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January 26, 2011

Five reasons this win mattered

Beating the Sacramento Kings isn’t a feat – it’s already been done 33 times this season. But that doesn’t mean the Charlotte Bobcats’ 94-89 victory was insignificant.

          Five things that made this game consequential:

1. The first half should serve as a template for how to proceed.

          In building a 10-point halftime lead, they scored 32 of 52 points in the lane. In fact, they took just one 3-point attempt among their 36 first-half shots.

          Now, I’m not saying never to take long jump shots. Sometimes those are what are open, and if they naturally present themselves in the offense, then launch. But to use Gerald Wallace’s description, the difference between winning Monday and losing Saturday against the Atlanta Hawks was “settling’’ versus not settling.

          “When Atlanta went to that zone, we just settled,’’ Wallace described. “When the Kings went zone, we got the ball into the middle and worked it it’’ through to the rim.

2. It reinforced the value center Kwame Brown can represent.

The best little story on this team is how Brown has stepped up. He had 18 rebounds, which is huge, but nearly as important, he earned 10 trips to the foul line.

          Part of the reason the Bobcats were so jump shot-happy earlier this season was there was no post presence to balance the floor. Brown has been the most-unlikely solution to that problem of late.

          “I’m so excited for him,’’ said coach Paul Silas. “He’s been much-maligned in this league. Now he’s playing up to his potential.’’

          3. It broke the tension…and there was tension.

The Bobcats went the first half of the season without an extended Western Conference road trip. There’s a bit of the unknown each season when a team heads out on one of these. They play four of the first five nights and two of the following four.

          Winning that first one – particularly one they were favored to win – loosens the mood. Wallace said Saturday night he won’t consider anything short of a 4-2 trip. That’s a high bar and to reach it, beating the Kings was a must.

4. It got both Wallace and Jackson going.

          It’s been too long since captains Wallace and Stephen Jackson have played well in the same game. Tuesday they combined for 40 points on 13-of-27 shooting.

          I particularly liked Jackson’s shot selection. He got to the foul line six times, which shows he was probing the defense, rather than just chucking up leaning jumpers.

          Wallace said he’s still working through that ankle injury. It stiffens up on him at halftime, leaving him about 75 percent in the second half.

5. It showed there’s a role for Eduardo Najera.

          They’re going to need every big body to fill in for Tyrus Thomas the next eight weeks. Najera was good for five points and five rebounds in 15 minutes.  Nothing spectacular, but also nothing shabby.

Posted by Observer Sports on January 26, 2011 at 02:06 AM | Permalink


I am a fan of the Bobcats, but what a roller coaster team. Watching the Cats are like spending 3 hours at Carowinds. I will take a win regardless of the competition.

Posted by: Kebred | Jan 26, 2011 4:47:13 AM

I'm a Charlottean studying in India for the next 2 years, and right now I'll take any wins I can get from any of my teams seeing as the Panthers didn't provide me much in 2010. Go Bobcats and Heels!

Posted by: Anurag | Jan 26, 2011 5:01:25 AM

when Jackson drives and doesn't settle for long range jump shots the rest of the team plays better. A great start to the trip. Now they need to continue to get into the paint for the remaining games.

Posted by: carolinaz3 | Jan 26, 2011 8:33:41 AM

I thought Larry Brown was the best coach the Bobcats could ever have; and now I must admit I was dead wrong. Go Paul!

Posted by: Dennis | Jan 26, 2011 8:44:19 AM

The team is just insignificant!!!!! Bobcats suck! They will never be more than a below average team!!

Posted by: JD | Jan 26, 2011 8:56:00 AM

Wow JD!!!! You sound like a fun guy! Great insight!

Ugly win last night against a bad team, but it's a W. Kwame was excellent and Jack/Wallace showed some improvement.

Kwame has turned out to be a really savvy move. Right now, he's a far better option for this team than Chandler. Hard to believe. Rick, any insight/background on who was responsible for the decision to bring Kwame in? I would hate to have to give credit to LB, but if he made the call, I'd be happy to acknowledge him for it.

Posted by: Zed | Jan 26, 2011 9:14:45 AM

Paul Silas has been the best thing to happen to the Bobcats this year. He's instilled confidence in the players and not only that, the overall home enviornment is different. Under Larry Brown you could feel the tension but under Paul everyone is excited. The players are the show and frankly I got tired of hearing Larry Brown constantly complain. Thanks Paul and keep doing what you are doing :-)

Posted by: bruinguy | Jan 26, 2011 9:15:29 AM

Rick - in addition to the inspiration for the Kwame signing, would also be interested in your impressions of Cousins. I don't get a warm and fuzzy feeling from him. He obviously has talent, but his body language is off. He mopes and seems easily frustrated. He comes off as a less athletic and perhaps less talented Derrick Coleman to me.

Posted by: Zed | Jan 26, 2011 9:41:55 AM

Needed to see this win after NC State's epic collapse!

Posted by: wolfpackbobcat | Jan 26, 2011 9:52:30 AM

I like Paul Silas's demeanor. What Rick and Gerald said about working the ball inside, take it to the hoop, don't settle for long jumpers, work for higher percentage shots seems I heard that somewhere before. Oh, now I remember Larry Brown.

