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March 24, 2014

Dwight Howard -- likely to play vs. Bobcats -- expected the first-year success Steve Clifford experiencing in Charlotte

First thing to know about tonight’s Charlotte Bobcats-Houston Rockets game: Rockets coach Kevin McHale says he’d be “shocked” if superstar center Dwight Howard doesn’t play, after missing the past three games with an ankle injury.

            Howard seemed mildly surprised McHale would be that open with reporters at shootaround Monday, but he didn’t give any counter-indication. He recently had a procedure to remove part of a cyst and drain fluid from his left ankle.

“I’m feeling a lot better. A lot of the inflammation went down,” Howard said. “They couldn’t remove all of the cyst, but the fact that they could remove a lot of the fluid, that was good. Hopefully a couple of days of rest and it’s back to normal.”

            Howard reminisced about the six seasons he spent with first-year Bobcats coach Steve Clifford in Orlando and Los Angeles. Howard was an assistant coach with the Magic and Lakers while Howard played for those two franchises.

            Howard is not the least surprised Clifford has the Bobcats in playoff contention.

“Cliff has done an excellent job with these guys. I really enjoy watching them play,” Howard said.  “He had a great mentor in Stan (Van Gundy in Orlando) and he’s always wanted the opportunity.

“I knew coming in he was going change the way the Bobcats play and make them a better team. The (way he) compacts (the floor) at the defensive end is incredible. I’m happy for him.”

            Clifford’s defense in Charlotte focuses on minimizing points in the paint, giving up some room at the 3-point line. Howard said that’s precisely how the Magic played when he was there as a dominant rim-protector.

“For it to be his first year (as an NBA head coach), he’s had a successful season. I really like how they’re using Al (Jefferson) to his full potential and he has guys around him who can make shots and make plays.”

Bobcats center Jefferson also has a reunion game of sorts, having worked with Rockets coach Kevin McHale when both were part of the Minnesota Timberwolves organization.

Indiana Pacers coach Frank Vogel recently observed that Jefferson’s game most resembles McHale’s when he played for the Boston Celtics. McHale called Jefferson’s skill set “unique,” but he also acknowledged the similarity, as far as post scorers who could create space in tight places with a variety of spin moves and ball fakes.

“I just played,” said McHale, suggesting he didn’t think about how little room he needed to get off a shot until he’d see it later on video.

Posted by Observer Sports on March 24, 2014 at 12:58 PM | Permalink

Comments

You slurpers got all mad at me for calling Shorty out about his extremely weak FT stats, but none of you morons ever gave me a legitimate reason for why he was so lousy....lots of you listed a bunch of other notable players who are crappy from the line as if that made it ok, what a way to think!

Well, don't look now but Shortster is 66 of his last 71 from the line, that ciphers at 92.9%.....let's call it 93% between friends. Maybe the Boobs really do pay attention to what I say being a former employee and all ;0)

Good onya Shorty. Told ya so slurpers...

(too bad he didn't do it all year, Boobs would prob be .500 on that alone)

Now, let's address the relentless chukkin' from the field. 36.8% from the field with only 3 assists in a game with playoff implications. Jeremy Lin hit only 3 fewer shots taking 1/3rd the shots Shortster took, and had the same number of assists and rebounds but played 50% of the minutes Shorty got.

People, this is a preview of what your gonna get in the playoffs, sorry to say...

Fumblerooski rooted to the end of the bench again, only 6 minutes.

Prepare yourselves slurpers because if/when playoff time comes he's probably not going to play unless it's a blowout. Cho took it upon himself personally to bring Fumblerooski in to the fold didn't he? Bet that Spanish team is having a great big laugh about that big fee they collected for letting Fumblerooski go!

As for the arena, if the Boobs are now so profitable and Air Minumum is so rich why ishe asking tax payers for $42 million to "update" a perfectly good arena. Luxury suite updates? Hell most of them are empty!

Posted by: NASTAR99 | Mar 24, 2014 9:49:48 PM

NASTAR99; you are truly a pathetic man; good luck.

AIight- look, i ain't trolling like nastar- but, i'll never complain about cutting ties with a high draft pick if they part ways with Kemba, only because they probably got the best player with that pick- a couple of sleepers that went after him, yes; but with who was left at #9, they did ok. Only way is sign him to a f-a-i-r bench deal.

As a starter, he'd get us to the 2nd round with the right cards, but not past it.

Posted by: the Dude | Mar 25, 2014 1:57:48 AM

Geez…… looking at the box score- where was the ball movement tonight?

Posted by: the Dude | Mar 25, 2014 1:59:52 AM

Jerry Richardson got 90 million from the city for his NFL stadium. Think he needed the money? That comment was astoundingly ignorant.

