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February 27, 2011

Jackson finds his way to foul line

Stephen Jackson had back-to-back games of 30 or more points and has made 24 of his last 41 shots. But you know what’s best about his performance in Gerald Wallace’s absence?

          He’s getting to the foul line as well as he ever has as a Bobcat. Jackson has attempted 10 free throws in each of the last two games and that’s the first time that’s happened this season. I see him settling less for jump shots and driving the lane more (granted, it helps when the defense-impaired Hedo Turkoglu is the one guarding).

          Jackson is frustrated they traded his buddy, (they were intensely close), but it’s cool that he’s trying to make the best of the situation, rather than going into a funk over it.

Posted by Observer Sports on February 27, 2011 at 11:42 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)

February 26, 2011

By the way (read on)...

Orlando is Stephanie Ready's last road game this season as sideline reporter, because she's going to have her second (and she says) last child.

The nice thing about a blog is you have some slight latitude to say things about the people who deserve your respect. Here goes: Steph is simultanously the nicest person I've ever met, a great mom, and the most under-utilized basketball person ever. She should be a color analyst, because she's got everything that makes you an expert.

I'm saddened that the TV folk don't get that, that Steph is so much more than a pretty face.

Steph...Perry...you're a great couple. Everyone should have the marriage you guys do. I bet your kids do fantastic things.

Posted by Observer Sports on February 26, 2011 at 10:17 PM | Permalink | Comments (15)

Marks could stick as insurance

The Charlotte Bobcats might not waive Sean Marks immediately, after all. Since they're already paying him, they might keep him around until they know how much Joel Przybilla's knee can take.

Posted by Observer Sports on February 26, 2011 at 07:18 PM | Permalink | Comments (3)

Silas wins over Przybilla

It's no secret former Portland Trail Blazers center Joel Przybilla had major misgivings about being traded to the Bobcats. He didn't want to uproot his family and he questioned what sort of a role the Bobcats had in mind for him.

An hour and a half of meetings with coach Paul Silas, general manager Rod Higgins and team owner Michael Jordan apparently smoothed over all that. Przybilla said at practice Saturday that he's excited because the Bobcats are excited to have him.

Przybilla thought he was just being thrown into the deal for Gerald Wallace because of his expiring contract. Silas convinced him he'll play plenty as the backup to Kwame Brown; that's he's wanted and needed.

"When I first saw him, walking down the hall, I said, 'How are you doing?' He said, 'Ah, I'm doing...' '' Silas described. "I said you're going to be all right and then we sat down and had a long talk.

"I said how good he could make our ballclub, how good it could be for him. If he wants to play another year or whatever, I really think he will be able to, because people are going to see a lot different, as they've seen in some other players who have played here.''

Przybilla has a knee injury, and acknowledged he's not 100 percent. Silas said they'll manage his minutes, in consideration of how he's feeling physically. But Silas is counting on Przybilla to protect the rim, to be more of a shotblocker and post defender than Nazr Mohammed was here.

I'll have a lot more about Przybilla -- the new Bobcat with the biggest role of the three -- in Sunday's Observer.

Posted by Observer Sports on February 26, 2011 at 02:17 PM | Permalink | Comments (26)

Przybilla ambivalent about Charlotte

I've written a couple of times that ex-Blazers center Joel Przybilla is less than excited about being traded to Charlotte. Here's an overnight update on the situation from my friend, Jason Quick, at the Oregonian:

http://www.oregonlive.com/blazers/index.ssf/2011/02/joel_przybilla_says_his_trail.html

Bobcats general manager Rod Higgins twice Friday refused to address whether Przybilla or his agent, Bill Duffy, had requested a buyout. The Bobcats are counting on Przybilla playing here the rest of the season, particularly after they traded away Nazr Mohammed.

I'm wondering if this could come down to telling Przybilla either he plays here or retires. I'm sure the Bobcats don't want to pay him not to play and that's, in part, what a buyout is.

We may know more after practice today. Certainly, Paul Silas is counting on Przybilla as his backup center.

