Veteran Spurs Too Professional for Bobcats


Oh, to be a Spurs fan.  Year after year of professional execution on and off the court: drafting top European talent in later rounds, finding NCAA collegiate castoffs, under-paying for overlooked role players and retaining homegrown stars.  It was that dedication to excellence, to the minutia of the game, that defeated an otherwise solid effort by the Bobcats 95-91 Monday night in Charlotte.  ‘Cats fall to 1-6, Spurs move to 5-1.

AP Recap | Box Score


  • Gary Neal is this year’s George Hill. Fifteen points in fourteen minutes on five three pointers, the 26 year old “rookie” from B-more via Europe killed the Bobcats this evening from beyond the arc.  Neal set up camp outside and never hesitated, often finding himself wide open until Charlotte decided to cover him in the 4th.  Too late.  Neal and Manu Ginobili were the difference makers in this one, combining for 10 threes and total of 41 points.
  • Manu is back. Ginobili looked like his old self, leaving his man in a trail of screens and ferreting himself free for numerous putbacks and second chance opportunities.  Combined with the outstanding depth of quality youngsters on the roster (Neal, Hill, Splitter, Blair, Anderson), a healthy Manu might keep the Spurs’ title window open for yet another season.  They look good.
  • Stephen Jackson is on the Verge.  If I’m Larry Brown, I’m putting a call into the highest levels of the League Office.  The refs have been openly baiting Jackson for an ejection all season.  Tonights 4 free throw attempts were JAX’s first in three games and he should’ve had at least a half dozen more.  I swear I’m not being a homer, the no-calls are near egregious and it is only a matter of time until Jackson has some sort of mental breakdown either on the court or off.  You can see it in his body language.  Something is brewing and the officials know it.
  • Both Jackson and Gerald Wallace were held out of the game late.  Jackson didn’t seem hurt but Wallace left in the third with an undisclosed injury.  Brown may have pulled JAX simply for his performance: another 6 Turnovers for Stephen to add to his 3.5/game average.  Again, the refs agenda seems to have distracted him to the point were he’s openly forcing passes and dribble drives that aren’t there.
  • Nice games by Tyrus Thomas, Boris Diaw and Gana Diop. Tyrus continues to hustle on every play, blocking shots and going for loose balls.  His skill level is still low but you gotta love the effort.  Diaw looked good again despite the added bulk, going for 15pts, 6rbs, 5asts.  Let’s hear it for Gana Diop! He’s gone from being an absolute joke and salary cap albatross to “an overpaid backup center.”  Gana really defended Tim Duncan well during his 15 minutes of action, looking much more fluid and mobile this year and while he’s no Brook Lopez offensively, he’s not killing the team on that end anymore.  Those fortunate enough to watch the game may have witnessed Gana’s first (and possibly last) turnaround fadeaway twelve footer from the block.  Nothin’ but net.

Yeah, the Bobcats are 1-6 but I’m still not panicking.  One through twelve, the roster has never been as solid and I have to believe that Brown and MJ are working the phones to upgrade the PG position soon.  Nothing against D.J. — he’s doing as well as we could have hoped — but he’s simply not the long term answer at the most important position on the floor.  ‘Cats are much better than their record and I fully expect them to make the Playoffs come April.

Until Next Time…Enjoy the Loss Bobcats Fans,


Wallace, Diaw, Bobcats Defense Dominate Spurs


Charlotte Bobcats vs Spurs 1/15/10

6 Straight Wins At Home

The Charlotte Bobcats defeated the San Antonio Spurs, 92-76, on Friday night at the Cable Box for their record sixth straight home win.  The Cats improve to 18-19 overall and 15-4 at home.  AP recap here, box score here.

This game was close and rather ugly for two-and-a-half quarters.  In a role reversal, though, it felt as if the Spurs were the team that was really working hard to stay close, while the Bobcats seemed to be sizing their opponent up.  Tim Duncan, who I expected to be fresh after sitting out the second night of a back-to-back earlier this week, might as well have sat out again tonight.  He looked to be playing at about 60%, and looked so slow and unengaged at times that I have to wonder if there isn’t some undisclosed injury.  Or is Duncan just running on fumes in general?

Anyways, midway through the third quarter, the Bobcats stepped up the defense.  Check out the play-by-play: after a Tony Parker layup with 6:16 left in the third quarter, the Bobcats would hold the Spurs to just 3 free throws and no field goals for over 9 minutes — well into the fourth quarter.  Over that stretch the Cats were able to get to the rim and open up a double-digit lead that they wouldn’t surrender the rest of the way.

It was truly an impressive stretch, with the Cats forcing turnovers, blocking and harassing shots, and generally dominating things.  It was shocking to watch the Spurs lose their composure as the game slipped away from them.  At one point early in the fourth quarter, Popovich furiously called a full timeout after a Boris Diaw layup.  Less than 90 seconds later he was furiously calling another after a Gerald Wallace layup.  With 5:28 left and the Bobcats up 15, Pop pulled his starters and conceded.

