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December 08, 2012

A postscript on Bobcats-Spurs

    Some quick thoughts on the 30-point blowout the San Antonio Spurs administered to the Charlotte Bobcats Saturday:

            --I thought rookie Michael Kidd-Gilchrist was much more hurt than he proved to be when he fell to the court and grabbed his back in the first half. He lay there a long time. Turns out it was a tailbone contusion and he came back to play 10 minutes in the second half. I thought he’d wrenched his back.

            --It will be interesting to see how Brendan Haywood and Byron Mullens react to losing their starting jobs, more interesting still how long it takes to win them back. Gana Diop made his first start of the season Saturday, but it defined cameo appearance: Nine minutes, two rebounds and zero points. Bismack Biyombo also started: Eight rebounds, four points and two blocks in 33 minutes.

            --Gerald Henderson says his injured left foot is virtually pain-free after that month-long sprain. He says any residual soreness doesn’t affect his movement.

            --This was the first Spurs game veteran referee Joey Crawford has officiated since a photo circulated on the Internet of Tim Duncan and Tony Parker pointing toy guns at a Crawford impersonator on Halloween.

            Duncan was asked Saturday if he has or would speak with Crawford about it, once the picture went viral on the web. Duncan, who has a terse relationship with Crawford, said no.

            “I will never reference it with him,’’ Duncan said post-game. “It’s not a situation I ever expected would get out or never expected someone to make a big deal out of, so I’m not going to.’’

Posted by Observer Sports on December 8, 2012 at 10:29 PM | Permalink


I'm beginning to worry about the Bobcats' direction at this time; actually, is there any ?

It's not because of the last blowout. The Spurs are a much better team, and they also had an unusually amazing three point shooting night.

But, being blown out by the Bucks ?! A blowout that was, as long as the Bucks had their starters on the floor. After pushing their lead to 26, they declared the remainder of the game garbage time, and our reserves managed to cut the deficit playing against their reserves.
They defended well, our inside defense was soft as butter.

Or, the biggest blowout in franchise history, in Oklahoma. Worse than any of last season's many blowouts (when we basically had an NBDL roster, or something close to that), worse than any under Sam Vincent.

Mike Dunlap is toying too much with the line-ups, as if talking about "hot seats", or starting Diop and Biyombo is gonna resolve anything. We need both more clarity and stability in the line-ups, less experimenting that places us in obviously disadvantageous mismatches, and tightening up the defense (including the team - helping each other - side of it).

The Bobcats surprised us all with a very nice beginning of the season (7-5).
They played with enthusiasm, there was a lot of effort and energy in their games.
Since then, the initial enthusiasm seems to be fading away, and they start looking more like a team wobbling aimlessly against the toughness of this league.

It's still early, there are more than three quarters of the season left, so, I hope they can get their act together. It starts with the head coach.

Posted by: Sandy | Dec 9, 2012 3:27:20 AM

I strongly dislike what is going on with Ramon Sessions since he became a Bobcat. It's about his role in this team.

Sessions was one of my favorite underrated players in this league, I was hoping for years the 'Cats will get him, I was happy when this happened, and now...

Sessions was never trying to be a top scorer; yet, that's what he was for this team, until Hendo came back. At what price?

He's taking a lot more shots per game than ever before, at a lower percentage than ever before, and at the same time, his assists per game went down, even as his playing time increased. This is ridiculous.

Ramon Sessions' main strength is to be a floor leader and a playmaker, who can also be among the secondary scoring options. Under Mike Dunlap - who was saying that he liked playing Sessions, Kemba and Gordon together to increase scoring - he suddenly needs to be a finisher (which really isn't his strength), and to create for teammates less than he proved previously he's able to. As a clear example, you see too much "drive and miss", and too little "drive and dish" from him. Don't blame the player for this, the beginning of this post makes it clear that the "real Sessions" - the one of previous seasons - is not the one we are seeing now.
Oh, by the way, one of his previous coaches - Scott Skiles - also noticed the big change in his game.

