Bobcats Baseline Observations from the Home Opener:
1. G-Force is no joke. Wallace was at his best again with 34pts, 9 boards and 3 blocks. Two of the blocks were monstrous, the first a complete disrespect of Chris Quinn and the second a devastating “Welcome to the NBA” rejection of Michael Beasley. Even with Dwayne Wade suited up for the Heat, Wallace was the best player on the court tonight for either team. He changed the game at both ends of the floor. This all begs the question: Why were the ‘Cats shopping him so hard this offseason?
2. Speaking of Beasley, this kid is a serious talent. He pretty much makes Shawn Marion expendable today. Beasley’s range goes out close to the 3-point line and he’s got a silky, confident shot between 16-20 feet. He’s energetic and plays decent defense. Tonight he notched 25pts on 10-16 shooting. Not bad for a 19 year old rookie.
3. Coach Brown’s message finally sunk in. Larry Brown has been pleading with his team all preseason about getting close range shots and making the other team earn it on the defensive end. Tonight the ‘Cats listened and converted on 54% of their shots. Countless times we witnessed JRICH or GFORCE taking the extra pass and driving hard to the basket for the score or for the dish off to Emeka for the easy bucket. Great news all around as this really opened up the outside game for the ‘Cats and tired the Heat defense as it was supposed to. Nice to see the team change so dramatically in just three days and here’s hoping that the lesson sticks.
4. Emeka Okafor looked good. I don’t know if he was $72million good but he did get 18pts/13boards (5 offensive) on 7-9 shooting and made a few free throws to boot. If he can net 16pts/13boards/2blks a game for the season, he might just be able to justify the massive contract he signed in the offseason.
5. DJ Augustin still thinks America is tuning in to “THE DJ AUGUSTIN SHOW.” Okay, so he’s a rookie and I’m sure he won’t be this terrible forever but for the second straight game DJ was under the impression that he was the second coming of Kobe Bryant and hoisted up shot after errant shot. He had two nice scoop-to-the-hoop buckets midway through the game but that was it. He’s gotta understand that his job as a PG is to distribute the ball and find one of his shooters/scorers to keep them in rhythm. I understand why Coach Brown is playing him so much–nobody on this team can get to the rim like DJ–I just hope that the kid figures it out quick.
6. Dwayne Wade gets every call. No need to elaborate. Just see NBA Finals: Mavs vs. Heat 3 years ago.
7. Packed house tonight. Nice to see all of Charlotte get involved and make it out to the game. Most of the fans even stayed until the final buzzer. Nice! Also, a shout-out to Michael Jordan who not only sat on the Bobcats bench during the whole game BUT ALSO invited his buddy Charles Oakley to hang as an enforcer. I think backup PF Andre Brown channeled some of the Oak Tree’s thug-energy and distributed it out on the court in his productive minutes during the second and third quarters.
8. Speaking of Brown, interesting rotation by Larry Brown tonight. We got heaping doses of Shannon Brown (13 mins) and Adam Morrison (17 mins) but no Matt Carroll or Nazr Mohammed (DNP-CD). I’m wondering what they are doing with Morrison early this season–are they playing him to up his trade value or seriously just playing him. His defense is getting better (he doesn’t look nearly as overmatched as he did in his first season) and he makes smart plays off the ball on the offensive end. Coach Brown encourages him constantly from the sidelines. It’ll be interesting to see if Carroll or Morrison is shipped off at some point during the season.
9. Jared Dudley. Good move by Coach Brown. Jared was his usual working-man self, hustling after loose balls and hitting all the open shots that he was supposed to hit. I really like this lineup.
10. Bobcats Baseline Alum “E.” E’s season tix are OFF THE CHAIN!!! Nice work E, I guess that’s one of the payoffs from doing 10 years in med school.
ENJOY THE WIN, ‘CATS FANS.