Bobcats Turn Home Opener Over To Pacers


AP/Chuck Burton

The Charlotte Bobcats dropped their home opener 104-101 to the Indiana Pacers on Friday night.  The Cats led most of the game, and by 5 with 3:18 left, but crumbled after that.  Both DJ Augustin and Stephen Jackson got decent looks at potentially game-tying 3s on the last possession, but neither found the mark.

AP Recap |  Box Score

There were multiple problems down the stretch.  The Cats had several fourth-quarter turnovers.  With 3 minutes left, Gana Diop got stuck on Danny Granger after a screen; Granger nailed a 3 (his sixth of the game) and goaded Diop into a soft foul for a 4 point play.  DJ Augustin couldn’t contain TJ Ford on the pick-and-roll.  Gerald Wallace missed two free throws.  And Tyler Hansbrough, of all people, scored the last four clutch points for the Pacers.

This is the kind of game that the Bobcats won last year.  At home, against a team of the Pacers caliber, they would have put the hammer down in the fourth quarter — instead they gave up 31 points in the last 12 minutes (not to mention 104 overall).  At the very least, last year’s Bobcats would have made a big play or two in cruchtime to eke out the win.

But this year’s edition of the Bobcats is not as tough defensively with DJ on the court, and isn’t getting the decent play from the center platoon that it did last year.  Those issues aren’t surprising; but one thing we hadn’t predicted was Stephen Jackson’s slow start.

Following his lackluster performance Wednesday night against the Mavs, Jack got into early foul trouble against the Pacers, limiting his first half minutes.  In the second half, he still couldn’t really get anything going.  Jack finished with just 10 points on 4-13 FG (0-3 3pt), though he did add 6 rebounds and 6 assists.  It’s not clear what the problem is, if there’s a problem at all.

Maybe it’s the ankle he tweaked earlier this week in practice.  Maybe the threat of quick technicals is mellowing his harsh.  Whatever it is, let’s hope that Jack breaks out of his funk Saturday night in Milwaukee.


  • As expected, the Bobcats exercised their team options for next year on DJ Augustin and Gerald Henderson, as per their rookie scale contracts.
  • Nice tidbit from Bonnell: Time Warner Cable, the predominant cable supplier in the Charlotte area and naming-rights sponsor of the arena, will be adding the HD version of SportSouth in the coming weeks so that fans can watch the Bobcats in HD.  Of course, it’s ludicrous that this wasn’t in place weeks ago; but for a franchise that’s still digging out from the curse of C-SET, we’ll take what we can get.
  • Next game: Saturday night in Milwaukee, 8:30 PM ET start.  Go Cats.

Bobcats vs. Pacers Preview


The home opener has arrived!  After dropping the season opener to the Mavs in Dallas in Wednesday night, the Charlotte Bobcats will be taking on the Indiana Pacers on Friday night at Time Warner Cable Arena, aka The Cable Box.  Tipoff is at 7:00 PM ET.

The Pacers come in also 0-1 after losing 122-109 in San Antonio on Wednesday night, despite Roy Hibbert’s big  28/9/3/3 statline.  The Pacers start new addition Darren Collison at the point, Mike Dunleavy and Danny Granger on the wings, and Josh McRoberts and the aforementioned Hibbert on the blocks.  Lottery pick Paul George, veteran James Posey, and onetime Bobcat trade target TJ Ford are also in the rotation.  Meanwhile, former Tarheel favorite Tyler “Psycho-T” Hansbrough pulled a DNP-CD in the Pacers opener.

The Pacers don’t play much D, so look for the Bobcats to get some offense going.  I’d like to see Jack have a big night against Dunleavy, in particular — especially because he was quiet in the opener and finished that game on the bench.

When the Bobcats are on defense, I’d watch out for the Augustin/Collison matchup.  Collison is one of the faster points in the league, the kind that DJ struggles to stay in front of.

More links:

Dr. E’s Twitter (I’ll be tweeting live from the game) preview

Observer preview

8 points, 9 seconds (Pacers blog)

Bobcats Score Solid Win Over Pacers


Charlotte Bobcats vs. Pacers, 11/22/09

Home Sweet Home

The Bobcats (4-9) end a 7-game losing streak with a win over the Pacers, 104-88, on Sunday evening at the Cable Box.  AP recap here, box score here, Bonnell story here.  The Cats opened up a slight lead towards the end of the first quarter and never trailed again versus a Pacers squad that just couldn’t get any flow going.

The cynic’s take on this game would be that the Pacers were on the road, don’t play much defense to begin with, were trying to work Troy Murphy and Jeff Foster back into the rotation, and generally had an off night.  The optimist’s take would be that this is exactly how the Bobcats have to play in order to seriously challenge for a spot in the playoffs — and we’re going to see more of it now that Stephen Jackson is settling in.

