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November 02, 2012

Post-game thoughts on a big Charlotte Bobcats opening-night win

                Wow. It’s been going on seven month since I wrote a Bobcats victory (no, I don’t count pretend games in summer league or the preseason). Some thoughts about what happened Friday night:

                --Coach Mike Dunlap was right when he said the Bobcats had a “kill the elephant’’ problem. This losing streak – it ended at 23 – was four losses short of NBA history. No matter how much the players claimed, “New team, new players, new year,’’ this weighed on them. Had they gotten to loss 26, the national media would have been all over the story and it would have been a vicious distraction.

                I preceded a question on the streak to Dunlap by saying, “I know you weren’t here but…’’ and he interjected that once he took this job, the streak became his property, too.

                “It’s a ‘we’ issue,’’ Dunlap described of his preseason message to the players. “We wanted to get that off the boards so we could move on with the regular season.’’

                Mission accomplished.

                --I’m sure some of you thought Byron Mullens had a horrible night, shooting 3-of-10 from the field. Last season that would have been the end of the story. This season he’s engaged at the defensive end and having an impact.

                Mullens had seven rebounds, two steals and two blocks. That’s 7-footer stuff, not elongated shooting guard stuff. Plus, Dunlap liked that in the second half, when his jump shot wasn’t dropping, Mullens posted up some to offer a fresh look.

                “Byron needs to understand that everyone in the league now knows what he is,’’ Dunlap said of Mullens’ jump-shooting prowess. “So he’s not going to get a lot of room on the perimeter.’’

                --Center Brendan Haywood and point guard Ramon Session might not have been the sexiest veterans available over the summer, but they were solid and important Friday, particularly in the fourth quarter. Haywood had three rebounds and a basket and clogged up the middle smartly on defense. Sessions had seven points and two assists down the stretch.

                --Pacers forward David West was frustrated how poorly his team reacted to the matchup zone the Bobcats employed. West said the Bobcats “junked up’’ the game and Indiana let them get away with it.

                I saw this coming. Dunlap and his staff experimented a bunch with the zone in preseason practices. There are people on the coaching staff with Temple ties, and ex-Temple coach John Chaney was great teaching the matchup zone. That won’t be a constant, but it’s a nice wrinkle.

                --From my buddy, Tim Baier, at News 14: Who would have imagined that on Nov. 2, the Bobcats and Carolina Panthers would have the same number of victories.

Posted by Observer Sports on November 2, 2012 at 11:20 PM | Permalink


Next streak to go down tomorrow night! Have never beaten Dallas!

Posted by: joe cool | Nov 2, 2012 11:35:29 PM

Kemba vs. DJ. No contest.

Posted by: Jones | Nov 3, 2012 1:53:31 AM

Proverbial monkey off Jordans back after 23 straight Ls or is it as these idiots celebrate for about 10 minutes. What a joke. One point tiny victory beginners luck.

Ex-college coach gets a beginners luck W with 81 to go. Give the poor new guy a C for effort but reality always creeps in and the end result 10-12 Ws if they lucky.

Posted by: bobcats luck out | Nov 3, 2012 7:23:31 AM

Bobcats Luck Out @ 7:23

Give them a break. This team had lost so much in a single season and had to deal with the national media dogging them for the better part of the season, the celebration here is warranted. Especially beating a Pacers team that was Top 10 (8th) in ESPN's Preseason NBA Power Rankings.

We are all realists here and don't EXPECT anything more than 20-25 victories this year, but this ONE just feels good.

Posted by: MountaineerHeel | Nov 3, 2012 8:50:38 AM

This coach gets it. Playing multiple defenses. Man, match up zone, 221 press. He is working with what he has and is adjusting on the fly. Last year the Pacers would have come out in the 2nd half and killed the Bobcats. kudos for the coach for not just sticking with the status quo. They will be lucky to win 20 games, but they are finally approaching things the right way.

He is also using his players effectively.. Kemba is not a typical point gaurd so don't make him one. Once teams realize that he can score consistently, other opportunities will open up for the other players.

Can't wait to see what the coach can do with a real roster.

Posted by: Bball Expert | Nov 3, 2012 9:41:24 AM

Good start.... Dunlap did a good job....One game at a time.

