Bobcats Chronicles

How a young NBA franchise gets it going

Catching a bit of a break

Posted by Sup on January 25, 2010

No complaints from me on this:

Carmelo Anthony said Sunday he won’t play against the Charlotte Bobcats, due to an ankle sprain suffered versus the New Orleans Hornets.

That’s a huge break. I’m not sure anyone in the NBA gives the Bobcats more trouble than Anthony.

AMEN. Anthony goes for 28.3 points and 5 boards against Charlotte for his career, so any kind of break from his scoring attack is welcome. It doesn’t take away all the danger of course. Chauncey Billups, J.R. Smith, and Nene are still dangerous weapons, even if the walking corpse of Kenyon Martin is not. And the Nuggets’ pace in Devner tends to be dangerous for teams that have to fly in without acclimating to the altitude.

Still, the main concern for the Bobcats is getting off to a quick start with a minimum of miscues. Early turnovers on the road tend to get them in a deep hole early, and though their defense can often bring them back within striking distance, they can’t keep relying on completely shutting down an opposing team to climb back from a 15 point deficit.Even if they do, they tend to be in little shape to take the lead and hold it.

The difference between this team on the road and at home is remarkable on both ends of the floor. Against Atlanta, they looked a step slow in every rotation, and seemed to be one pass short on every offensive possession. The Magic exploited some of this on Saturday, but this isn’t typical for the Bobcats at home. Are they afraid of early foul trouble on the defensive end, unsure of driving lanes or interior defense on offense? This must drive the coaching staff mad.

Fortunately, the Nuggets don’t present the same kind of defensive threat the Hawks or even the Magic do. Brett over at Queen City Hoops points out Denver’s defensive efficiency is only 15th in the league right smack in the middle. That may improve a bit actually with Anthony out, but it certainly leaves the Bobcats with some chances to score, at least until Chris Andersen comes in and starts swatting baskets away from the hoop. Then, they must drive and draw fouls on him to force him out of the game, or get him involved in screen rolls that draw him away from the basket. As usual, much depends on if Gerald Wallace and Raymond Felton are not only playing, but healthy enough to make strong cuts.

The Bobcats have been handed a gift in their first game of the road trip. Let’s see if they can capitalize.

Charlotte Bobcats (21-21) Denver Nuggets (29-14)
PG – Raymond Felton* PG – Chauncey Billups
SG – Stephen Jackson SG – Aaron Afflalo
SF – Gerald Wallace* SF – Joey Graham?
PF – Boris Diaw PF – Kenyon Martin
C – Nazr Mohammed C – Nene

*= game time decision

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