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December 31, 2010

"Mr. Silas said a bad word.''

Paul Silas told a story on himself Wednesday night before the Cavaliers game, and so much else happened that I didn’t get a chance to pass it on. But it’s so entertaining and telling.

          The last time Silas coached before accepting the Bobcats job, he lost. And the guy in front of the other bench wasn’t Phil Jackson or Doc Rivers or Gregg Popovich. It was some guy who sells plumbing or annuities or maybe fixes your carburetor.

          In semi-retirement, Silas was helping a youth rec-league team near his home on Lake Norman. My colleague, Scott Fowler, wrote about Silas volunteering,  because he lives up there and has kids in the league.

          So Paul is the assistant – not even the head coach – but the head coach can’t make it to the championship game. I don’t know the circumstance, but that’s how Paul describes it. And they lose. And, according to Paul, (five years removed from coaching LeBron James in Cleveland), he goes into a three-day funk over whether he got out X’ed and O’ed by, you know, some plumbing salesman.

          But here’s the best part if you love irony: What Paul most remembers is cussing in a key moment because – hey, that’s what NBA coaches do – and the reaction from one of his players.

          “Mr. Silas said a bad word.’’

          Paul feels very bad about that. That’s precious.

Posted by Observer Sports on December 31, 2010 at 12:11 AM | Permalink | Comments (35)

December 30, 2010

Thomas doubtful for Warriors game

Charlotte Bobcats coach Paul Silas doubts power forward Tyrus Thomas's sprained right wrist will allow him to play Friday against the Golden State Warriors.

Thomas went through parts of Thursday's practice with his wrist taped. Silas said Thomas isn't a definite scratch, but he's leaning heavily toward sitting Thomas again after Thomas missed Wednesday's victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Posted by Observer Sports on December 30, 2010 at 02:02 PM | Permalink | Comments (5)

December 29, 2010

The hangover from Brown's departure

          A long time ago (I think when Larry Brown was coaching the Indiana Pacers), I first wrote this:

          “First he makes you better…then he makes you crazy…then he makes his exit.’’

          There is a finite time that the Brown Effect is a positive. It was a shorter ride here than it’s been in the past, or that it should have been. That has made for some awkward moments in the Bobcats locker room the past two games.

          The players have no interest in blatantly trashing Brown. That’s about more than diplomacy: They know he made them better than what they were when he arrived.

Believe me, this group can be brutally honest and is capable of trashing coaches. They weren’t subtle when it came to dumping on Sam Vincent (who asked for their disrespect in too many ways to rehash).

          So there was a certain code in the comments Wednesday. They were trying to be honest without being flippant.

          Stephen Jackson: “He (Paul Silas) wants us to make plays and use our brains. We’re not like robots anymore.’’

          D.J. Augustin: “I think everyone was trying to run the play until the end. Now if someone has an open shot, he’s just going to take it.’’

          Obviously, if they were distancing themselves from Brown, Silas is not just handy (he lives here), but logical. He’s a feeler and Brown was a thinker. I wouldn’t be shocked if the Bobcats make the playoffs, but that’s more about how bad the East is than about the problems getting solved.

          Still, you can’t argue with 2-0. It’s a quick fix. Let’s hope it’s more than that.

Posted by Observer Sports on December 29, 2010 at 11:59 PM | Permalink | Comments (33)

Confirmed: Wallace to play, Thomas to sit

Paul Silas just reconfirmed what he indicated this morning -- that Gerald Wallace will play tonight against the Cavs and Tyrus Thomas (sprained wrist) will sit. The other issue is backup point guard Shaun Livingston, who had some swelling in his surgically repaired left knee.

That was just about inevitable with all the running the Bobcats did in practice since Silas took over, and the coach said he needs to do a better job of monitoring Livingston's situation. Silas said it's likely Livingston will play, but the swelled knee complicates who he deactivates.

 If Livingston was healthier, Silas would likely not dress out rookie Sherron Collins. But with Livingston's availability iffy, it becomes hard not to activate the third point guard.

Posted by Observer Sports on December 29, 2010 at 05:54 PM | Permalink | Comments (4)

Wallace back, Thomas out tonight

          Charlotte Bobcats co-captain Gerald Wallace should be back for tonight’s game against the Cleveland Cavaliers, but forward Tyrus Thomas is likely out.

          That was the word from coach Paul Silas after shootaround. Wallace has missed the past five games with a left ankle sprain and bone bruise. Thomas sprained his right wrist and was feeling pain trying to shoot this morning.

          Silas plans to start Wallace, but will closely monitor his minutes. Thomas said he’d like to make this a game-time decision, rather than scratching him now, but Silas said he told Thomas he’s too valuable long-term to risk aggravating the injury.

          Thomas has missed three games previously this season – one for a family funeral and two due to a quadriceps strain.

