time the media was admitted to that locker room, following the second loss in as many nights to the New York Knicks, the ratio of media to players was 3-to-1. Many of the people you’d most want to interview – Gerald Wallace, Tyrus Thomas, Nazr Mohammed – were out of there before we ever came in.

Now, I’m not suggesting anything nefarious. Maybe they all just dressed fast and coincidentally some scooted out the back exit. Maybe it was the Thanksgiving holiday. And in Thomas’ case, it was about getting treatment for painful arches.

But here’s my intuition, based on 20-some years covering the NBA: Some people see the potential for this season crumbling, and saying the wrong thing can only add to the misery.

It’s not often Wallace doesn’t make himself available for interviews. He’s naturally candid, so I take it for granted he’d worry when he’s really troubled about saying something he’ll regret. His productivity is down and coach Larry Brown made it clear a factor in that is teammates not finding Wallace enough on the break.

Wallace is a great barometer when things go haywire. My sense is his reluctance to address all this – his diminished impact, being charged with so many offensive fouls, not being rewarded for effort – means he doesn’t know how best to articulate an abundance of frustration.

To his credit, Stephen Jackson fielded all the questions Wednesday, including one from me that I could tell made him a bit uncomfortable. I asked about how he’s become so dependent on 3-pointers. Jackson said if he’s not going to get to the foul line, then driving makes him a turnover waiting to happen. (That’s a paraphrase, but an accurate one.)

That wasn’t a rationalization, that’s the unfiltered way Jackson lives.

One last thing worth noting: I’ve read these odd comments from several readers, suggesting D.J. Augustin has to do more to get the Bobcats out of this funk. I can’t imagine a worse strategy than that.

Raymond Felton got the better of the two-game match-up with the guy he mentored. That’s no surprise and the margin wasn’t wide.

Look at Augustin’s numbers Wednesday: 14 points, seven assists, eight rebounds and zero turnovers. If I told you in July he’d have a game like that, you’d sing to the heavens and raise your glasses.

Based on his performance last season, Augustin was more likely to be the third point guard than the starter. Now he’s playing with exceptional efficiency on a team dangerously inefficient.

Should he look for his shot a bit more? Maybe. But absolutely the last thing this team needs is Augustin chucking up a bunch of quick shots or wild passes.

The kid is in a nice groove in a tough job. There aren’t many others on this team playing better than you’d expect. Don’t mess with what little success they’re experiencing.

Posted by Observer Sports on November 25, 2010 at 12:11 AM | Permalink | Comments (37)

November 24, 2010

Tyrus gets a start

You Tyrus Thomas fans get your wish. He starts against the Knicks. We're told this is about the matchup with the Knicks, but obviously Nazr Mohammed hasn't played so great of late.

Posted by Observer Sports on November 24, 2010 at 07:11 PM | Permalink | Comments (8)

November 23, 2010

Jackson back to four on T's

Days after getting one of his previous technical fouls rescinded, Bobcats guard Stephen Jackson is back at four for the season. With 2:35 left in the half against the Knicks, he blew his top after losing the ball to Danilo Gallinari. Jackson made it clear he was fouled, causing that turnover.

Posted by Observer Sports on November 23, 2010 at 08:38 PM | Permalink | Comments (7)