Bobcats got "Brow" beaten...pun intended
I was in attendance for the Cats vs. Suns game off of the free tickets given away at last Friday's game. Now, I tried to get the Cats Crazies back together which, at first, looked like it would be easy to do. Why? The arena looked fairly empty as tip off time neared. Well, as game time rolled around, the arena was actually fairly full, especially for a Wednesday. The game tipped off and we were underway. Biggest standout for the first half was lack of communication on the floor. They looked like...well...last year's team. They were not switching on defense, not rebounding, and on most of the Suns possessions, someone was wide open for an easy shot. Coach Dunlap must have had one heck of a halftime speech as none of the team emerged from the locker room for warming up until about 2:30 was left on the clock. Whatever got said worked, and worked quite well. The team was active on both ends of the floor. They roared back, and the loss that they suffered was not for lack of playing their hearts out during the second half.
If you follow us on Twitter, you might have noticed some of my comments about things that were different from the first game of the season. Game one, the Bobcats did not follow shots, they had very few second chance points, and just barely came away with a win. Wednesday night, after that first half, the Cats came into the game with what I had expected to see. There was hustle. There was attacking offense and defense. The team played aggressively, following shots, grabbing rebounds, and playing TougherFasterStronger. They were fun to watch. The fourth quarter had me on my feet, going CatsCrazy on my own. I could hear other Crazies in their sections, shouting it out as well. The arena was into the game and the team was feeding off of that energy. We might have lost, but if they 2 halves of basketball like we played the second half of this game, we'll be walking away with several wins tonight.
Byron Mullens gets the Trade Street Post game-breaker award with his 6 3-pointers on the night. I will have to give Michael Kidd-Gilchrist an honorable mention though. I'm seeing out of him what I think will become some superstar play. He scored 2 shots in the paint, while absorbing a good bit of contact. One was an and-1 opportunity that he cashed in on. There was a block that MKG had where I could hear the ball squeal as it was blocked on the backboard. MKG is going to be special. Tonight's game is starting, so keep reading for tonight's recap.
I really had to sit for a few minutes and calm down. We're 1-3 now. It's an 82-game season and we are 1-3. It's no big deal, but I have to say that there are so many things that are good...and bad.
Tonight's game was much like the Suns game. We had players following shots and some shots were falling for some players. Jeff Taylor, congratulations for your first points of your NBA career. Also, great work on defense. Yes...I said it...good work on defense. He was one of the few that was actually playing defense. Too bad we didn't see more of you. Instead, we got to see Tyrus Thomas. Not the Tyrus Thomas that would be athletic and dunk, hit shots from his "kill spots", and play really good defense...no he wasn't there. Also, the stomach-ulcer stricken Tyrus from last season didn't show up tonight either. We've got this sick, twisted version of Tyrus that is a mix of the 2 players. Tyrus-stein is what we get...absent for 10 plays then 2 blocks in a row...or perhaps he utterly fails to play defense and then nails a "kill spot" shot. Then on the following possession, he receives a pass under the basket, and instead of a head fake and a dunk, we get 3 head fakes, a weak lay-up attempt that fails, and no points are scored. Yeah, I was giving him a chance. Maybe more of a Tyrus shows up, but I doubt it. I'm looking for a vet to play real PF right now and praying that he gets amnestied this summer. Maybe someone would take him off our hands for a washing machine and a pack of Twizzlers (Thanks Tyler). At any rate, he and Gana can hold down the end of the bench and play Uno, or any other game of choice, and never don a Bobcats uniform again, and it wouldn't hurt my feelings 1 bit.
I think I covered that part well enough, so let me move on.