Here is one of the changes coach Dunlap needs to effect now: play Sessions at his strength, use him for his playmaking talent, expect less scoring from him. His assists can go back up, and with less shooting through better shot selection, his shooting percentage can improve, and then everybody will be happier.

Posted by: Sandy | Dec 9, 2012 3:56:59 AM

The pt gds allow too much dribble drive penetration. It's been the biggest problem in the losses. And they set no one up but themselves . Instead of 20 pts it would better to get 10 assists in the paint . All Kemba wants to do is shoot . If that's the case , get a high level pass first defending pt gd and move him over. He makes no one better but himself.

Parker, Felton,connoly , Jennings ,Westbrook have all killed him by getting in the paint at will and dishing. A high scoring pt gd that plays no defense and can't facilitate is poison to a team. GET TEAMMMATES INVOLVED . what veteran would sign here seeing this?

Posted by: Ironman | Dec 9, 2012 3:58:01 AM

It's the Spurs people. All they do is line Ginobli and Green on opposite ends behind the three point line, Parker can penetrate and kick out easily with the Cat's weak zone defense. I thought the guy from N.O. they traded for Carroll would make more of an impact. Henderson should have had 30 plus points tonight, but he does not know how to utilize his offensive strengths.

Posted by: defensewinsgamesg | Dec 9, 2012 8:05:16 AM

The Spurs are a well oiled machine. Can score 60 in the paint one night and 60 from the 3 point line the next. We have nothing that can match that.

Kemba will fine. The fact that he has proved he can score at this level and single handily kept us in the Knicks game is big. The Bobcatsjust need a low post threat. Without one there is no half court offense and no open 3 point looks. It is painful when Haywood, Mullens or Biz post up. No double team needed.

The team is what we thought. Just let these kids develop and find a lowpost player in the draft or free agency.

Posted by: Spencer | Dec 9, 2012 8:15:08 AM

Ironman stat watch much? If that wasn't the case you'd know that we played Jeff Taylor/Gerald Henderson on Tony Parker almost all night. Kemba for the most part guarded Neal.

It amazes me that you want to continue to bang on Kemba when he's the least of our problems right now.

Agreed with Spencer, but I'd expand on either getting our bigs to learn to play together else find some that can. When one goes to help no progression follows; his guy is left open for the O board/put back.

Posted by: spectre | Dec 9, 2012 9:43:41 AM

@Sandy We were not supposed to be good this season. We started strong but overachieved. There are two pieces to the direction of the team. 1) The expectation is that we continue to improve and it's Dunlap's job to develop these guys. So far, I think he's done a commendable job. Toying with the lineup's is a way to figure out what works and what doesn't. Lets be honest, He doesn't have a roster of all-stars. Byron Mullens isn't playing more than 15 minutes a game on a good team. Haywood is old, Gordon is oft-injured. 3 of our core players are <23(Kemba 22, MKG 19, Bismack 20)
2) Stay the course and build through the draft. Even if we continued to overachieve, we're not good enough to win a championship. Not in the 2012 "Super Team" version of the NBA. We need multiple All-stars and the only way to get them is to get lucky in the draft (no big time free agent is going to come to a small market)
In the interest of the future, we need to be competitive but we don't want to win too many games and end up with a late lottery pick (or no pick at all, we owe a first rounder to CHI thats top 13 protected this year). Continue to build assets and develop the young guys and we should be OK. Like Cho said, sometimes you have to take steps back to take steps forward.

Posted by: Dave | Dec 9, 2012 9:51:57 AM

This team has over achieved to win 7 games this early, but the talents aren't there yet. It will take at least two years before this team becomes a playoff contender....very young team. The surprise of this team is Haywood. I'm not sure signing players for the cats means those available. Haywood is really a non factor on this team. Also, I think Mullens is suffering from lack of confidence with his game and the coaches need to work with him more. I'll not be surprised if they loose ten games in a row before winning again.

Posted by: bobcats | Dec 9, 2012 1:57:12 PM

We just waived Higgins & signed Adrien from the D League.

Some of the conversation on here will surely suffer now.

Posted by: spectre | Dec 9, 2012 2:08:37 PM

what, this guy adrien, seems to have high motor and he would be great to compliment byombo at center.