Posted by: Fan | Nov 3, 2012 9:48:38 AM

The matchup zone also gave up plenty of open looks in the paint, the ultimate no-no. But overall, the guys did a good job communicating and closing out on the perimeter, plus it did disrupt Indy. But when it's applied, it could definitely use some more work.

Posted by: Michael | Nov 3, 2012 2:01:54 PM

here's to hoping that kemba can go all james harden on the repeat (I DON'T MEAN more pointS, but just another solid repeat performance) and not do what he did last year following big games with disasters. if he can put it together and mullens puts it together and henderson puts it together.......we're further along than we looked all summer.

fear is the 3 for 20 nights. keep in mind we had a bit of a cushion and walker was 10 for 16. he ends up 10 for 21 and we squeeze out the victory. he has to be smarter down the stretch although you gotta love the passion the kid plays with. balls to the wall and that's contagious. mullens was the only guy in that future 5 that lacked that and he seems to be catching it as well.

biyombo looked good outside of the blown dunk as well.

Posted by: charlottean | Nov 3, 2012 3:39:57 PM

It feels like a playoff victory it's been so long!

Posted by: buckshot jenkins | Nov 3, 2012 4:02:03 PM

Here Here!

Posted by: David Stern has to go!! | Nov 3, 2012 4:28:21 PM

Most of the guys couldn't buy a jump shot last night. Instead of nitpicking everything Kemba does why not hope they can do something to help the guy out? He's not AI and we shouldn't expect him to be. He's not going to be able to carry the team night in/night out. If he has to then OF COURSE he's going to have some crap games.

The reason he went scoreless the last quarter is because Indiana was keying onto him especially (makes sense don't it?). When that happens the other guys HAVE to step up...because if they don't then it sure isn't Kemba's fault that he's still busting his arse and trying.

Pull for the guy. He's one of the best players we currently have on the team you guys are supposed to be supporting. I know you love the team just like I do...so act like it ok?

Posted by: spectre | Nov 3, 2012 6:55:12 PM

K! Now just irritated. Played well for one half... Fair enough.
No nitpicking. Just expressing concern. Kemba is in no way the only one! Mullens can be as good as he wants to be! I love this team I will show how I feel and often do! In a positive way.constructive crticism not just. Blatant nonsense spouted here. Not a fan of Kemba no question would love to eat my words , you kidding me. Kemba ands Sessions so far seeo look positive... Mullens is my concern. Has soo much too offer. I don't know.

Posted by: David Stern has to go!! | Nov 3, 2012 11:05:43 PM

Where's Reality Today?

Just walked off the basketball court in Dallas!!

Posted by: George Hanson | Nov 3, 2012 11:35:57 PM

Forgive me was sending comment from my phone.
I get it and appreciate. However not being blatant negative!
Seems as if every team sees us as a B12 injection... how many times are we going to see these percentages 60 and 60 etc..
fair enough.
Im done!~

Posted by: David Stern has to go!! | Nov 3, 2012 11:39:06 PM

What i was saying is that WHEN indiana was keying in on him, he should have been giving the ball up instead of trying to be the hero.

He played great tonight IMO. I fully expected a 3 for 20 game tonight and he actually did a good job of just taking what was given and made some really good passes. I AM pulling for the guy, im just struggling getting over another idiotic offseason. If kemba has games similar to tonight on the regular.....we will have a solid starting 5.

Its not every night that your opponent shoots 60% on contested 3's. Really well played game besides that. We won basically every aspect except shooting and we didn't shoot horribly either. Good start thus far, only complaint would be regarding lack of time for biyombo. He needs to be playing.

Posted by: charlottean | Nov 4, 2012 12:16:09 AM

I wouldn't say great but I appreciate the sentiment. He did make some good passes but most of our guys are struggling to hit shots right now.

At least Sessions took up the slack...he was one of the few bright spots scoring wise last night. I've always liked the guy.

Busting up the playoff team ticked me off pretty badly and esp. for the return we got for them. I like Cho though, so now we at least have an adult in the room.

Posted by: spectre | Nov 4, 2012 4:45:17 AM

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