The truth, as per usual, is somewhere in between.  The Pacers shoot a lot of threes, and didn’t make many tonight (Granger, Rush and Murphy were a combined 4-17).  But the rest of the Pacers poor play was due, in large part, to the Bobcats strong defense.  Stephen Jackson, Gerald Wallace, Derrick Brown and Steven Graham did a great job of hounding Danny Granger all night.  In fact, Dahntay Jones ended up taking the most shots for the Pacers, which is about the equivalent of Raymond Felton leading the Bobcats in field goal attempts.

The Bobcats were led on offense not by Stephen Jackson, playing his first game in Charlotte, but by old man Nazr Mohammed.  Mohammed beasted it for 18 points on 8-10 FG and 2-4 FT, 5 rebounds, 2 steals and 2 blocks — in 18 minutes.  If there were some sort of NBA equivalent to the NFL’s QB efficiency rating stat, Nazr’s would be astronomical for the night.

5 other guys also hit double figures for the Bobcats in a well-rounded team effort: Gerald Wallace (11 pts/11 rebs), Boris Diaw (17 pts on 8-13 FG), Stephen Jackson (11 pts/7 rebs) and Derrick Brown (13 pts on 5-7 FG).  Wait, who?

Rookie Derrick Brown logged 24 minutes, the most of his young career, and responded magnificently.  He also added 4 rebs and 2 steals, one of which was an one-on-one rip of Granger in the backcourt that Brown took in for a breakaway dunk (it is included in the highlights above).  I’m not sure what Brown is doing to endear himself to Larry Brown so much, but we can only hope that Gerald Henderson is taking notes.

Small Plates…

  • Steven Graham had some nice minutes in the second half, playing tough D on Granger and posting a perfect night shooting: 3-3 FG and 2-2 FT for 8 points.
  • Tyson Chandler did not play due to back spasms.  As mentioned above, Nazr played 18 minutes, so the rest of the game the Cats went small with Boris effectively playing center.
  • Tyler Hansbrough seemed to be a big draw, as attendance was better than I thought it would be, and he got a big ovation when he checked in for the first time.  He looks like an able replacement for Jeff Foster.
  • Roy Williams was in the “Bob Johnson” midcourt-courtside seats.  He, Jordan and Sam Perkins held a Tarheel reminiscing session over by the Bobcats bench during halftime.  Many more people watched this than Rufus’s corny halftime magic show.
  • In 13 games, the Bobcats have had 8 different leading scorers — I doubt there’s another team in the league even close to that.
  • Next game is a Thanksgiving Eve tilt with the visiting Raptors at 7 PM ET at the Cable Box.  Should be interesting, as the Raps and Cats are like bizarro versions of each other (the Raps are first in the league in offensive efficiency and last in the league in defensive efficiency).

-Dr. E

Charlotte Bobcats NBA Draft Preview: Part 3



In Part 2, I talked about some strategy that the Bobcats could possibly use in making the 12th pick and made some generalizations about which players may or may not be available at #12.  In Part 3, I’ll go into more detail about the players that are likely to be available to the Bobcats at pick #12.

A quick review: There are eight guys who will definitely be gone: Blake Griffin, Hasheem Thabeet, Ricky Rubio, James Harden, Tyreke Evans, Stephen Curry, Jordan Hill and DeMar DeRozan.

Then there are three guys who will probably be gone: Jrue Holiday, Jonny Flynn and Brandon Jennings.  In this point-guard heavy draft, these guys have been searching for a safety in the mid-to-late lottery.  In Chad Ford’s latest Mock Draft, he has them going in the 8-11 range.  But with the Nets at #11 supposedly in need of a big (and with this draft being described as underwhelming and unpredictable in general) I think there is a small, but not irrelevant, chance that one of these guys could be available to the Bobcats at #12.

Could the Bobcats use a lottery pick on a point guard who didn’t work out for them for a second year in a row?  I suppose anything is possible (especially with Jordan and Brown making the pick) but have to guess that they wouldn’t.  With the Bobcats having been pretty clear that they intend to keep Raymond Felton and DJ Augustin, point guard is a relative strength on our roster.  We have other needs that are more important.

Lets turn our eyes to the players that we’re pretty sure will be available at #12:  Gerald Henderson, Terrence Williams, Earl Clark, Austin Daye, Jeff Teague, DeJuan Blair, Eric Maynor, Tyler Hansbrough, James Johnson, BJ Mullens, Ty Lawson, DaJuan Summers and Sam Young.

To cull the list even more, we’ll strike Young, Summers and Johnson — #12 is just too much of a reach for these guys.  I’ll also strike Teague, Maynor and Lawson because they’re all pure point guards.  Mullens is intriguing, but one 7-foot-plus project on the roster (Ajinca) is enough — off the list.

I’ll strike Hansbrough for a couple of reasons: one, the Bobcats can’t be eager to reinforce the perception that they’re actually the Charlotte Tar Heels; and two, they have to be wary of a white player who was dominant in college, but has questionable athleticism for the NBA (coughAdamMorrisoncough).  James Johnson is out of the discussion; he did work out for the Bobcats, but is an out-of-shape forward tweener who has no buzz going right now.  (Update: as I prepared to post this, just saw Bonnell’s blog post from tonight which informs us that Johnson is coming back for a second look on Wednesday.)