Posted by: John | Mar 25, 2014 7:38:48 AM

Houston is good. Go to scorer. 2 great defensive centers and some stong role players. Team was good enough to win even when Howard was out. Bobcats are just not there yet. Still it was a competitive game and they were in it deep into the 4th. Played hard all game. Brooklyn is the much bigger game for them. Especially after losing there last week.

Kemba Walkers free throw shooting simply improved like most of his game over the last 3 years. Not that 80% was bad. Love to see his shooting % go up, but that will come more from shot selection. Last night Houston's D forced the team into some late and difficult shots. McHale is doing a good job in Houston.

Posted by: Ron Ron | Mar 25, 2014 7:57:35 AM

The ball and man movement in the first half was good . In the third qrtr , it was only dump the ball in to Jefferson . This causes ball movement to stop as well as man movement . The players grow cold and can't hit shots . With no ball or man movement , you cannot play Mkg as he's a liability . But he should have gotten inside plays with Harden on him .

This team has no pt gd that can run the pick and roll routinely . This is the primary way to break a Howard defense down . The roller hits a cutter for a layup . The Rockets are very tall and they push up on the perimeter shooters ESP w Howard on the floor . You must stay committed to ball movement and extra pass . All guys got were shots late in the shot clock trying to force it into Jefferson in the 4 th . Kemba is back to his old ways . Lol. He had 3 assists . If he ran the pick and roll , pick and pop , got inside a Drew two defenders , he could get some assists at the rim for easy buckets . Or even drive and dish to spot up shooters who would have more time to set up . Face it . He's a good sg but not a facilitating point gd . His biggest sin is he gets zero buckets for teammates in transition bc he dribbles the ball up ct .

Henderson must demand the ball in weak side isos. He must resume the two man game w McRoberts like last yr to vary the stagnant offense . There as no good reason to take him off Harden which only allowed Harden to heat up and get ridiculous calls that started the slide .

Jefferson now plays w the second unit . He dominated the ball , gave players no screens and gave them the ball late in the shot clock expecting them to do something . This bothered Cdr and Neal . Jefferson is playing better defense and his shot selection was good . But if this team is to go anywhere , he must create offense w his high usesage . This includes quicker passes to open teammates , hitting cutters and guys going back door . Kemba can't do it . He's a sg trying to manage the point and is a volume shooter at best . Draft or sign a big , strong , defending pass first pt gd . Marcus Smart ? Kyke Lowry ? He tries but the team desperately needs a playmaker .

Posted by: Iron man | Mar 25, 2014 8:08:00 AM

Okay do you folks realize what sort of miracle it is that we are close to .500 ball and almost a lock for playoffs.
Against the Blazers this team looked unstopable. Last night no. If they can get consistency they crank up.
And people need to realize besides Big Al, Kemba, and Hendo who else ever looks to even shoot the ball.
Positives:
Big Al is way better than anyone dreamed I don't care who you were. 20 and 10 for season . really.
Cody has improved past 10 games.
Kemba is starting to have big well rounded games and pass more. consistenly no. But more absolutely.
Neal was a huge nice add so far.
For money McBob, Tolliver, CDR have been great pickups.
Coaching and defense!!! Forget indivudals what this team has accomplished is unheard of.
Turnaround this fast!!

Negatives:
Hendo has moments but never going to be the man. But for $6mm should he be or would he be great 6th man.
Zeller majority of season
No draft picks except Portlands likely.
Biz likely not going to pan out.

Posted by: Season Ticket holder for now | Mar 25, 2014 2:35:13 PM

"Think he needed the money?"

What does that have to do with anything? Makes it right?

I think we have a BooneySlurper in our midst...

Posted by: NASTAR99 | Mar 25, 2014 5:00:43 PM

"Big Al is way better than anyone dreamed I don't care who you were. 20 and 10 for season . really."

STH, in 6 seasons over the course of 439 games as a *starter* Big Al averaged 19.4pts and 9.9rebs per game.

Why would anyone be the least bit surprised by him averaging 21.4 and 10.4 with the Boobs when he has the complete greenlight and is basically option 1, 2, 3 and 5 offensively?

One would have to be clueless to be surprised by this outcome.

Posted by: NASTAR99 | Mar 25, 2014 5:09:25 PM

NASTAR is such a double talking troll. Can't even imagine going through life like that. How pathetic must you be. Seriously.

"makes it right?" Teams get money all the time for arenas. Profitable. Not profitable. Wealthy owner or not. You are the dope that tied it to the teams profitability and Jordan's wealth. To ignorant to even realize that. Takes a real moron to contradict himself in the same thread. Should have known not to put that one past you. What a complete moronic fool!

Posted by: John | Mar 25, 2014 5:43:24 PM

Thanks Bcats and Mr. Jordan. Class move sending supplies to our troops. Hope more companies follow your lead. Keep it up!

Posted by: LT | Mar 25, 2014 10:23:15 PM

It's obvious who doesn't pay taxes around here...

