What is it about the Charlotte Bobcats that gives us so much trouble? It’s not a divisional rivalry thing. Georgia and North Carolina are not neighboring states, so it’s not that either. So what is it?
Maybe it’s Larry Brown. No, it can’t be that, because we’ve ALWAYS had trouble with these guys. Then again, maybe it is, as we have one of his pupils (though I’m not sure which trait or skill his pupil latched onto exactly) coaching the Hawks.
Or how about Gerald Wallace? Yeah, that’s got to be it. That guy gives us trouble every single time we see him. Yet Wallace is not exactly a one-man wrecking crew, so that’s not a good explanation either. Is it how the Hawks match up with the ‘Cats? Well, whatever the deal is, the trend is continuing as we see the Hawks down by double figures to the Bobcats at halftime.
The easiest alibi would be to say that the team is tired after a 3 game west coast trip. The only problem is, every team has to deal with things like that, several times during the season, at that. And the Bobcats are not really a very good team. So what gives?
Well, judging by the boxscore alone, the good news is we only have 3 turnovers, so at least it’s not bad passing or ball-handling, for the most part. And, we’re shooting roughly 48% from the field, so it’s not a whole slew of chucked up shots that just aren’t falling. The bad news is, and I’m just guessing here….there isn’t very much ball or personnel movement. We have a total of 6 assists, 3 of which came from Mike Bibby, 2 from Jeff Teague, and 1 from Mo Evans. Sounds to me like the usual has happened, which means there are guys standing around. Feel free to correct me, as I’m not currently watching the game, and could have it all wrong.
Here’s the bothersome part, and so far it has become a theme for the Hawks this season: the defense hasn’t kicked in. The ‘Cats are shooting over 54% from the field and Raja Bell (Raja Bell?!) is looking unstoppable. Gee, could it be that we’re not closing out on a known perimeter shooter? Say it ain’t so? I’d take a gander at who isn’t getting the job done, but there is an all-too-convenient alibi already in place. You guessed it, Woodson’s switching defense. May wonders never cease…or in this case, they can’t cease quickly enough.
If I’m Mike Woodson, I put Jeff Teague in the game for more than the five minutes he has given him. The kid apparently is trying and succeeding at getting his teammates involved, and you know he’s generally not shy about trying to get a shot. Plug him in and watch him inject some obviously needed energy. It might be just the ticket to get the Hawks going.
In the meantime, there’s the small issue of defense. The Hawks have been known so far this season to slack off on the defensive end, then tighten it up in spurts for a quarter or so. Will they get it done in time, or have they fallen too far behind, too quickly? The assumption is that Bell won’t likely shoot like this all night, but if he gets enough open looks, he just might, you never know (didn’t that guy get 50 points some time last season?). Then there is the talented DJ Augustin (when is he going to take Raymond Felton’s job for good?), who seems to be able to get where he wants to on the floor. Then there’s the usual Hawk-killer, otherwise known as Gerald Wallace. He’s killing us on the glass, but isn’t shooting well…..yet.
If we’re going to clamp down and win this one, there’s no time like the present.