As Charlotte sports fans, I’d assume that you follow the Panthers as well? Do you remember when the Panthers drafted Johnathan Stewart out of Oregon after drafting Deangello Williams, who was just coming into his own? I thought, wait, those guys will hate sharing carries, they’ll each assume the offensive line blocks better for the other guy. It’ll never work. Well, it worked and in the NFL, they almost proved the case for a dual threat running back tandem. Two guys who could break one at any moment, keep the defense on their heels and better still, they got along great. Dubbing themselves Double Trouble or something, making t-shirts and doing celebration moves on the sidelines, they made it work and became the first running back tandem to each rush for over 1100 yards or something.
Well, I thought the same thing when the Bobcats drafted D.J. Augustin, when they already had Raymond Felton and I thought the same thing all over again when they drafted Kemba Walker. Actually, I thought “What the hell are they doing picking a PG when there are other needs?” when they drafted Augustin and “Well, it’s a matter of time before Kemba takes D.J.’s job.” Tonight, I think we saw what Paul Silas was talking about when, during the lockout and he couldn’t really say anything about players, he said “Well, we’ve got these two little guys that I might put out there at the same time and run some zone defense and see what happens.”
D.J. Augustin and Kemba Walker led the Bobcats with 21 and 19 points respectively. D.J. dished out 12 assists and the two of them, a rookie and a swift ball handler, combined for 3 turnovers. I don’t think you can ask for much more out of 2 “undersized” point guards especially when you put them out there at the same time in key moments of the game.
That’s great and everything, but if you want wins, tonight was not for you. The Bobcats won the fourth quarter by 9, but lost the overtime period by a whole lot. In the 5 minute period, of which the Hawks have had 4 in the last 2 days, you have to score more than one point per minute. You have to come out like the beginning of the game, which, yeah wasn’t that great again for the Bobcats.
The Hawks scored 8 to start the overtime period, to the Bobcats’ 0. That pretty much sealed their fate. Turnovers and blocks and bad shots, and the Hawks hit two threes. The Bobcats only answer on offense in overtime was a Byron Mullens three point play and a Gerald Henderson desperation lay-up. Whoopity doo.
Kemba Walker and DJ Augustin weren’t involved in the overtime in the way they had been in the fourth quarter.
I just want to know, if the Bobcats can come back, get stops, get some lucky breaks and whatever but generally get back in the game by playing solid basketball, why can’t they close out games? I know there will be games like against the Heat or Magic where they just get steamrolled, I realize that. Tonight’s game wasn’t one of those.
A young team will have nights like tonight, where they don’t know how to close. Rookies and inexperienced guys will get frantic and turn the ball over. The Hawks were ripe for the taking, but the Bobcats couldn’t figure it out.
Tomorrow in Indiana, the Bobcats face a much improved Pacers squad. They have 2 legitimate scoring threats in David West and Danny Granger. They have a serious center in Roy Hibbert and a pretty good point guard (best adjusted +/-) in Darren Collison. The match-ups don’t look great but I still think the Bobcats have a chance. Once they figure out the zone defense and get out and run like Paul Silas and I know they can, I think the Bobcats will be much more competitive. Until then, they’ll struggle, but look good enough for us die-hard fans to be happy and look forward to the future.