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January 09, 2012

Gana Diop will start against Knicks

It looks like Gana Diop starting at center for the Charlotte Bobcats could be more than a one-game gig.

Seven-footer Diop started Saturday versus the Indiana Pacers to match up size-wise with Roy Hibbert. Diop didn't do a lot statistically (four points, one rebound, one block in 17 minutes), but coach Paul Silas is encouraged enough that he plans to start Diop tonight against the New York Knicks.

"We need what he can provide – the defensive abilities, the shot-blocking. He can't really block a lot of shots now, but if he loses the weight, down the line he's really going to help us,'' Silas said at morning shootaround.

Diop was out nearly a year, recovering from a ruptured Achilles tendon. He couldn't run for nine months, and his weight ballooned to about 305 pounds, 25 more than his ideal playing weight.

Diop said he's down to 290 and plans to lose the other 10 quickly. He's been doing extra workouts with assistant coach Rob Werdann. The Bobcats were off Sunday, but Diop and rookie Bismack Biyombo did one-on-one drills in the afternoon.

Diop played just five minutes in the second half, yielding to backup center Byron Mullens.

"Second half, I got tired. I haven't played in so long and we haven't really practiced much,'' Diop said. "In training camp I was kind of lost out there. I'm getting back to it.''

PACKED SCHEDULE: The Knicks game starts the most crowded span of the Bobcats' schedule -- five games in six nights. Normally, NBA teams never play three nights in a row, but every team is required to play at least one back-to-back-to-back in this compact, post-lockout schedule. For the Bobcats, it's at Atlanta Thursday, followed by home games Friday and Saturday against Detroit and Golden State.

Back when Silas played, three games in a row were commonplace, and that was before charter flights meant teams could come and go whenever they chose.

"When I was a player, we played four games in four nights,'' Silas recalled. "It's just a mental approach – if you know something like that is coming, you apply yourself and get ready for it. It's difficult for (these players) because they've never had that come about.

"You'd get up, take the first (commercial) flight out to a different city, Then you'd rest up and go play,'' Silas said. "Then the same drill (all over again). It was expected that you'd come and play and there was no complaining.''

KNICKS REMEMBER: The Bobcats play the Knicks in Madison Square Garden for the second time in five days. The Bobcats beat the Knicks last week 118-110 last week, and that loss ticked off New York small forward Carmelo Anthony.

"We owe them,'' Anthony said in Monday's New York Daily News. "Well, we gave them one. So we want to repay them.''

NEVER AT THE LINE: Most of power forward Boris Diaw's shots are jumpers, but here's a statistic to keep in mind: He's played 235 minutes this season, yet has taken only two free throws.

Posted by Charlotte Observer on January 9, 2012 at 01:17 PM | Permalink


Why change what worked last week? Whoever we start, just give total effort and we will be fine. Get um Cats!

Posted by: Eatumup | Jan 9, 2012 1:58:46 PM

Wow, that last paragraph says it all about Boris...he's allergic to banging.

Posted by: eduardo | Jan 9, 2012 2:17:13 PM

"What worked?" Last I checked, the Bobcats were 1-3 last week, including blowout losses to a bad team in Cleveland and a mediocre team in Indy.

Posted by: Michael Procton | Jan 9, 2012 2:21:18 PM

Well Procton, if you look again that lineup did beat the Knicks last week.

Posted by: Eatumup | Jan 9, 2012 2:26:57 PM

Just depends on which team shows up. That Melo quote could work as a motivating factor for us too since he says they gave us the game. I don't have a good feeling about this one though. I hope they prove me wrong.

Posted by: apauldds | Jan 9, 2012 2:29:43 PM

We are going to get crushed. I hope I am wrong, but it looks a lot like the second Miami game.

Posted by: Gary | Jan 9, 2012 2:53:06 PM

Very poor article about kemba. Are you trying to kill the guys career 8 games into the season?

Posted by: crymeariver | Jan 9, 2012 6:13:57 PM

this is an indictment of how little silas is liking diaw right now. well and also because of the foul trouble he keeps getting in playing bigger guys. it's better to play diop to start than mullens. if you start mullens and he gets early fouls, you're screwed. where as you can start diop, let him foul at will......hopefully throw off the opponents, and you have mullens to come in with no fouls and play his game as aggressively as he wants.

good coaching move in my opinion.

i hope white is OK but the silver lining there is....if he misses time, that's more minutes for biyombo.

augustin is having a great start. if he and walker can learn to play together, we are going to be SET at point for a long time. dude is shooting slightly better, and has a slightly better assist to turnover ratio thus far over a season average that was what? 4th best? dude is a keeper. wait till guys start finishing on his passes with reliability and he starts getting foul calls when he drives. dude is capable of 20/10 averages. he's given us 17/7.5 without guys finishing and him getting calls. it's not far off at all.

Posted by: charlottean | Jan 9, 2012 6:17:40 PM

play Diop until he drops or retires! Either way he'll be gone!

Posted by: joe cool | Jan 9, 2012 7:30:48 PM

That was not a travel on boris. You have to let the guy gather the ball before calling a pivot foot a pivot foot. I dream of the day the nba gets real refs.

Posted by: charlottean | Jan 9, 2012 8:27:01 PM

Well he got away with a blatant travel on the drive/dish to mullens with about five and a half left so I guess two wrongs make a right.

I don't get how overly critical fans are of boris for being inconsistent and not as critical of thomas. At least boris gives you big games at all and generally his floor game IS Consistent, his stats just aren't.