Posted by Observer Sports on February 26, 2011 at 09:09 AM | Permalink | Comments (24)

February 25, 2011

Shorthanded Bobcats pull through

By Rick Bonnell

rbonnell@charlotteobserver.com

Think of it this way: For one night, anyway, no Charlotte Bobcat needed to lobby for playing time.

          There were just eight available against the Sacramento Kings, thanks to two trades that are still pending physicals. So when Stephen Jackson was asked about switching from shooting guard to small forward, his reaction was telling.

          “If I’ve got to guard the five (a center), I will,’’ Jackson said following a 110-98 victory.

          It didn’t get to that, but it could have. They were down to a single true center – Kwame Brown – so it’s conceivable Jackson might have taken a swing at guarding Kings big men DeMarcus Cousins or Sam Dalembert.

          Instead, he scored 30 points on 11-of-19 shooting in the first game since co-captain Gerald Wallace was dealt to the Portland Trail Blazers. When Jackson wasn’t shooting, he was passing, and that boosted Gerald Henderson, who scored 21 as the new starter at the 2-guard spot.

          If Henderson was nervous about this promotion, it didn’t show. He made 8-of-17 shots, basically by following Jackson’s lead.

          “When you’re on the court with Jack, he’s gonna get a lot of attention’’ defensively, Henderson surmised. “You just play off him; he’s a good passer, he’ll find me.’’

          Despite the 14-42 Kings’ deficiencies, this was a game that worried coach Paul Silas because it preceded a gruel road trip to Orlando, Denver, Los Angeles and Portland.

          Pre-game he reminded the players what a downer it was to lose to the New Jersey Nets at home under similar circumstances two weeks ago.

          “He kept telling us in timeouts, ‘Have a sense of urgency! Have a sense of urgency!’’ Jackson recalled.

          They met that challenge quite nicely in the second half, generating 58 points off 55 percent shooting from the field. Point guard D.J. Augustin was particularly sharp, making all five of his second-half shots and finishing with 23 points.

          The perimeter guys handled the scoring and big men Brown and Eduardo Najera had an entirely different challenge: Distributing their fouls in such a way that they guard the paint, yet stay in the game. Brown finished with a double-double of 12 points and 13 rebounds, while Najera kept wrestling for loose balls in transition.

          That left Kings coach Paul Westphal to wonder which team really was shorthanded Friday.

“As far as I’m concerned,’’ Westphal concluded, “the Bobcats had plenty of players tonight.’’

Posted by Observer Sports on February 25, 2011 at 10:33 PM | Permalink | Comments (8)

Bobcats top Kings

By Rick Bonnell

rbonnell@charlotteobserver.com

          Stephen Jackson scored 30 points and Gerald Henderson added 21 to lead the Charlotte Bobcats to a 110-98 home victory over the Sacramento Kings.

          This was the first game for the Bobcats since Thursday trades sending small forward Gerald Wallace to Portland and center Nazr Mohammed to Oklahoma City.

The Bobcats put away the game midway through the fourth quarter with a 13-5 run to make it 97-84 with six minutes left, on Matt Carroll’s 3-pointer. That came off an offensive rebound by backup point guard Shaun Livingston, who also contributed two jump shots to the run.

          The Kings’ only points in a span of nearly four minutes were a jump shot by center DeMarcus Cousins and Marcus Thornton’s 3-pointer.

          The Kings tied the game on a 9-0 run early in the third quarter, after starting Sam Dalembert in the second half, in place of rookie Cousins. Point guard Beno Udrih scored five of those points on a 20-footer and a 3-pointer.

But the Bobcats recovered to lead 78-73 entering the final period, off five free throws (three by Jackson and two by D.J. Augustin) in the last 1 ½ minutes. Augustin finished with 23 points.

The Bobcats led 52-44 at halftime off a 6-0 run to end the second quarter. That was part of a 21-6 Bobcats run over the last 8 ½ minutes of the half.

