Bobcats 101, Mavericks 97

1-16 is a really bad record. But it’s a whole heckuva lot better than 0-16.

It only took 9 years but the Bobcats have beaten every team in the NBA.

The stats lines from last night will make your eyes bleed. In a good way.

MKG: 8/12 FG, 9/10 FT, 25 PTS, 12 REB
Kemba: 10/22 FG, 6/8 FT, 26 PTS, 6 REB, 7 ASS, 8 STL

Incredible. Even Mully had 14 rebounds and “only” 9 shots. I mentioned the other night that if the Bobcats managed to get 2 guys to explode on the same night, they could win. That theory was proven last night.

Confession: I actually didn’t see this game. But a win is a win!

Hornets 107, Bobcats 99

Despite the Bobcats dropping their 3rd straight game to a mediocre team, I want to say they have gotten better. How?

When you look at the end of last year, the standard operating procedure was to show up, quickly take a knockout punch right on the chin, and promptly go away for the next 2 hours.
This team however, does not go away. It hangs around. It goes on mini-runs. One player (and only one, we’ll get to this later) gets hot and carries the team until they are right on the cusp of tying the game or even taking the lead, and then everything falls apart. That’s improvement, I suppose.
Much like Wednesday game vs. Phoenix, the Bobcats generally looked like garbage for the entire game, but somehow managed to do just enough to avoid the knockout punch. Most of this came on the back of Ben Gordon, who set a Bobcats record off the bench with 34 points on 14-21 scoring. Of course it wasn’t quite enough, as they lost by 7 again.
The biggest problem the Bobcats are suffering from this season is consistent defense. Coaches in the NBA have access to film and in general are not completely stupid, which has led to teams quickly learning how to break down the Bobcats traps & zones. And the way you break down a zone is by penetrating and moving the ball from side to side, often leading to open 3s. And that’s what has happened. Against Dallas, Vince Carter went 4-8 and OJ Mayo went 7-10. Against Phoenix, Goran Dragic went 3-6 and Shannon Brown went 6-8. Tonight, Ryan Anderson went 5-10. This inability to stop the 3 has been a significant thorn in the Bobcats’ side.
Another indicator of this is the number of assisted baskets – Dallas had 31 assists (63% of made baskets), and both Phoenix and New Orleans had 29 (67%). That’s a pretty high number.
Offensively, it was ugly, as it always is, but buoyed by one guy just completely going off. Kemba exploded against Indiana, Sessions and Mullens had really nice games against Dallas and Phoenix respectively, and Gordon was practically unstoppable tonight. The biggest problem is that there’s nobody in the post who is remotely threatening. Teams double any penetration with impunity, practically daring the Bobcats to feed the ball to Biyombo / Haywood / Diop. The other big men (Mullens, Thomas) are too in love with their jumper to be bothered to wander into the paint. Yes, it’s great when you get Mully to go 6-10 from 3, but there’s too many 0-6, 2-8, and 1-5 performances to make it a good idea long term. The team would benefit immensely if Mullens would stop shooting 3′s and go down into the mid post. He’s got a really nice turnaround jumper and decent enough hook that he could really become a weapon if he’d focus on it. Unfortunately…
Barring a significant trade, none of these things are going to change. The team is what it is. Brace yourself for a lot of 7 to 10 point losses. At least it’s not 15-20 point losses like last season.

Suns 117, Bobcats 110

I have no idea what the <censored> happened in this game. The Bobcats looked like crap until halfway through the 3rd quarter, went on a run to tie things up, then Shannon Brown decided to start jacking up ill advised 3 and went 6 for 6 in the 4th quarter and won the game pretty much all by his lonesome.

Instead of pondering this game (because it will melt your brain), I recommend watching a Craig Ferguson clip because he’s funny. It’s what I did in the first half of the game and it helped take the edge off my suicidal thoughts.

