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Charlotte Bobcats / New Orleans Hornets Preview 12/10

I’ve had 24 hours to reflect, relax and seethe.  I didn’t quite give you a complete picture of how pissed I was.  It was one of those writhe on the couch like you got shot, sorry Plax, every time D-Wade got fouled.  I was so miserable, even throughout the incredible Panthers’ second half, I was incredulous.  I simply can’t believe the calls that guy is given.  Dwayne Wade is a great slasher, makes a lot of open jumpers, doesn’t pass great, plays decent defense.  He took 19 shots from the free throw line last night.  2 Bobcats (TWO!) fouled out of the game.  The attempts were so lopsided.  41 attempts to 26 attempts, Wade had 19 of theirs.  Almost half their attempts went to him alone.  True enough you have the play the hand you’re dealt but come on.  I am not saying the referees were consciously calling fouls for Wade.  They were not doing it on purpose but it’s kind of like when Shaq started playing a bit more back to the basket.  Yeah, you might be able to technically call an offensive foul every time, but his foot work plus his size plus the guy is sort of hand checking and hey, it’s Shaq!  Come on give the big guy a little leeway.  Wade does drive, draw contact, contact that alters his shot or space on the court, technically a foul, I admit it but let’s get serious.  No one wants to watch that.  Miami fans don’t even want to see that. 

Down the stretch the Bobcats did have a couple things not go their way.  DJ missed a wide open lay-up.  I mean just a horrible spot for that to happen in, I’m sure he’s like 99.5% in that position, but wow.  Larry was asked post-game, as he was trying to walk away because seriously the questions were not coming, “how do you feel about DJ taking a shot for two when you’re down by 3?”  Larry said “Well, He had a lay-up.”  J-Rich missed two free throws with 30 something seconds on the clock.  It wasn’t a total screw job by the refs, the Bobcats did hold their own destiny.  Also, from the scouting report, I think you have to realize that’s what you’re up against.  D-Wade is a machine.  If I did my math correctly Wade averages 575.8 attempts per season, not including this year.  The all time leader in attempts (according to this old chart) Karl Malone, averaged 727, not including his last year (225 w/the Lakers).  So it’s not so outrageous.  But give me that there were one or two he was handed on a silver platter?  The on against Dudley that was clearly a charge, within the final 2 – 3 minutes had me out of my chair calling the refs bad names.  Enough about Wade, another night where the ‘Cats have a good showing ruined by circumstances that they should  be able to over come in a few years, or this year if they learn quick enough, which it looks like they aren’t.   

On to today’s game against New Orleans:  The Bobcats’ would-be rival, based simply on history and the fact Stern didn’t “Brown” the city of Charlotte, keeping the name and records here but moving the team and horrible owners to the Crescent City.  Am I the only one who sees the name “Hornets” and immediately thinks “Charlotte?”  What’s more: it looks like bobcats.com’s Matt Rochinski did an interview with hornets.com.  Nothing really pre-viewy on “our” own site, but yeah do a little interview with hornets.com.  Wow.  I put “our” in “” because the true site for Bobcats fans is bobcatsplanet.com.  You’re here aren’t you? 

I have no idea what will happen tonight.  The Bobcats beat the Hornets at the CableBox a month ago.  The Hornets are 11-6 right now.  Paul is playing well, leading the league in assists at 11.8 per game.  Raymond Felton is 12th in the league averaging 6.2.  Peja Stojakovic has stepped up his game a bit, averaging 15 or so ppg and David West is putting up just sort of 20 a night, still playing well.  Just looking at the averages, the Hornets score about 97.5 per game, and allow 92.5.  Bobcats are still averaging a league low 89.9, and allowing 93.3 (actually not bad for team D).  I don’t think the ‘Cats will keep up with the Hornets scoring but I trust Larry Brown will come with a good game plan.  Slow them down with solid defense, don’t let Paul or Stojakovic take over the game with open shots.  Paul doesn’t get to the rack as much as Wade, 6.5 attempts from the free throw line.  We’ll see how that goes.  Optimism, feel the flow. 

The NBA.com preview plays up the DJ Augustin angle.  He is returning to New Orleans, his home up until Katrina.  I don’t know how DJ plays with some kind of added emotion; I don’t think we’ve seen that yet.  Who knows if he will, he did say the Houston was home, but New Orleans will be home in his heart back in the NCAA tourney last year.  I don’t know if he’s that kind of guy, we’ll see tonight.  I think we’ve got a nice shot tonight even without Gerald Wallace, still in Alabama with his family after the death of his grandmother.  The match-ups sort of go our way if you’re really, really optimistic like I am.  That’s all I can think now for our ‘Cats is optimism.  It’s going to happen, things will come together, these players have bought into Larry’s system, it’s just that it’s a very intricate one that doesn’t leave room for mistakes.  Even little mistakes like missing a lay-up or free throws.  These guys don’t have a dominant player.  No one will take over the game, save for maybe J-Rich.  Have faith, YES WE CAN!