Posted by: vinh | Dec 9, 2012 3:45:43 PM

Nice move by the Bobcats. They finally did he right thing and cut Higgins. Maybe things are really changing there.

Posted by: Davo | Dec 9, 2012 4:15:38 PM

The Bobcats are not expected to be a playoffs contender this season, but they are expected to be a decent, competitive team - which still goes to the lottery, based on its level of talent (and that also means keeping that lottery pick that is top 12 protected from Chicago; I see no reason to worry about it).

As true as it is that they overachieved earlier in the season (to go 7-5), so it's true they are underachieving lately.
For all those who worry about lottery picks, please remember that coaches and players play to win (well, except when they become totally discouraged, as it happened to the Cats last season).
Playing with a losers' mentality, not fighting to give your best every time, is bad for players' development too. This is why they tried to improve the roster this season: to compete, to get the young players to push their limits - because that's the only way they'll get better.

Also, with the room we'll have next season under the luxury tax threshold (to use in free agency), plus another lottery pick in 2013, plus our young players gaining experience, there is no reason we won't be playoffs contenders in 2013-14.

My earlier posts were related to Mike Dunlap's coaching. You should have no doubt about his determination to win as much as possible with this roster (which should be anywhere between 25 to 30 this season). He saw what happened to Paul Silas after last season. The management didn't care that THEY placed him in a losing situation, and they sure were not "thankful" to him that last season's record brought them the second pick overall in the Draft.

For the reasons mentioned above, you can't have another disastrous season; we need to have a decent, competitive team.
My point was that the way Dunlap is running the team lately became kind of drifting, excessively wavering and directionless - and not getting the best of our current roster.
Without repeating now what I posted earlier, this needs to change.
IF the underachieving goes on, it's gonna get ugly again, and bad for the young players' development. This doesn't have to happen.

Posted by: Sandy | Dec 9, 2012 7:29:45 PM

Due to a technical oddity (my company has disabled the ability to comment on CO articles, but we can still comment on blogs), I'm going to comment here on Rick's article on the Bobcats needing luck to succeed.

I think Rick, and the league office, are in denial about tanking. The lottery has not deterred tanking one iota. I think the Bobcats, Wizards, Cavs and Kings are all open to the charge of tanking at the end of last year to attempt to get the most ping-pong balls for Anthony Davis. Even when there's no once-in-a-lifetime player available, there is tanking almost every year.

And what is worse than the perception of tanking? The perception of fixing. As long as there is a lottery, there will be a conspiracy theory about the lottery being fixed. I don't care how many lawyers and accountants you hire or how many pages of sworn testimony to the contrary you might have, you will never convince me the '85 lottery wasn't fixed for the Knicks, that the '04 lottery wasn't fixed for the Cavs, or that any lottery hasn't at least been examined for good fixes. I thought this past year's lottery was going to be fixed for the Nets, but apparently dude with the billion rubels assured Dave that he was going to get all the big names through trade or free agency, so they didn't need Anthony Davis. It doesn't take much imagination to come up with a fixing theory for the Hornets. Other than 1 really good year with Chris Paul, they haven't been very good the last several years, the sellout crowds have disappeared, and they needed a big jolt for the new ownership.

And why, exactly, would a professional sports league WANT a system where the only way a bad team can get good is through dumb luck? Answer - because that professional sports league wants to manage which of hits teams are successful. That league probably believes that it will become the biggest of the professional sports league by ensuring the teams in the very largest markets have the most success - so, if you have 2 teams in NYC, 2 teams in LA, a team in Chicago, a team in Boston, and a team in a city that everyone feels eternally sorry for because of its hurricane damage, well, let's make sure those teams are always the best. (Gotta have BOTH teams in LA at the top, so we'll nix a trade the already-good LA team makes and steer the trade to the not-so-good LA team.)

The NBA will never sniff the popularity of the NFL until they establish a system that allows every team equal opportunity to talent, and get rid of the current system where the size of your city is 99% of the factors that determine your ability to win.

Posted by: J | Dec 12, 2012 9:27:41 AM

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