John, if the Boobs are profitable and Jordan is a near-billionaire, why is he asking for a bunch of cash from a city that can't pay teachers and struggles to build sidewalks?

You are aware that the new Jets/Giants stadium was built with exactly $0.00 of public funding? Yep, their owners can afford it.

Air Min....King of the Handout. Can't run an NBA franchise without a food stamps like handout program, profitable team* and near billionaire* and he can't afford to put in a new scoreboard and reupholster a few couches that never get sat on.

What a joke...no wonder he's the W.O.A.T.

(*supposedly)

Posted by: NASTAR99 | Mar 25, 2014 10:27:59 PM

Love these clowns that think they have any idea where every tax dollar goes. Make a list and you will be thrilled that some of it goes to sports facilities that people might actually use. BTW people, Richardson got 90 mil for a stadium HE owns. And you better like football, because that is basically all that happens there. Oh yeah. They got a soccer match. Maybe they will line up some cricket next. Don't forget, the city owns the arena. Corporate welfare? Not really. When the tax dollars are going into something the city actually owns. Huge difference spending money on your own building on behalf of a tenant. Ever owned property and been a landlord? Probably not. Maybe they should throw more money at Chiquita instead? That worked out well. Wait. You mean they wasted our tax dollars?

Posted by: Legit | Mar 26, 2014 6:55:53 AM

The bench production went down badly . It's the same that causes this starting back ct to struggle . Pls notice that Jefferson played the entire time w the bench . When he isn't dominating the ball , the Cats are wasting too much time trying to force it into him . When he doesn't have it , he stands around clogging lanes , refusing to screen or even get hockey assists to set up plays . If he would play fundamentall bb , there would be no need for McRoberts in the starting lineup as much . Share the ball . As Nastar says , he's the 1 ,2,3 and 5 th option . Clifford must revise this . We are no longer talking about the great job Jefferson did to get the
Cats from the basement . It's about getting to and out the first round . Something he's never done in ten yrs . He's playing better defense . But he has to get 5 assists a game and at least 5 hockey assists based on the high usesage . If he does and Kemba remains a pass first , defending pt gd , the Cats upset the Pacers .

Posted by: Iron man | Mar 26, 2014 8:51:04 AM

The cats have got to play MKG more..There defense has bad luls when he isn't out there..

Posted by: shane | Mar 26, 2014 3:15:59 PM

"BTW people, Richardson got 90 mil for a stadium HE owns."

He sure did, and it ain't right! Booney bluffed our moronic city council and they were too stupid to call him on it!

Your make a good point about trusting (or not) the same people who made the Chiquita decison -- relative to the *Cable Box* (shoot me) I'm certain they'll make the wrong decision, again.

What's the King of Handouts gonna do if they decline to give him the cash -- leave?

The arena is fine just like it is.

Posted by: NASTAR99 | Mar 26, 2014 3:52:33 PM

NASTURD - What would you recommend be done to make this an acceptable team? Any suggestions or do you just enjoy Trolling in your pajamas?

Posted by: BuzzCats | Mar 26, 2014 3:57:47 PM

There are some GREAT comments on here. Love this blog!

Ron Ron: I thought the exact same thing after the Rockets game. You nailed it. They hung with a team that will probably come out of the West.

LT: I couldn't agree with you more. Nice touch by the Bobcats and Family Dollar.

Legit: Your line about Chiquita was priceless. I'm STILL laughing. And you are right.

Overall, the team is improving and getting production out of players who were after thoughts. McBob? CDR? Time to give credit to Cho and the front office. Now, if you told me last year at this time that the Bobcats would make the playoffs this season, possibly finish 6th with a good chance to move to the 2nd round? I would have involuntarily checked you in to a facility off of Randolph. ha.

Posted by: Will | Mar 26, 2014 11:36:31 PM

"...with a good chance to move to the 2nd round?"

A good chance? You want to lay odds?

"What would you recommend be done to make this an acceptable team?"

Uuuuuh, change owners!

Tonight the Boobs were like 10 for 12 on desperation heaves as the shot clock ran out ofter completely inept offensive sets completely broke down and/or The Shortster dribbled into a triple team and...

...if that's the playoff schematic this team is FUBAR!

Crucial game with the hottest team in the East since Jan 1 and the *Cable Box* wasn't even half full, shoot me. The thug aisle attendant in section 104 was waiving his thug buddies down from the upper deck to fill all the empty seats -- HAHAHAHAHA!!!

Hey, ya'll think Cody is OK? I'm a little worried his feelings were hurt after the 153lb 10-day contract guy fouled him and was tossed for no good reason.

After that play Zeller went to the bench and never entered the game again, kind of sniffling on the bench. I sure hope he's ok.

Posted by: NASTAR99 | Mar 27, 2014 12:48:04 AM

HEEEY CODY.....YOU OKAY?!?!?!?

Posted by: NASTAR99 | Mar 27, 2014 1:04:20 AM

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