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The Bobcats Are Better Than This

Facial Hair



There is no way to put this gently. Larry Brown has lost games by playing Felton and Augustin together in the back court. Let's say Brown puts them out there with Richardson, Wallace, and Okafor. Without even seeing them take the court, my first thought is that, probably, neither is a good enough scorer to make up for the removal of Morrison or Carroll, and that, definitely, neither has the size to guard most of the shooting guards in the league, and the tactic also forces Richardson to guard forwards, a dicey proposition.

Unfortunately, reality confirms my suspicion. shows stats for two lineups featuring the double-point setup, and when using both, the Bobcats were vastly outscored. This isn't complicated. Someone has to cover a shooting guard, usually one of the best scorers on the team. Neither Felton nor Augustin is physically equipped to do it. At least Shannon Brown, Carroll, and Morrison are tall enough that their opponents usually can't just shoot over them.

So it went last night at the Cable Box, where the Orlando Magic pulled away in the fourth quarter to win, 90-85.

-- Felton went in for Gerald Wallace with 1:07 to go in the third quarter and the Magic leading, 63-59.

-- The deficit didn't change until Matt Carroll came in for Augustin at 8:00 to go in the fourth quarter, with the Magic leading, 73-69.

-- Augustin came back in for Dudley at 6:21 of the fourth quarter, and the Magic with a slightly larger lead at 77-70. Realize, now, that the 6-6 Matt Carroll was playing small forward and being asked to guard 6-10 Hedo Turkoglu, who excels at driving the lane on small guards who can't deal with his size. Good times. At the moment I saw the lineup, I told the Official GF of Rufus on Fire and COUTRAM that we were going to lose.

"Distraught" by rich_w, cc-licensed

-- The Magic went to Turkoglu on isolation at the top of the key for the next few possessions. He scored a short jumper, and one on the Carroll foul. Carroll fouled the next time down, and Hedo made both free throws. Brown pulled Carroll from the game, chewed him out at the bench, and inserted Morrison to guard the Turk, never mind that Gerald Wallace was wasting away guarding Rashard Lewis. The Magic went to Hedo again (I think), and Pietrus made an amazing flying jam off the miss. (Did I mention that Felton had to guard Pietrus in this lineup?) Orlando went to Turkoglu a fourth straight time, and Hedo made a jumper. They then went to him a fifth time, and Hedo missed the long two attempt. For a sixth straight possession, the Magic went to Turkoglu, who assisted Bogans on a three.

All this time, the Bobcats' offense was, improbably, holding its own, but there was no way they were stopping Turkoglu by putting anyone other than Wallace on him. With no headway on closing the gap, and only 1:17 left with an 88-80 deficit, the Bobcats fouled Bogans, who made both free throws. Two garbage baskets later, and the game was over.

"who's that guy?" by starlen, cc-licensed

I don't like being That Guy who points out the obvious to people who know better and probably have forgotten more about basketball than I'll ever know, but this is the kind of thing that makes me question my sanity, because it is so obvious. It has to stop. There is no defensible reason to play Felton and Augustin together that I can find. None. They don't play side by side for the bulk of the game, and it's not anything like putting LeBron, Kobe, Brandon Roy, or Hedo Freaking Turkoglu at the point during crunch time for maximum scoring potential in exchange for a little bit of ballhandling and distribution ability.

In a game where Emeka Okafor crafted a tour de force and rendered Dwight Howard essentially useless on the offensive end, with 0 offensive boards, and a game where Hedo Turkoglu was mostly contained by Gerald Wallace for three quarters, it was a total waste to put our players in a position to fail during the fourth quarter.