DeJuan Blair is intriguing, as the Bobcats have a need for depth at the power forward position.  However, he’s a relatively unathletic rebounding specialist who relies on a wide frame to grab those rebounds, has played at a heavy weight, and has known knee issues.  Sounds a little too close to Sean May for me.

Austin Daye is an interesting talent; everyone compares him to Tayshaun Prince and the feeling is that he’ll be picked somewhere in the middle of the first round.  But he’s extremely weak and a little raw for the NBA.  In a few years he might make a good hybrid forward, but the Bobcats need help now at other positions — off the list.

Earl Clark is the first guy on the list that I think the Bobcats could potentially pick at #12.  He’s a long, athletic forward who’s similar to, but more ready to contribute than, Austin Daye.  Clark is most often compared to Lamar Odom, as opposed to Tayshaun Prince, to give you an idea of the slight difference between Daye and Clark.  Clark is just the kind of player whom Brown likes, and would only be a minor reach at #12.

Now we get to the two guys who are obviously at the top of the Bobcats draft board: Gerald Henderson and Terrence Williams.  The Bobcats invited these two back for a second look on Monday with Micheal Jordan in the house to observe.  Here’s the breakdown for these two.

Gerald Henderson played three years at shooting guard for Duke.  He goes 6’5″ and 215 pounds.  He increased his scoring average from 6.8 to 12.7 to 16.5 ppg over his three years at Duke.  He is considered a pure shooting guard, with tremendous athleticism and an improving outside stroke.  He plays great defense, and seems ready to contribute right off the bat.  Here’s video of Henderson after the workout, with some comments from Larry Brown towards the end.

Terrence Williams played four years at shooting guard at Louisville.  He goes 6’6″ and 215 pounds.  He averaged 8 points as a freshman, then 12, 11 and 12 his last three years of college.  That stagnation is probably the biggest concern on Williams’ resume (the other is his, ahem, eccentricity).  While he’s clearly a shooting guard, he’s considered more versatile than Henderson.  Williams has better ballhandling ability, is a better passer and can probably play a little small forward in a small lineup.  Similar to Henderson, he’s considered a great defender and will likely be ready to contribute in his first year.  Here’s video of Williams from the workout.

Here’s a great breakdown by on the shooting guards in this draft, with a bunch of great info and statistical analysis that helps to differentiate between Henderson and Williams.  Rumor has it that Williams really impressed Larry Brown at the workout, met with team officials afterwards, then pulled out of a Tuesday workout in New Jersey with Henderson, Hansbrough, etc.

So as I wrap this up on Tuesday night, all signs are pointing to Terrence Williams as being the guy as long as the Bobcats don’t trade the pick.  Seems like Williams would be OK with it.  Hell, judging by the interest he had in Jordan’s gear at Monday’s workout, he may even pay Michael to wear Jordans.



Chad Ford’s At It Again


We Should All Hope That Ford's Theory Works
We Should All Hope That Ford’s Theory Works

Many of you non-“ESPN Insiders” out there may have missed Chad Ford’s recent pump-and-dump Combine Stock update (Insider only) of Tyler Hansbrough.

In his update you’ll find such gems as:

Hansbrough measured a legit 6-foot-8¼ in socks and 6-9½ in shoes. He also had a surprising 6-11½ wingspan and a standing reach of 8-10 — one inch better than Blake Griffin.

Professor Ford does his best with nuggets like these to sell us on the theory that since “Psycho T” has a similar wingspan, height and standing jump as many other established NBA players and top prospects, he will no doubt be equally as good.

If Ford’s Theory proves to be true, then this is really great news for the rest of us.
For instance:

1. My wife is 5’3″, which is the same height as Muggsy Bogues.  So there’s a good chance that she’ll be electrifying NBA crowds with a stellar 2:1 assist to turnover ratio for over 10 NBA seasons.  GREAT!  No more work for me!  I’ll quit and become her agent!  We’ll be like the Christies!!!

2. Speaking of agents, my buddy Greg is Jewish with similar male pattern baldness as Jeremy Piven.  He’s looking for a career change.  He’s the next Ari Gold!  Woo-Hoo!

3. My in-laws have a minivan that runs on fossil fuels which is the same fossil fuel used to power Formula 1 and Nascar vehicles.  YEE-HAW!  See you suckers at Le Mans!

The possibilities are endless.  I just want to extend Professor Ford thanks in advance if and when this new theory proves correct.  You’re the best Chad!

Oh, and btw, I think I speak for everyone when I say that EVERY BOBCATS FAN’S WORST CASE SCENARIO is:

With the 12th selection in the 2009 NBA draft, the Charlotte Bobcats select…Tyler Hansbrough, the University of North Carolina.