So tonight I had the opportunity to “Shoot My Way to Houston”. I had signed up, and I honestly didn’t pay a whole lot of attention to what I was signing up for. Now, normally, I would jump at the opportunity to take to the hardwood at Time Warner Cable Arena to shoot, but on this day reality set in. It was a timed competition of dribbling, passing, lay-up, and free throw. I can do it all, but when it dawned on me that I’d be doing this against 18 and older…well…let’s just say my basketball dreams won’t hold up against kids half my age. I didn’t go…and I’m glad I didn’t because I might have missed watching the Bobcats break their losing streak tonight in Orlando. Curious as to how they did it? Keep reading
The Bobcats played the best 1st quarter I’ve seen them play in what seems like forever. We won the jump ball, scored the first shot, stole the following inbound pass and scored again. It was going to be one of those games. It was one where there was defense played. It was a game where we were getting to the foul line and hitting more than we missed. Most importantly, we saw Gerald Henderson drop 17 points in 1 half of basketball. Through the 1st quarter, we were even at 28. I’ll take it considering how far we usually fall behind in the 1st (outscored by 7.4 points on average over our losing streak).
The Bobcats came to life in the second, with great play out of pretty much everyone. I can’t fault their hustle, intensity, and willingness to dominate the leading scorers for Orlando, and get them both into foul trouble early (if you could see me, I’m pointing at “Big Baby” Davis and JJ Redick).
As we stepped into the second half, we would only see Hendo for a couple minutes, finding out that he was having lower back issues. He would not return. It was a nice half of basketball though, as he turned in 17 points, 3 rebounds, and a steal in 21 minutes. Oh to have him for the whole game and playing at that level. I’ll touch on that in a bit. With Henderson hurt, we needed our bench to step up and help carry the load. Kemba is an incredible player, but without the TEAM with him, he’ll just wind up running himself to death. We definitely needed to get acclimated to the bench to find a good combo to close out in Orlando as we saw the 3rd come and go. 3rd quarter totals came in at 26 – 19, in favor of the Magic.
Don’t worry though, because “Magic Mike" Dunlap figured out the potion needed to get the victory. Combos of Jeff Adrien, Hakim Warrick, and even Brendan Haywood at times provided the needed push to get us through the game with a win as we outscored the Magic in the 4th 30 – 29.
This was a much-needed win for the Bobcats, snapping a 5-game losing streak. Kemba Walker gets the Trade Street Post Game Breaker award. He put in 25 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists to only 1 turnover, and 2 steals. Keep in mind that he turned his ankle in Boston, and in Indiana…then he puts in a night like this. Bravo my man. You, sir, are the real deal.
Here are a couple other stats worth mentioning on the night:
Warrick = 15 points/1 steal / 5 rebounds
Sessions = 15 points/7 assists/4 rebounds/1 block
I need to make a few notes from this game for everyone, just so they can start taking notes of what I am seeing. In the 3rd, as we were looking for a player combo, I noticed at the 9 minute mark that often, when Sessions was to guard Redick, he would lose him and in at least one instance, Redick hit a 3-pointer. Defensive rotation is getting better, and Jeff Adrien is turning into a great pickup. Adrien finished with 9 points and 5 rebounds in 17 minutes of play.
Warrick’s 15pts and 5 rebounds is more of what I had always expected Tyrus to produce for us. Maybe we found a “poor man’s” version of Tyrus and we will exercise the Amnesty clause on him this summer (the last summer it can be used). I guess we’ll see.
I have a few closing thoughts on our beloved Bobcats. I want everyone to direct some attention to tomorrow night’s game. It isn’t so much about the team we are playing, but the movement that has been planned and well orchestrated. Has anyone heard of “We Beelieve: Charlotte...take back your Hornets!”? I’m sure that if you’ve followed the Bobcats at all, you’ve noticed the push to get the old Hornets name back in the Queen City. At first I thought it was silly since New Orleans had the name and we couldn’t just take it back. Once the NBA sold the team to Tom Benson, and the news came out that he wanted to change the name, it began to get interesting. If the name were actually available, would it make sense to take the name back?
I’ve sat on both sides of the fence, fearful that if we stomp too loud, the team may leave and Charlotte would be without an NBA team for the second time. I only take the most interest in the NBA and having a team in my state makes me the proudest NBA fan ever. I have sported Bobcats gear every Friday for a good long while now (even during last season’s mess). Usually I have the gear on for most of the weekend. For me, it’s never been about the name, just about having the team. Up until recently, I’ve stayed on the “Keep the ‘Cats” side of the wall, but more and more, as you look at the team, I can understand certain points of view for a name change. I was a Hornets fan when they were in Charlotte. I saw them from the first arrival, and when I attended my first live NBA game at “The Hive”, I was hooked on the NBA and I have been ever since…except for the last couple years the Hornets were in Charlotte…
When there is so much news swirling around about how evil (gone to trial for sexual assault) and greedy (wouldn’t sell 50% to Jordan in 1999 due to fear that he wouldn’t be in control of day-to-day operations) your team owner is it makes you want them gone. Those last years saw game attendance below 10,000 people on average (30th in the NBA in 2001). I could never fall in love with Derrick Coleman, Jamal Mashburn, or Baron Davis. Not Like I was for Muggsy, Dell, LJ and Zo. Who could forget Bobby Phills or David Wesley? I never did. I can even remember silly trivia like David Wesley could bench press the most weight of all of the players on the team at one point in his tenure with the Hornets. When this whole name change came about, I was focused on nothing except Hornets fanatics wanting a silly name back because we used to be the Hornets and we were popular then. I even believe some thought that we would win more games if we were the Hornets.
I have my opinion as to why this desire to be the Bobcats should become the Hornets. And I plan to share that desire…but not in this article.
The purpose of bringing up the “We Beelieve: Charlotte...take back your Hornets!” group is to let everyone know that they will be Swarming Time Warner tomorrow as we take on the Sacramento Kings. If you see them, wish them well. They are there to cheer on the Bobcats…even if they want to call them the Hornets. Greet them and accept them. If they want to talk about the need for a name change, listen to it. Drink it all in. Ultimately, the decision will be made by Michael Jordan, who tried to buy into the Hornets back in 1999. He wanted to buy 50% of the Hornets from Shinn then. I personally wonder if he is still ticked off that someone told him no.
As for my opinion on why the name may need to return to Charlotte…stay tuned. I’ll have that tidbit for you tomorrow. Let’s get some rest because tomorrow is night number 2 of yet another back-to-back for the Bobcats.