Charlotte Bobcats v Miami Heat

Bobcats players start pointing out what’s wrong. It’s a long list.

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Last season the Charlotte Bobcats made their first-ever playoff appearance. This season, with Michael Jordan firmly entrenched as owner, it was time to take the next step.

Backwards. At least that is what has happened so far. The Bobcats are 7-13 and out of the playoffs if they started today.

In a fantastic piece — with veteran players being very honest — the Charlotte Observer lays out what is wrong in the team’s own words.

“We don’t play together, we don’t play hard enough. We don’t move the ball, we don’t defend as a team,” said coach Larry Brown, adding, “That’s my fault.”

Oh, so that’s all.

The issue is defense (the team’s offensive output is almost identical to last season). Last season the Bobcats had the best defense in the league at 102.6 points per 100 possessions, this season they are giving up 4 more points per 100, and that makes them average. Combine that with that below average offense and you have problems.

Personnel is a big part of it. Tyson Chandler is protecting the rim in Dallas now. Raymond Felton’s physical defense at the point is in New York, replaced by DJ Augustin. Gerald Wallace was blunt about the change at the point.

“D.J. doesn’t have the fight. Not to compare them as far as abilities, but D.J.’s personality is not as high as Ray’s was as far as aggression and attitude on the court. D.J. is more laid-back.

“We’re not physical. We’re a soft team,” (Stephen) Jackson said. “We had an edge last year and we don’t have any edge now. We felt really confident in the way we’d play.”

That is in part a leadership issue

“No disrespect to anybody, but I think everyone was more focused on doing their jobs last year,” said Jackson. “We had such professionals last year. We had Theo and Tyson, and when Tyrus (Thomas) first came here, he had a lot of energy. And Raymond led this team.”

Larry Brown’s team notoriously start slow and improve as the year goes on, but there are questions if this team can do that. The personnel may not be able to rise up in the same way.

James Harden’s 12th triple-double helps Rockets end 2-game skid

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AP
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NEW YORK (AP) James Harden had 22 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists in his 12th triple-double of the season and the Houston Rockets easily ended their first losing streak of the season by beating the Brooklyn Nets 137-112 on Sunday night.

Held to 105 points in losses to Minnesota and Memphis, the Rockets bounced back with 104 after three quarters and handed the Nets their 10th straight loss.

Eric Gordon led the Rockets with 24 points and Trevor Ariza added 23. Houston made 21 3-pointers and had five players with at least 16 points.

Houston shot just 40.8 percent during its two losses, well below its 46.8 season average, while being held nearly 10 points below its season scoring average. But the Rockets had no trouble bouncing back against the Nets, who allow an NBA-worst 114.3 per game.

Joel Embiid helps bring hundreds of fans to D.C. with ‘Bus the Process’

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Joel Embiid has fans all around the NBA. Some even came out to see him during the Philadelphia 76ers game against the Washington Wizards on Saturday despite the Cameroonian big man sitting out due to restrictions on playing in back-to-back games.

#BusTheProcess was the hashtag used to get 350 Sixers fans to the game in D.C. thanks to Embiid, coach Brett Brown, and the podcast The Rights to Ricky Sanchez.

Via Twitter and ESPN:

Fun stuff for some dedicated fans, even if they didn’t get to see Embiid play.

Unfortunately for the #BusTheProcess folks, the 76ers wound up losing to the Wizards, 109-93.

Ball ricochets off Robin Lopez’s face, Bulls score anyway (VIDEO)

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 31:  Robin Lopez #8 of the Chicago Bulls look on against the Brooklyn Nets during the first half at Barclays Center on October 31, 2016 in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
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Michael Carter-Williams is still shaking the dust off after being inserted into the starting lineup, I guess. At least, that’s about what you can say when you pass the ball off your starting center’s face.

But there’s good news! The Chicago Bulls scored on this play.

Let’s take a look at the whole thing, shall we?

I think the more important question is whether Carter-Williams received a secondary or primary assists on the NBA.com tracking site.

Kent Bazemore, Mike Dunleavy pick up offense as Hawks beat Bucks

Mike Dunleavy, Michael Beasley
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ATLANTA (AP) Kent Bazemore scored 24 points, Mike Dunleavy added 20 and the Atlanta Hawks beat the Milwaukee Bucks 111-98 on Sunday.

Giannis Antetokounmpo finished with 33 points and was a tough matchup in the paint for Milwaukee, which dropped 2 1/2 games behind the fourth-place Hawks in the Eastern Conference.

Atlanta has won eight of nine. The Bucks have dropped three of five.

Dunleavy, in his second game since arriving in a trade last week with Cleveland, had his first 20-point performance since a first-round playoff game for Chicago on April 30, 2015.

Antetokounmpo has scored at least 30 points in eight games in a breakout season.