Boris Diaw had one of his best games of the year with 26 points (10-14 FG, 4-4 3PT), 11 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals.  Boris’s lack of production this year has generated much wringing of hands among Bobcats fans, with some wondering whether Stephen Jackson’s arrival had rendered Boris’s strengths superfluous.  But Larry Brown has made it a point recently to get Boris involved, and it seems to have worked.

Though Boris was the big story and high scorer, I actually thought that Gerald Wallace dominated the game.  He went for 21 points (9-14 FG), 7 rebounds and 3 assists; on the defensive end he tallied an insane 4 steals and 5 blocks.  He was the main fly in the ointment (or glitch in the matrix, if you’d rather) for the Spurs’ offense tonight.  Tim Duncan, in particular, couldn’t be blamed for seeing Wallace in his nightmares for awhile.


  • Decent crowd tonight that got pretty loud during the game-clinching stretch run.  Get on the bandwagon, everybody!
  • Cable Box WiFi was on point tonight, so my Twitter game was pretty strong.
  • Gerald, just kinda talk about how awesome you were tonight…
  • The Bobcats will get a chance to get to .500 on Saturday night (7PM ET start) against the Phoenix Suns, who will also be on the second night of a back-to-back.  There’s no TV, so get down to the Cable Box.

-Dr. E

Baseline Observations : Spurs vs Bobcats 1.19.09


Emeka Okafor and his best dunk ever

San Antonio Spurs defeat the Charlotte Bobcats 86 – 84 at Time Warner Cable Arena.  Standard Recap and Box info. While it’s tough to see the Bobcats lose a close one at home, several big picture positives were realized with this game.  

First, it was a great atmosphere for a basketball game.  The Bobcats once again hosted the Spurs for the Martin Luther King Jr. Day matinee.   A solid crowd of near 16,000 in the house kept the energy up for all four quarters.  It was nice to see so many families taking in a game.  Going to NBA games was certainly one of my favorite things to do when I was younger, so it’s never bad to see a load of QC kids having the chance to enjoy a pro ball game (and a day out of school).  Usually, there’s little applause for the announcement of the opposing starting five, but the Spurs got a lot of respect from the Charlotte fans.  Tim Duncan brought plenty of fans out, even a few decked in Wake Forest gear.  Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili were recognized, as well.  Still, Cats sympathizers were quick to get loud as thing heated up late in the first half.  That crowd buzz held steady up until the final second.  The vibe of the arena really showed that the Bobcats actually have a solid and growing fan base.  They may not be packing the house, but the basketball fans will start lining up in the coming seasons.

Secondly, the deal for Diop was necessary.  While Desagana might not be Dwight Howard, the Bobcats can’t take over a physical game without the opportunity at an oversized line up.  The Spurs didn’t dominate the paint, because all of the Bobcats were hanging out there.  That just happened to leave key shooters open on the perimeter for huge stretches.  If the Cats had a dependable big man to pair with Okafor and hold things down around the rim, Diaw, Bell, or Wallace would have a much easier time staying put on their assignment.  That’s not saying the Spurs aren’t an incredible team when it comes to ball movement.  The fourth quarter simply showed that the Bobcats would benefit from presenting different looks and matches on the defense end.  As a whole they play well as a unit, but with only one set of pieces any good team will figure out a way to create and exploit mismatches.

Lastly, the Bobcats are playing like a relevant basketball team.  The roster is now full of professionals and they play like it.  For fans, it’s almost time to expect something from them.  They tipped off today’s game riding a three game win streak and held tight with San Antonio until the buzzer.  Gerald Wallace missed two opportunities for “game changing” plays, but Emeka enthused the crowd with his career highlight dunk (see image above) on Tim Duncan during the Cats’ huge third quarter burst.  Larry Brown is getting the team in the right direction.  These days, they have a shot to pull out a win on nearly anyone in the league (except Cleveland).


Loose Notes:

Larry Brown may have executed one of his more “professional” maneuvers by getting called for a tech just as the second quarter ended.  Technical fouls aren’t always a mistake.  Often, coaches can get a tech or even get tossed in an effort to motivate their team.  In this case, it could be understood that Larry Brown drew the technical to make the referee crew discuss the game a bit more thoroughly during halftime.  Leading up to the technical foul call was an incredibly physical second quarter.  During this stretch, each team seemed to get burnt by non-calls.  Referee Eli Roe (#64) had an off-game and made several bad calls or created excuse calls when he had missed one.  An obvious example was a play where Tim Duncan jumped to take a shot, pulled his shot down and jump to take another.  Clearly, that just looks weird for anyone watching basketball and Eli Roe blew a whistle.  After a pause, he pointed to the nearest Bobcat and then called a jump-ball.  This was like watching Shannon Brown try to run the point, it was just a poor performance on the court.  The officiating really tightened up after the half and perhaps the refs had a chance to discuss how to handle things as a crew during the break.  Maybe this was Larry’s intention?

Final Note:

Boris Diaw is a great addition to this team.  He’s unselfish and exciting to watch.  He really could be a fan favorite by the end of the season.  If he could have hit that 3 pointer to win the game, he would have breezed to the top of the fan favs.  The crew at the team store just might have been working overtime to make enough #32 jerseys to meet the wave of demand.