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How a young NBA franchise gets it going

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Recap: Blazers 98 Bobcats 79 – Ripped in the Rose Garden

Posted by Sup on February 2, 2010

Boxscore Recap

Going into the game, my wife said “Did you say before this road trip you would be happy if they came back 3-3?” Yes, I did. Coming off the losses at Atlanta and to Orlando at home, and facing dome tough matchups on the trip, I thought 3-3, coming back home no worse than when they left, would be satisfactory. Baby steps, right?

Well, three wins in a row on the road tend to make you greedy. You think that you should get ‘am all. Especially against a team weakened by the loss of their most talented player (who should have been a Bobcat. I know, I’ll shut up) Brandon Roy. His bad hamstring kept him out, but the Blazers were coming off a night where Andre Miller, the big free agent acquisition they had promptly buried on the bench, went off for 52, a night after scoring 2 points. They were, as they say, ripe for the picking. Like the Nuggets were.

The Blazers started off fast, and weren’t missing from anywhere. Martell Webster, Jerryd Bayless, and LaMarcus Aldridge were particularly potent, and they blew out to a 29-19 lead on a variety of layups and jumpers from every distance. Boris Diaw is often the bellwether for the Bobcats; how he gets started affects how the team does. And last night, Boris was working hard for offensive rebounds, but passed up shot after shot trying to move the ball, sometimes inappropriately. Hard passes underneath to Gerald Wallace or other Bobcats trying to get into the post were tipped up and out, knocked out of bounds, or not converted if they were caught.

The Bobcats weren’t pressured on offense, at least in the first half. They had good shots at every level, and just did not convert. Stephen Jackson led the ‘Cats in scoring with 23, but tied Diaw with 5 turnovers. Wallace added a 17 point 10 rebound double double, but he got only 10 shots, as he was blanketed by a series of long armed defenders coming off the Portland bench. Webster, Dante Cunningham, and Nicholas Batum all took turns on Wallace, and were able to limit his touches on the offensive end. All of them tallied in double figures as well, with Batum finishing with 15, Wenster and Cunningham 10 each.

21 Bobcats turnovers were all part of the problem, and a super productive Blazer bench was the other. The Bobcats never led in the game, but battled to within 4 on multiple occasions without being able to get the stops and baskets to get into the lead. A 10-0 run in the third period was one of those times: Wallace and Jackson each scored 4, and Nazr Mohammed and Diaw 2 each to get the Bobcats to within 63-59. But Andre Miller (8 points) got inside on two consecutive possessions, and the rally was snuffed out. A 7 point Blazer lead at the beginning of the fourth expanded to 19 by the time there were 2 minutes to go in the period as the Bobcats went on extended dry spells and the Blazers capitalized on all the misses to get into transition.

Ultimately, Charlotte shot only 40.6% from the field, getting poor shooting nights from Raymond Felton (3-10, 8 points) and D.J. Augustin (0-5, 0-4 from three, 0 points). Aldridge led the Blazers in scoring with 17 points and 8 rebounds, but 6 Blazers scored in double digits, providing the comfortable margin of victory. Another missed opportunity for the Bobcats to get a road win against a supposedly weakened but quality opponent, and now they head to the Staples Center to face the Lakers, whom they inexplicably have a 7-1 record against in the last 8 games.

‘Cat of the Night – I’ll give it to Wallace for his 17 point 10 rebound effort on a night when it was hard for him to find the holes he needed to get points. Jackson could be there too, but those 5 turnovers and a few really quick “what the hell is he doing?” type shots turned me sour on him

Stat of the Night – 40.6. The Bobcat’s shooting percentage wasn’t always the result of pressure. For some reason, they just couldn’t get shots to go down, many hitting the iron-glass-iron before falling out. Not many dunks, and layups that rolled off or over also played a part, though Nazr had a nice tip dunk follow off a Jackson miss.

Notable Notables

  • Miller was only able to put up 8 points after posting the second highest point total of the NBA season, but he did have 10 assists on the night.
  • Jackson rolled his ankle in the second period and limped up and down for a couple of trips before a time out, but came back in afterwards appearing none the worse for wear.
  • Another bellwether for the Bobcats: Mohammed only got 3 shots inside against an interior defense that featured the corpse of Juwan Howard, Aldridge, and not much else.
  • The Blazer bench seems to be composed of only 6-7, 6-8 inch guys with long arms and leaping ability. The loss of both Greg Oden and Joel Pryzbilla have left them very small up front, but the Bobcats could not capitalize on the lack of shotblocking or space eating forwards and centers.

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