Posted by Observer Sports on December 29, 2010 at 11:13 AM | Permalink | Comments (15)

December 28, 2010

Wallace might play Wednesday

Charlotte Bobcats coach Paul Silas said following practice Tuesday there's a good chance Gerald Wallace (ankle injuries) would play Wednesday against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Wallace is more hopeful than confident. He had ruled himself out of Wednesday's game on Monday, but then fully practiced Tuesday. He said he can't gauge whether he'll be up to playing against the Cavs at least until Wednesday shootaround, When he practiced Sunday, he felt quite sore on Monday, and wonders if the same thing will happen this time.

Tuesday was Wallace's first full practice since suffering a left ankle sprain and bone bruise against the Toronto Raptors.

Funny story: When Wallace showed up for practice, he asked Silas whether he should play with the first or second team. Silas laughed at all that -- of course Wallace should practice with the starters -- and Silas said he should have told Wallace he's being sent for a rehab assignment in the Development League, just to get a rise out of Wallace.

In other injury news, Tyrus Thomas has a sprained right wrist, but the Bobcats expect him to play against the Cavs.

Posted by Observer Sports on December 28, 2010 at 01:48 PM | Permalink | Comments (25)

December 27, 2010

Some post-game thoughts

-- Paul Silas’ gift as a coach is his people skills, and that was obvious Monday: They looked relaxed and vested in each other. And Silas is working to build up D.J. Augustin’s self-confidence, which is always a bit of an issue.

          -- If Monday’s rotation is any indication (and I wouldn’t overly weigh one game), looks like Matt Carroll will get more minutes at Dominic McGuire’s expense and Gana Diop plays over Kwame Brown.

          -- The most troubling statistic from this one had to be the 31 points the Pistons scored off 24 Bobcats turnovers. That was nearly a third of Detroit’s total scoring. You need the incredible shooting night the Bobcats got (53 percent from the field, 59 percent from 3-point range) just to compensate for that.

          -- And speaking of turnovers, Stephen Jackson’s nine was a career-high. Silas sees the same thing Larry Brown did – that they try to make great passes when simpler ones would be the better option.

Posted by Observer Sports on December 27, 2010 at 11:17 PM | Permalink | Comments (39)

Nazr back as starter; Gana to play more?

New Charlotte Bobcats coach Paul Silas just said pre-game that center Nazr Mohammed would start again, after Kwame Brown started against Oklahoma City in Larry Brown's last game. Also, Silas volunteered that Gana Diop would play.

Maybe this is experimentation -- a new coach has every reason to explore possibilities -- but I couldn't help wonder if playing Diop might be an effort at getting other teams comfortable with trading for his contract.

Posted by Observer Sports on December 27, 2010 at 05:54 PM | Permalink | Comments (10)

Wallace still out; Henderson to start

          Charlotte Bobcats forward Gerald Wallace is out for tonight’s game against the Detroit Pistons and probably also Wednesday against the Cleveland Cavaliers, with continuing soreness in his left ankle.

          New Bobcats coach Paul Silas said at shootaround this morning he plans to start Gerald Henderson in Wallace’s place.

          Wallace has been out the past four games with what’s now described as both an ankle sprain and a bone bruise. Wallace participated in part of practice Sunday, but the pain he’s feeling and his inability to jump effectively has him out for at least two more games.

          “I did everything but contact yesterday and when I woke up this morning there was soreness,’’ Wallace said. “Hopefully in a couple more days we’ll get it where the pain is tolerable, but right now I can’t jump.

          “The sprain, I can deal with that. The bone bruise is the real problem.’’

Posted by Observer Sports on December 27, 2010 at 11:35 AM | Permalink | Comments (12)

December 26, 2010

About the new assistants...

I just got back to Charlotte after kinda/sorta a week off (when Larry Brown was fired, I jumped in from upstate New York). Just saw the announcement that the coaching staff will be Ralph Lewis, Charles Oakley and Stephen Silas.

Thoughts: Coaching staffs have become mostly about people you trust. By that, I mean people who will not undermine you or your message. This accomplishes that. (And Oakley is an obvious nod to Michael Jordan, which concerns me a bit about crony-ism, still...)

I wish there was a true tactician among the assistants, someone like (just to use the most recent staff) a Jeff Capel or Dave Hanners, who could suggest a specific play or defensive wrinkle in a pinch. By that, I mean career coaches with huge experience at the craft. Paul's strength -- and it's a huge strength -- is his ability to manage people. It's not to draw up something magically innovative in a timeout.

Remember when Larry Bird coached the Indiana Pacers, and hired Dick Harter and Rick Carlisle as his assistants? The whole point of that was Bird compensating for his weaknesses with their strengths. I hope this works out, but I suspect they replaced a really savvy staff with a bunch of guys still needing on-the-job training.

Posted by Observer Sports on December 26, 2010 at 07:18 PM | Permalink | Comments (24)