I'm a positive guy. I love my Bobcats. I suppose it's time for some tough love for the team...and the fans. Let me start with the fans...or bloggers...or critics. I'm not really sure what to call you guys who follow the Bobcats on Facebook and Twitter, and can only provide smart comments that noting more than cheap shots at the team. If you don't care, waste your time elsewhere. We've been blown out 1 time in 4 games this season. New team, new season, so don't go there. Don't complain about defense when our starting SG, who is known for his defense, and our starting Center are not playing in the game. We have played 4 games. I think that's a bit early to hang up an 82-game season, and just for the record, don't expect playoffs this year. Expect MKG to learn the NBA style of the game. Expect Jeff Taylor to show us that he's a quick learner and will fit into the NBA VERY nicely. Expect Kemba Walker to have a much better season than last year, but DO NOT EXPECT PLAYOFFS. Those hopes are too high. We'll lose games this year, but we will compete. Learn to look for the positives and not just the score.
Bobcats, it's your turn. Don't expect to win games when you don't play defense. The best defense is not to let uncovered 3-pointers to be shot. Good defense is not to have all 5 guys chase the ball around. You do that and there are at least 3 open shooters. Hopefully you're reading this and you can apologize to the fans watching. I can do my best to talk you guys up, but I need some support here. Biz, Kemba, Taylor, Gillie; you guys are showing improvement with every game. Mullens, you look better, but when shots aren't falling, I expect to see you in the paint, posting up, and getting the points in the paint. Steve Martin said if you're 7FT, you're born with 5 rebounds. I think you should also be born with at least 10 points in the paint. Keep that one in mind. I love what I'm seeing from Sessions, Gordon, Haywood, and that's about it. Hendo, I can't wait to get you back. You seem to be the glue for the starters, and they are missing you...so are they. Reggie Williams, you've yet to show me why you're still with us. You're great off of the bench, but I'm not seeing the 3-pointers and athleticism that I thought was what landed you here. Cory Higgins; you're here because of Rod Higgins. Your departure will prove that Cho is truly in control. Can't have family on your own team. You were a great college player, but your game does not translate into the NBA. A stint in the D-League may help. I really can't dish on anyone else right now. I need to actually recap the game, but I had to get all of that out first.
OK, back to the game recap...for those that are still with me.
Like I said, it was pretty much like the Suns game. We show up in spurts, score some points and play defense at times. More often than not, we are chasing the ball around and 2-3 players are left open for shots. When it's a player like Ryan Anderson, it results in 5 3-pointers going in. That can't keep happening. I don't understand why the pick-and-roll defense is so sloppy. Gillie is busting his tail out there and so is Bismack, so, I hope it becomes contagious as the season progresses. Even Taylor-Made was causing a good bit of defensive problems for the Hornets. Jeff's a specialist in that area, and look for that to continue to get better. It's just too hard for our Bobcats to trade 2s for 3s, and we seem to do that a good bit. Better defense and more points in the paint would make a world of defense. In the loss tonight, we only had 4 players in double figures. Gordon had 34, Sessions had 13, Gillie had 12pts, 6 rebs, 2 steals, 3 blocks, and Kemba had 11pts and 6 assists. Problem with this stat line is that our bench outscored our starters. You take it where you can get it, but we need the 1st and second units playing all-out in order to win games.
I have to dish the Trade Street Post Game-breaker award to Ben Gordon. Tonight's 34 point, 6rebs, and 4 assists are just what the doctor ordered. Not only did he hit 67% of his shots, he was doing it with ease. If we can get 2-3 of the first unit scoring like that, then we will be a dangerous team. I'd like to also thank Ben for flushing Sean May from the Bobcats record book. Ben now holds the record for most points for a guy coming off of the bench. He erased Sean's 32. Thank you.
Honorable mention goes to Jeff Taylor. Tonight he looked to be "getting comfortable" in the NBA. He finished the night with 7 points, and he kept his man in check on defense. He's only going to get better. Welcome to the NBA Taylor-Made.
I know that Dunlap will get this all sorted out and this is just the beginning of the season. Don't give up on these Bobcats. Fans, we have lots of exciting basketball to see, and in 2-3 years, you'll see that perennial playoff team that they are building down on Trade Street.
Sorry for the rant, but sometimes you just have to get everyone's attention and say HEY!
Goodnight Cats Crazies!