          Shorthanded from the beginning due to two trades on Thursday that still hadn’t been cleared medically, the Bobcats dressed just eight players. It got that much messier when Jackson and Kwame Brown each was charged with a technical foul in the game’s first quarter.

          Coach Paul Silas needed Jackson to carry the scoring and Brown was the only available true center.

          As expected, Silas started Henderson at shooting guard and moved Jackson to small forward, after the deal sending Wallace to Portland. Jackson scored 15 in the first half and Henderson added seven, off 2-of-4 shooting.

          The only available reserves were power forward Eduardo Najera (doubling as backup center) and guards Matt Carroll and Shaun Livingston. Carroll came in quickly when Jackson drew his technical about two minutes into the game, but Jackson was back quickly after a breath on the bench to calm down.

          The Bobcats pulled away late in the second quarter despite some awful foul-shooting (13-of-22, including Brown’s 2-of-8).

          The Bobcats are in Orlando Sunday night to face the Magic before a three-game West Coast trip to Denver, the Los Angeles Lakers and Portland.

Posted by Observer Sports on February 25, 2011 at 09:21 PM | Permalink | Comments (5)

MoPete, Marks already history

Charlotte Bobcats general manager Rod Higgins said he plans to release veterans Morris Peterson and Sean Marks, players who were picked up to make trades work Thursday.

That opens the possibility the Bobcats will bring back one or more of the players they waived -- Derrick Brown, Dominic McGuire or Sherron Collins -- or possibly someone else, since they'll have room under the 15-man roster maximum.

Higgins confirmed that the first-round picks they're getting are one Portland acquired from New Orleans (for June's draft) and another one down the road directly from Portland. The earliest the Bobcats could get that pick is 2013, and there is protection on that pick.

Also, Higgins said Portland center Joel Przybilla has agreed to report to the Bobcats. Higgins would not address whether Przybilla or his agent, Bill Duffy, requested a buy-out, rather than a move to the Bobcats.

 

Posted by Observer Sports on February 25, 2011 at 12:23 PM | Permalink | Comments (23)

Bobcats fans, share thoughts on trades

We're looking for Bobcats fans to share their thoughts on the team's trades of Gerald Wallace and Nazr Mohammed. If you're willing to share your thoughts -- and attach your name to them -- please respond to the questionnaire in this link.

Posted by Observer Sports on February 25, 2011 at 11:41 AM | Permalink | Comments (10)

Jackson frustrated, but not bailing

-- Stephen Jackson is 10 ½ seasons into his NBA career, and has said repeatedly he doesn’t want to be in a rebuilding situation. The Golden State Warriors deconstructing their team a few years back pushed Jackson to force a trade out of the Bay Area.

     Jackson expected a question at shootaround Friday on whether the Bobcats have become a parallel situation, by trading Gerald Wallace for draft picks and payroll relief.

“At this point, I’m not’’ thinking that, Jackson said. “As all of you know, if it gets to that point, I’ll say something.

“I still want to win, but at the end of the day this is a situation I can’t control. Right now,’’ Jackson added. “I’m trying to focus on what I can control, and that’s go out and play.’’

          -- The Bobcats will be down to eight players tonight against the Sacramento Kings. None of the new players are expected to be here in time to cleared medically to play.

          The Bobcats were so shorthanded at shootaround that assistant coaches Charles Oakley and Ralph Lewis had to participate to make up two 5-man squads.

          There’s not a true backup center tonight to Kwame Brown and Matt Carroll will play a lot. But the biggest change is Gerald Henderson becoming a starter at shooting guard, with Jackson shifting to small forward.

In what was probably his last act as co-captain, Wallace told Jackson Thursday night to make sure Henderson is prepared.

“Even (Wallace) said, ‘Make sure you talk to G-Hendo and get him ready,’ ’’ Jackson recalled.

“I told (Henderson) it’s his time to step up. In order for us to still be a good team, he has to play well.’’

Posted by Observer Sports on February 25, 2011 at 11:29 AM | Permalink | Comments (5)

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