Monday’s 118-112 OT loss at home against Portland should have been the cure – the team was up 18 with five minutes to go before the defense took a nosedive. A 100-98 home loss versus New York on Wednesday saw the Knicks give Charlotte multiple chances to close out a win before J.R. Smith nailed his beautiful buzzer beater. As for last night’s drubbing in Brew-town? Total Silas re-enactment.
Defense and turnovers are the culprits. The Cats lost the turnover battle in all three games, were out-rebounded in two of them and have created a sort of identity crisis in the process. The Mike Dunlap squad we fell in love with last month featured a team of efficient scorers and scrappy defenders. Early December’s Cats have lacked both.
Thoughts on the Week
–Roster Shakeup. After his team pooped the bed in Milwaukee, Dunlap hinted at a possible lineup change. Expect to see Gerald Henderson re-installed at the starting two – he’s looked great since coming back from the calf injury – and look for Bismack Biyombo to start at either PF or C. Byron Mullens has been killing the team on D (you could make the argument that he single handily cost them the game against Portland) and his jumpshot hasn’t been falling with any consistency all season. Put those two together and I don’t know how you keep him in the starting five. The Cats still desperately need some rebounding and offense from the other big spot; hopefully Rich Cho can find a good deal and bring one in (Pau, Jefferson, Boozer, Milsap) before it’s too late.
–Threat of the Three. Watching Milwaukee effortlessly swing the ball around, finding the open shooter and subsequently nailing three after three, I was reminded of how and why the Bobcats offense stagnates so often in the half court. When your team is built around Kemba Walker and MKG – drivers with inconsistent jumpshots – you desperately need to surround them with deadeye shooters. Last night, Jeff Taylor couldn’t hit Lake Michigan. Mullens 35-ish percent shooting doesn’t exactly instill an opposing defense with fear. Getting Henderson’s reliable jumper back will help (imagine reading that three seasons ago), but the team desperately needs a big who can provide some sort of CONSISTENT offense between the basket and the three point line without killing them on D. If that’s via trade (see above) or via another year of tanking plus the Lottery (Isaiah Austin, Cody Zeller), the Cats aren’t going anywhere near relevancy until it happens.
–The Bugs are (almost) Back and almost always Black. The New Orleans Pelicans? Sounds great! Perfect choice! Truth is, I don’t care what they call them as long as Charlotte gets the Hornets name and history back. “Bobcats” fans are few, naturally masochistic and seem to not care either way while “Hornets” fans are many and rabid. I love how the local media are spinning this “$3 million” to re-brand thing like it matters. Gana Diop will be paid twice that for this season alone. Michael Jordan spends the $3 million and he’s hailed as a bona fide HERO in Charlotte for a long time. Sure, he, Cho and Higgins have to continue the recent strong work but that’s beside the point. The Charlotte Hornets mean something to the community. The Bobcats have not and will not. It’s not the economy, it’s not ‘nostalgia’ and for Muggsy’s sakes, it’s not about race. We are NBA fans! How can anyone accuse an NBA fan of being racist!!! That’s like accusing NASCAR fans as being anti-hot wing or Chris Collinsworth of being anti-bland. 90 freakin’ percent of the people we cheer for are black! We own clothing with their names on it! We love them! Bob Johnson the person sucked, sucks currently and always will suck. Why is it important that he be deified as the next Jackie Robinson when we have a perfectly great owner (who happens to be black) NOW. Get it through your thick, agressively PC, victimizing skulls: the vast majority of NBA fans are trans-race. It’s baked into our DNA. We would rather spend time with Kobe than Coldplay. It’s a fact. Jeez.
POLL : The Right Move for Byron Mullens
- Start Him (43%, 24 Votes)
- Trade Him (39%, 22 Votes)
- Bench Him (18%, 10 Votes)
Total Voters: 56