The Bobcats beat the Hornets
Well, I’m not quite sure where to begin with this one. I was expecting our guys to come out like Tony Jaa in The Protector, and for the first two or so minutes it was all going according to plan. But soon thereafter began the suckage, peaking with a 7-point second quarter which took a heroic second half effort from Chris Paul to recover from. But CP had little help for the second straight game, and the Bobcats were able to get some big plays down the stretch and hold on for the win.
Let’s dive into some notes. Nothing like reliving the crapfest…
- David West, David West, David West. It’s been a real rough start to the season for him. He didn’t do himself any favors tonight by repeatedly forcing his way into double teams and throwing sour faces at the referees, but it’s not all his fault. He did get some bad calls — how wasn’t that a clean block on Augustin in the fourth? — and teams have really been clamping down on him this season. He’s seeing multiple defenders on the block, and he’s not handling it too good. I seem to remember him struggling with the extra attention after the All-Star break last year, but he was able to figure it out after a few games. Hopefully he’ll remember the remedy again soon.
- 0 points and 1 assist for Chris Paul in the first half, but he finished with 20 and 10. That’s at least 20 and 10 he’s had in all five games this season, something only Oscar Robertson has done before. But I could care less. CP looked passive in the first half. I thought the Atlanta game taught us that we can’t just cruise along and hope to turn it on down the stretch. Sure, the Bobcats worked hard to trap in the backcourt and get the ball out of Chris’ hands, but shouldn’t our guys be working equally hard to combat that? It’s like we said “Oh, they won’t let Chris bring the ball up. Let’s just give it to someone else instead and see if they can initiate the offense.”
- Byron Scott showed exactly how much faith he has in Mike James by playing him only 9 minutes. Coach really couldn’t afford to rest CP in the fourth but was forced to do so for a few trips. James didn’t disappoint too much while he was out there, but he didn’t do anything to restore my faith in him either.
- Peja finished with 20 points. He got off to a great start, dropping 11 points in the first quarter. He also hit a big triple in the final seconds to give us a chance at the win. In between he was pretty much a ghost.
- Not the nicest game for Tyson either. He got into some foul trouble early, finished with 2 points, 7 boards, 3 assists, 3 blocks. He did play some great D on Okafor in the third, despite the foul trouble. Hilton Armstrong gave solid minutes behind him. Only complaint I have with him is an old one: please stop switching your shot in mid-air. Go through the arms of the defense and get the foul.
- Charlotte’s D.J. Augustin, the New Orleans native backing up Raymond Felton at point, had a good showing. The rookie didn’t back down from Chris Paul, and wasn’t shy about getting in the lane and giving our defense some problems. Larry Brown showed faith in him, too, leaving him in there for most of the fourth quarter. He’ll be real nice in a few.
- I’m trying to figure out why our offense has suffered through such horrible stretches these past two games. Where did the spacing go? Was it as bad in the first three games, only disguised because we were hitting the long bombs? Opposing teams seem to be clogging the lane a lot, suffocating West and preventing lobs to Tyson. That’s cool if guys like Peja, Posey and Butler can nail triples off the kick-outs, but that shouldn’t be something we depend on. I’d like to see some more movement on the far side of the floor, not just Peterson waiting in the corner for the ball to swing his way. Get the defense worried about cuts to the basket.
- I don’t suppose Julian Wright could get some PT anytime soon, huh Coach?
I feel a bit like David West looked tonight after picking up his sixth foul and sinking into the bench. I guess dejected is the best way to describe it. Early in the season it be, but methinks there’s legitimate cause for concern.
All eyes should be on Byron Scott to right the ship. You could easily argue that we’ve been outcoached these past two games. The Hawks came out with a great defensive game plan and we couldn’t crack it. The Bobcats keep the ball out of Paul’s hands and double down on West. How do we respond? The Heat just got done blowing out the Spurs in San Antonio. Granted, the Spurs are limping bad right now, but Miami’s no pushover. They’ll throw some good stuff at us tomorrow night, and I really hope we can absorb and respond. Or better yet, how about we come out the aggressor and make them adjust to us? That would be more like the Hornets basketball I know and love.