Posted by: Bob | Jan 26, 2011 10:04:24 AM

Good article and very noteworthy observations. With increased minutes KBrown's rebounds have gone up big time. In the games he has played 30+ he has had 14, 16, 18 I believe (or close to that). It is good that we won a game we should win on the road!

Posted by: jw317 | Jan 26, 2011 10:12:02 AM

Rick, where was Boris last night? I know he had some early fouls, but I swear, he looked as though he'd left his mojo in Charlotte. Several open shots he refused to take...easy shots, but he insists on passing off.

Posted by: eduardo | Jan 26, 2011 10:26:45 AM

eduardo - Diaw was in foul trouble all night; got his 4th foul right as the second half started.

Which brings me to the player of your namesake. Rick - note that not only did Najara get 5 pts and 5 boards, he also got 5 fouls. (He should have flown to Vegas and gone to a blackjack table and split 5s before heading to Phoenix). Seems to me that his role could be "hatchet man."

Posted by: J | Jan 26, 2011 10:36:52 AM

They probably need a hatchet man. Jake Voskuhl was very useful that way a few years ago.

Posted by: Rick Bonnell | Jan 26, 2011 10:41:41 AM

Once again the difference is not Paul vs. Larry but Oak vs. LaSalle. Too bad we can't get the other Brown going on this team.

Posted by: chris in union county | Jan 26, 2011 11:45:35 AM

Rick -
Your game article from last night as well as the Suns game preview says that Charlotte has beaten Phoenix three straight in Phoenix, but that's incorrect. We've beaten them three straight at home, but until last season's win in Phoenix, we had never won there.

Posted by: C | Jan 26, 2011 12:05:53 PM

Bobcats were actually underdogs not favorites. Great research effort.

Regardless, they played a good game. Officials were horrible for both teams, and we MUST cut down our turnovers.

Posted by: usuallyright | Jan 26, 2011 12:17:22 PM

Good win people that is all that needs to be said. This bad team has talent and they whipped Portland in their hometown. Jack and Wallace were stellar with their performance. And everyone was laughing at Kwame but now stopped. He is actually beasting down low. I like his presence down low and Silas and Oak have done wonders. I think that Phoenix has fell off, if the Cats stick to the game plan we are 2 and 0 on this road trip.

Posted by: tbird | Jan 26, 2011 1:06:08 PM

Yes, this was a big win for the 'Cats. Everyone played well, for the most part. Someone asked about where Diaw was. Outside of his foul trouble, Diaw hit a big three near the end of the game to help seal it. Kwame played outstanding, offensively and defensively. Hopefully, they'll keep giving him minutes and he'll continue his great play. DJ didn't have alot of assists, but he directed the team and had good penetration for lay ups. Jack still took a food bad shots, but he hit some crucial baskets. Keep the wins coming!!

Posted by: pjh | Jan 26, 2011 1:25:26 PM

Yeah, if that is Bobcats basketball, we'll be fine. Carve an identity already!

As far as the Naz at the 4 experiment; it's hard to say how that worked because the 4 spot was foul city. Boris with 5, eddy with 5, Dom with one in five minutes. I'd like to see another crack at it.

The extra turnovers were painful but concentrating on changing your offensive style can do that(from jumpshots to drives and working the middle).

Jack and Wallace need more rest as this goes along. Hopefully, they don't have to log 40 mins a night on this road trip.

Posted by: Altheus | Jan 26, 2011 1:29:46 PM

JD = Looser

Posted by: johnboy | Jan 26, 2011 4:14:45 PM

Ok.gud show. Dj hit a teamate for a layup on a fastbreak.this helped crash stay going. Somebody missed abfew others. Hes becoming real gud and will be in the elite staus if he continues to get in the paint and get his teamates layups, easy buckets on breaks.

Crash must be staying. Hes vocal and playing better. He and jax abandoned the bad threes. Com on get the rest of the bench going silas.

U gat hendo going.wish hed stop passing and shoot more.gat k brown going and dj. Now d.brown and carroll if u can. This will help the team and keep the starters fresher. Never let jax play the 2 nd qtr to keep him fresh and keep him from the three ball and turnovers and we have a team.

Posted by: Ironman | Jan 26, 2011 5:21:34 PM

the bigest surprise for me was Kwame's 70% from the line.

Posted by: Jellybean | Jan 26, 2011 5:40:42 PM

People like you JD make the world a better place. Cmon and sip on some of this haterade I got in the fridge. Go Bobcats for two in a row.

Posted by: tbird | Jan 26, 2011 5:47:43 PM

Who is jake voskuhl??

Posted by: trust me. i'm a doctor. | Jan 26, 2011 8:41:25 PM

Any big plans or stories about the 20th anniversary of NBA All-Star Weekend in Charlotte in the next few weeks? What a great weekend for the city. Remember Rex Chapman, Shawn Kemp and Dee Brown duking it out in the dunk contest, Craig Hodges making 19 straight shots in the 3-point shootout and Barkley putting on a show in the All-Star event. Hope the Observer has something planned for February.

Posted by: Bristol Bobcat | Jan 26, 2011 9:58:39 PM

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