The Bobcats are still feeling out their best process on offense. When they don't play their best on defense, guys like John Salmons and Joakim Noah will light them up, and all their inadequacies on offense will come to the fore, just like in tonight's tough loss to the Bulls, 93-90.
Perhaps the most interesting thing about the game was the Bobcats' tendency to bomb away from three. The Cats shot 12-29 from long distance, which says something about their offensive process. Larry Brown has said he doesn't like threes because of what they indicate: when the team takes threes it means they're not attacking the rim and potentially getting to the line. It also implies the offense isn't active and working for the easiest baskets.
However, it's also long been established that poor offensive teams can increase their chances of winning a given game by taking more threes -- higher risk for higher reward. Hit on a high enough percentage of threes consistently, and it becomes a viable strategy. The key is to not get away from the other things Brown wants from the offense. The half court sets should still seek out the easiest baskets possible, including threes.
Historically, the Cats' starters don't shoot well enough to make shooting that many threes a good idea. Raymond Felton and Gerald Wallace should only do it to keep defenses honest. Boris Diaw has only done it effectively for one season. Tyson Chandler: no. Raja Bell's only offense at this point is the jump shot from eighteen feet and out. The thing is, with VladRad, Augustin, and now Flip Murray on board, they might be able to put enough guys on the floor at any given time to make it worthwhile to actively run a three point-based attack. The blueprint for this is in Orlando, where Rashard Lewis, Hedo Turkoglu, and Dwight Howard made it happen. We don't have anyone that effective at what each of those guys does, but the overall point stands.
Highlights and lowlights after the jump:BAD
-- Joakim Noah had himself a night. 21 points and 16 rebounds. Why does he do this to us and I never hear about him beasting on other teams?
-- Noah was huge, and Salmons also had a big game, but in general the Cats' defense simply couldn't keep up with the very athletic Bulls. I'm sure it was mostly an issue of playing back to back and running low on gas in the second half, but such is the game. Chicago shot 50% from the field and 44% from three. They also outrebounded Charlotte 44-38.
-- D.J. Augustin was shockingly ineffective against Derrick Rose and Kirk Hinrich. In a little more than 11 minutes, he had 0 points, 1 assist, and 2 turnovers. I suspect that's because Augustin relies on his exceptional speed to get to the rim. Both Chicago point guards are tremendous athletes, so that would negate Augustin's advantage on other PGs. What's surprising is that D.J. didn't partake in the three point barrage, considering he was a very good shooter all last year.
-- Gerald Henderson didn't deserve a few minutes? Zero minutes? Really?
-- Early on, Boris Diaw abused Taj Gibson. He ended up with 20 points on 8-14 shooting, including 3-5 from three.
-- Vladimir Radmanovic finally did VladRad things, shooting 4-6 from three.
-- Tyson Chandler looks more and more comfortable on both offense and defense, and appears to be settling into his roles. Just as important, his teammates seem to be settling into a comfort zone with him, too. We're just seeing the familiarity usually developed during preseason being developed now.
-- Alexis Ajinca got 5 minutes in the second quarter when both Chandler and Nazr Mohammed got into foul trouble, and he didn't embarrass himself in the least. Playing against Noah couldn't have hurt, since Noah's also a long, lanky, type.