Mavericks 126, Bobcats 99

Against the Pacers, the Bobcats used the zone to throw off the Pacer offense. Tonight, the Mavericks used the Bobcats zone to destroy the Bobcats themselves.

Penetrating the zone and kicking out to open shooters who hit 16 of 25 threes, the Mavericks took control in the 3rd and never looked back.

It got so bad that Matt Carroll and Cory Higgins got in the game. Alas. Against a decent team, on the road, on the 2nd half of a back to back, reality happens.

Preseason! Detroit 85, Bobcats 80

It’s the pre-season, it doesn’t count, but here’s what I liked / did not like in the first game I got a chance to see this year. Good Things

  • Despite starting out quite in a very putrid manner, the Bobcats never gave up and went away. They chipped away at the lead, taking a small lead late in the game
  • Tyrus Thomas: 7-12, 14 points, 16 rebounds. Would be nice to get something approximating that performance every night
  • Alpha Dogs – The Bobcats have 2 guys who are not afraid to shoot – Ben Gordon and Kemba Walker. There are problems here – see the next section
  • Cory Higgins did not play
  • Defense – after giving up 30 points in the first quarter, the Pistons were held to 17, 20, 18 on 37.3% shooting. If you can hold your opponents to that, you’re going to be in the game every night.
  • 25 FTs. Can’t have too many of those
  • Turnovers – had too many, but less than their opponent
  • Ramon Sessions put in a workman life 13/6/3 in 20 minutes. I’ll take that out of a backup point guard.
Bad Things
  • Offense – 36.3% shooting. Things have not improved since last year. They look lost on the offensive end. If they are running sets, they are not crisp enough to be identified as such
  • Alpha Dogs – Walker and Gordon are not afraid to get up shots, but they went a combined 8-30. However, they were also the stimulus which got the team back in the lead late in the 4th.
  • Gana Diop played – could have been worse, he only got in for 5 minutes early on
  • Gerald Henderson – Hendo had one of those games where he disappears. 22 minutes, 6 shots, 1 make, 2 FTs, 3 rebounds, 1 steal/block. For the guy who is supposed to be the best player on the team, this is not what you want to see.

Confusing Things

  •  Somehow, Jeff Taylor was +12 or +15 in 20 minutes, even though he took and missed a single shot, had 4 rebounds, a turnover and a foul.
  • The crunch time lineup was Walker, Gordon, Sessions, Thomas, Haywood. Odd for some reason.
  • I have no clue who the starting lineup will consist of.
  • Kyle Singler does not look like a player who belongs in the NBA

Unfortunately the team doesn’t look that different from last year. What did look different was possibly the most important thing – effort. If the Bobcats went down by 20 last year, it was safe to turn off the television. In this game, they never seemed out of it, and they weren’t – they actually took a small lead towards the end of the game. This jives with what we’ve heard from the team’s front office – one that I spoke with at the open practice told me that even if the team doesn’t win a lot, it won’t be for lack of effort. Let’s hope that attitude is still in place at the end of the season.

Presser for Mike Dunlap

Stuff I noticed:

Dunlap mostly said he was going to implement an attacking style on both defense and offense.

Interesting note: Dunlap got the job offer while flying home after the interview. I guess they really like him.

Dunlap mentioned multiple times that they wanted to brand the team via it’s style of play. How many teams have notable play styles? Suns, early 2000′s Kings, Spurs (?)…

He also referenced Malcolm Gladwell (10,000 hour rule) and building pyramids. Well, at least he seems to know what he’s getting into.

He does seem to realize that the Bobcats had huge problems with guys getting easy baskets at the rim, and the Cats not getting any. That was a huge problem.

Dunlap seems to think establishing solid relationships with each player, learning about them outside of basketball. That’s good.

Dunlap mentioned that fans want to see a winning team… or at least one that plays hard.

Interesting notes about “coaching for his dinner” in Australia. Dunlap isn’t a retread, but he has been around the block a few times.

He said because he’s “older” he’s got lots of connections which should help him build a assistant coaching staff.