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Bobcats Drop One to Bucks 93-88

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Down 15 at the half, the Charlotte Bobcats couldn't chop enough off that lead, coming close but losing to the Milwaukee Bucks, 93-88.

This puts the Cats back right at .500 with a 27-27 record. For their part, the Bucks pushed open a little more separation between themselves and the Miami Heat, still looming just a few games behind.

Stephen Jackson and his 35 points jump out from the box score, but I'm much more interested to realize that Tyrus Thomas got a second straight double-digit rebounding night for the Cats. It certainly seems that putting him on the floor for starter's minutes is a no-brainer. We know he's a tenacious rebounder, can finish on the run, and piles up defensive stats (note the subtle difference between that and being a good defender; I'm not sure that he is). If the Cats are going to build an unconventional contender, Gerald Wallace, Jackson, and Thomas -- none of them great scorers, but none of them slouches at it, all of them solid to great defenders with length -- are the kinds of guys who will stretch other teams on offense and pummel them on defense.

Game thread comments, highlights, and lowlights after the jump.

GAME THREAD COMMENTS

JuliusCoxswain -- DJ is in Flip's old role right now. I would like to see him be more aggressive offensively. Maybe take an ill advised three to pay homage to Mr. Murray.

andrewlail76 -- A Bobcats Sundae: Chandler base with Diop sauce and some Graham on top?

Ft.MillBobcat -- JAX giveth, JAX taketh away.

BAD

-- Theo Ratliff had a solid debut for the Cats against the Cavaliers, but this game illustrates why he's a journeyman. He's a good enough defender, and provides game-changing potential from his blocked shots, that a lot of coaches deem him worthy of a rotation spot. But he's also a cinderblock on offense. In 12 minutes, he was 1-3 from the field, turned it over 1 time, had 0 blocks, and committed 3 fouls. Also, and this is for entertainment purposes only, in those 12 minutes, the Cats were -20, whereas the next worse +/- was -8.

-- It's troubling that D.J. Augustin went 0-6 from the field. I, for one, welcome this new era in which he fills the Flip Murray role, but this kind of night doesn't help. Longer-term, he has to figure out how to play defense on larger men, and it might just be a concession any team that has him makes in exchange for his plus offense. Mitigating that 0-6, it should be emphasized, Augustin got to the line for 8 free throws and made 7.

-- It's easy to forget how young Nazr Mohammed is, because it feels like he's been around forever, but he's only 32 years old. That said, it wouldn't be surprising if his excellent early season performance was more the fluke than the new rule, and that he's actually on the unstoppable age-related decline. He's still having a career year, but if he throws up some more 0 points, 5 rebounds, shaky defense games, his averages will come back to earth.

-- Please cut Stephen Graham and bring up a D-Leaguer. Invest in mining for talent. Cycle through ten-day contracts. Anything. Please. It's just embarrassing to everyone involved that Graham is still in Larry Brown's rotation.

GOOD

-- I'm trying to temper my enthusiasm for Tyrus Thomas, because it's only been two games, but it's really tough because he does the things I love most in basketball: he runs, he plays a vertical game, and he defends the rim. If he could pull a Boris Diaw and, out of nowhere, develop a three point shot, I'd lose my mind with joy. But I'll also settle for the poor man's Josh Smith, if that's what he is. Thomas had 12 points on 10 attempts, 11 rebounds, and 4 blocks in 31 minutes.

-- It's nice when Diaw kicks up the rebounding a notch. grabbing 7 boards in 42 minutes. For those wondering why that's such a big deal, it's Diaw-adjusted praise. Even with Wallace and Thomas on the floor, when he plays nominal center, Diaw has to do at least that well to justify the lineup.

-- Say this for Jax: He's not afraid to shoot. And that's perfectly fine, as long as he's the only one with a semi-free pass to be a gunner. Dude scored 35 points on 25 attempts. Amazingly, even after going from the Warriors and their frenzied offensive games to the Bobcats and their grinding, slow-paced, games, Jax has maintained his scoring rates. Part of it is that he's playing a little bit better in Charlotte than he did for Golden State, and part of it is that he's using more possessions than he did before, though it's close.