What progress, you ask? I'm a big proponent of evaluating process and trusting that results will follow, and the Cats' process tonight was much more sophisticated and polished than we've seen previously this season, especially from the bench. Even despite the loss, the bench's play bodes well for future games, given they hold this level of play. Now if we can get starters and benchies playing well on the same night...
Game thread comments, lowlights, and highlights after the jump.
GAME THREAD COMMENTS
andrewlail76 -- LB coaches like the NBA was 15 years ago…back when the NBA game was similar to the college game.
Stevarino -- I don't like that Wallace, Jackson, and Augustin are a combined 9-36 from the floor.
-- I'm not sure when it's fair to start worrying about Gerald Wallace. So much of his value is tied up in defense that it's tough to judge him from his box score line, but what is in that offensive line is troubling enough that it has to be cutting in to his total value. He shot 2-11, for only 7 points, and pulled down only 3 rebounds. He did play a big role in holding Richard Jefferson to an abysmal game on offense.
-- D.J. Augustin is playing point guard the way LB wants him to play it -- for the most part. At the very least, he's exuding a certain authority necessary to run an NBA offense. However, if he's going to earn LB's trust, he can't shoot 3-14 from the field. From what I know of Brown, it's not the missing as much as the volume that'll bother him, because he envisions a point guard distributing and making everyone better by setting them up to score, rather than scoring himself.
-- Holy crap, the Spurs torched the Cats from beyond the arc. We finally get a game with almost even turnovers, and San Antonio shoots 12-26 from three. Some of that's luck, but I'm sure there were also too many open looks from distance. It's unbelievably annoying that Manu Ginobili shoots 5-11 from three and someone named Gary Neal shoots 5-8 from three.
-- The Bobcats and Spurs both completely botched the end game. The shot clock was two seconds ahead of the game clock. In that situation, the Spurs should simply have waited for the shot clock to tick down to one second before taking a long jumper, and the game buzzer would likely have sounded by the time anyone got the rebound. Of course, that assumes the Bobcats wouldn't be smart enough to foul, which they didn't, letting the Spurs do what they wanted. Instead, the Cats let the Spurs grind down the clock and take a shot with 5 seconds remaining, which Manu made, leaving the Cats with enough time to try a desperation strategy.
-- Where is Boris Diaw, and what have you done with him? Fine. I guess this really is Monsieur Nonchalant, himself, positioning for 6 rebounds, picking his shots reasonably well to go 5-9 from the field for 15 points, and still finding a way to dish 5 assists.
-- As noted above, the entire bench stepped up and played well enough to keep the Cats in the game until crunch time. In particular, Gerald Henderson may have had his best game as a pro, scoring 8 points, grabbing 3 rebounds, and passing out 3 assists, in about 21 minutes. The game's final 1:43 was intriguing precisely because LB went with a Lengthy Bench lineup: Livingston, Henderson, D. Brown, Thomas, and Diaw, all of whom are energy guys who play hounding defense and present matchup issues for opponents.