Walker had a rough night but he'll bounce back.
Imagine how good this team will be when biyombo gets his weight up to take diop's place.

Augustin showing a little clutch gene and balls with that 3 to tie. And the one to cut it to one. Dude was having an off night and still drilled those. Almost hit that last one too.

Hendo made a poster.

Knicks fans are killin toney douglas with the "we want shum-pert" hilarious. Can't wait till they do it to baron davis.

Good solid loss (get used to this phrase for this season only). I will take another 45 to 50 of these. Bring in barnes and start reversing fortune.

Posted by: charlottean | Jan 10, 2012 12:17:06 AM

what a game!
Diaw pretty much control the game when he touched the ball. assists or drive made his Knicks'opponents wondered" what else can't he do".
The bobcats lost but it just showed us how good they'll be someday with the correct PF or the best overall player in the draft.
Diaw created some shots for himself and a deadly treys between the eyes.
So people, stop hating on our Boris because he is our allstar right now. I would hate to see him leave this team because he takes Center out the paint which we be good when we get player like Harrison Barnes.
Because this is Diaw's last year, i just wish our team could get a value for him by trading or give him an extension.

Posted by: Vinh | Jan 10, 2012 12:37:46 AM

DJ's ability to nail 3's and free throws help him to average roughly 1.19 points per FG attempt through his first 8 games. That is higher than 3 of the 4 PG's who currently tie him or surpass him in points per game(Jennings, D-Will, Westbrook, D-Rose). Encouraging.

(note: stats possibly not including last night's action)

Posted by: DeLaQuest | Jan 10, 2012 1:20:25 AM

Henderson posterizing Melo was the highlight of the night. I can only hope that Silas is playing Diop to showcase him and get him some stats so he can be packaged off in a trade. He's complete garbage. Mid way through the 4th quarter when the cats were closing in we got treated to this:

Bobcats within 3 points:

Diop - Turnover
Diop - Shooting foul
Diop - Leaving Chandler wide open for the easy deuce

NIce. Oh and this just in: Tyrus Thomas sucks.

I'm willing to put up with this charade until the trade deadline but after that we need to give significant minutes to Walker and Biyombo.

Posted by: apauldds | Jan 10, 2012 9:02:54 AM

The Bobcats should play:

Walker, Biyombo, Thomas, Diaw and Diop as much as they can.

That way Walker and Biyombo will get some solid time to learn the NBA game and gain some experience.

As for the other three, they might actually play good enough so that some team might be willing to pull the trigger and give the Bobcats at least a 2nd Rd pick or some expiring contracts in return.

Anyways, I'm almost certain the Cats will lose enough games to get a Top 3 pick in the draft and get Andre Drummonds (Option 1) or Harrison Barnes (Option 2).

Posted by: RobC | Jan 10, 2012 10:09:16 AM

diop could manage out a couple 10 rebound 5 block games and HE STILL WOULD BE UNTRADABLE. The amnesty clause killed his trade market which was for players that had worse contracts than he did......like travis outlaw.

thomas doesn't suck, he's just not worth ALL of that money. he's definitely worth a chunk of it though. he's a major upgrade over maggette who's getting paid more.

everything they are doing coaching wise right now.....is appropriate. walker is getting good playing time. he's getting the 11th most minutes of rookies and he was the 9th pick (10th if you count rubio) with vesely injured and valancunius overseas....you have a ton of later picks like brooks, cole, shumpert, singleton getting a ton of minutes. and you have jeremy pargo who is technically a rookie but is like 8 years removed from college (exag.)
and its not as though he's been dominating 2nd team minutes either. in some cases he's been great and in other cases he's been bad. let him develop in that role before complaining about his minutes.

biyombo will take diop out of the lineup when he can get his weight up. I actually think he might benefit more from a d-league stint for a few weeks and THEN bring him into the rotation. send him down and get him used to playing 25-30 mpg and getting 15-20 ppg and being a featured post player. that's far more valuable than what he's doing right now. even if he gets playing time, he's going to be the 5th option on the floor at all times and be getting into foul trouble defensively because of the weight differentials.

Posted by: charlottean | Jan 10, 2012 10:23:15 AM

Mullens is so soft on the court. it seems like he's never in the thick of the action where he should be, but playing like a guard out on the perimeter all of the time. even in transition he's the first up the court and never one to try to grab or defend defensive boards. watching him play off the ball is so sad i wish someone would tell him to stop running up the court asking for a alley oop every damn time. learn to crash the boards, learn to play big, and most of all learn to use your body you scrub. he has good movement for his size but his IQ is awful.

Posted by: kb | Jan 10, 2012 2:03:10 PM

he's also 22. and basically in the first 10 games of a rookie season. those things are fixable. he'll add weight to his frame too.

Posted by: charlottean | Jan 10, 2012 2:07:37 PM

Rick: Any word on when we can expect Reggie Williams back?

Posted by: apauldds | Jan 10, 2012 3:08:16 PM

off night for everybody except maybe mullens.

we made chandler parsons look like ROY candidate. or a solid veteran. I liked dude in college and thought we should give him a look ourselves (not with a top 10 pick obviously) but he wasn't putting up 20 points in college either. not often.

this wasn't a "good loss" by us. it was just a "bad win" by them. but a loss is a loss (never used that in this context) and we'll take it. barnes had a horrible night last night for the d-league team too but they still won big.

walker played 31 minutes last night so I don't want to hear complaining about that for a week or so.

Posted by: charlottean | Jan 11, 2012 12:33:16 PM

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