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.