1. Bobcats lose 90-85 to the visiting Magic tonight, dropping to 3-6 in the process. AP story here, box score here. The two storylines to the game are encapsulated by the picture choices above.
2. Same starting lineup tonight as on Friday night: Felton, Carroll, Wallace, May, Okafor. May only played 13 minutes though – he still has a lot of rust to knock off.
3. The Cats played excellent defense in the first half – in particular, the rotations were crisp and aggressive, and Okafor did a nice job on Howard. Emeka emphatically blocked one of Superman’s short hook attempts in a reversal of their usual roles. Pietrus and Lewis kept Orlando afloat, while Wallace paced the Bobcats. Morrison had back-to-back crowd-pleasing 3 pointers early in the second quarter, while Felton and Wallace connected on a great alley-oop later on to keep the buzz going. 43-38 Cats at the break.
4. The good defense on Howard would continue the rest of the evening, as he ended the game with only 4 points – all on free throws. That’s right – not one field goal for D-Ho. Pretty amazing. Additionally, the Bobcats attacked him on the other end and kept him in foul trouble all night. Despite the officials best attempts to observe the superstar code with Howard, he eventually fouled out with a few minutes left in the game. Line: 26 mins, 4 points on 0-3 FG, 4-6 FT, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, 5 blocks. OK, so he still contributed with those “hustle stats”, but overall you’re never going to see that poor of a game from D-Ho again.
5. On the other hand, the Bobcats had no answer for Hedo Turkoglu in the second half. With Gerald Wallace occupied with Rashard Lewis most of the night, and Larry Brown desperate for an offensive spark, Adam Morrison spent a lot of time at the other forward spot guarding Turkoglu. Turkoglu ended with “just” 20 points on 6-15 FG (8-9 FT), but for much of the second half, he just owned Morrison on both ends of the floor. Tough matchup for Morrison, as he can usually make up for his lack of speed/quickness with his height/length; but Turkoglu at 6’10” negates that.
6. Would’ve been nice to have had J-Rich tonight, as the Bobcats just couldn’t get any sustained offensive threat going. Matt Carroll was not really able to show much in the few extra minutes of PT he got tonight (or on Friday night, for that matter).
7. I hate to bring this up, because a) it’s beating a dead horse, b) it’s totally understandable, and c) I certainly don’t miss it anyways, but I have to mention that the Bobcats have not any halftime entertainment at any of the games I’ve been to. I missed the home opener, so I can’t comment on that one, but ever since they’ve just trotted out the drumline or had the dance team do a routine. No Chinese lady on a unicycle flipping bowls onto her head; no muscled up, homoerotic, balancing-on-each-other Russian male gymnasts; no frisbee-catching stunt dogs; not even any trampoline dunkers.
Tonight was actually kinda painful, as they didn’t even have the drummers or the dancers out there, and it was up to the arena announcer and cameramen to entertain. The cameramen found people wearing paraphenalia from various teams and the crowd responded accordingly (Duke = boos, UNC = cheers, Davidson = cheers, Panthers = cheers, Falcons = boos). So again, I can totally understand not paying for any visiting entertainment, and I don’t miss the local gymnastics school’s tumbling routine, but I do have to wonder: is this happening at other NBA arenas this year? Not every franchise is hurting as much as the Bobcats, right?
8. Must read link from last week that, inexplicably, I never got around to posting and commenting on. It’s from the Wages of Wins blog, commenting on the dilemma that non-stars in the NBA find themselves in, using Shannon Brown and the rest of the Bobcats as an example.
9. Latest Bobcats personnel rumor: we’re considering bringing on Jamaal Tinsley if/when he gets bought out by the Pacers. First it was Eddy Curry, then Sean Williams, now Jamaal Tinsley. I’m beginning to think that Larry Brown/Rod Higgins motto is: “Give us your tired, your poor, your huddled masses, your castoffs and ne’er-do-wells.” ‘Cept that none of these dudes are very poor.
And the best part is, to get to that rumor in the link, you have to page down past the story of Robin Lopez’s excellent showing in his first start of the season. Yep, the same Robin Lopez that the Bobcats were set to draft before cowtowing to Larry Brown’s request to pick DJ Augustin.
10. Next game: Tuesday night at home, hosting the Mavs at 7:00 to wrap up the home stand. Would it be sacrilege to bust out my Dirk jersey for this one?
UPDATE: Thanks to the commenter below for pointing out my mistake. In item #9 above, I meant Brook Lopez, not Robin.