What a difference some new energy and an interior presence can make.
At the outset of this week, the Charlotte Bobcats were on the verge of being left for dead. After a franchise-best 6-4 start, the team had faded back into its classic oblivion, winning just 2 of its next 12 games. The 'Cats weren't scoring the way they were expected to, and despite the best efforts of Emeka Okafor (who can't be expected to do it all himself), they were getting pounded inside. Seemed like another long year for another MJ-run team.
All it took was one goofy-looking trade to breathe some immediate life into them. It appeared that the recently becoming beloved Walter Herrmann might have been too much to give up with original Bobcat Primoz Brezec in order to get 30-year-old reserve big man Nazr Mohammed from the Detroit Pistons. This could very well prove to be the case down the road. But as of now, it appears that Mohammed's presence was all the 'Cats needed.
After coming off the bench for just 20 minutes in his first game with the team (a loss to Atlanta), Mohammed has started each of two games since, against Utah and New York. He christened his tenure as a starter in Charlotte by going for 17 points, 8 boards and 3 blocks on 7-for-13 shooting in an upset win over the Jazz. Last night, he followed that performance up with 20 points, 14 boards and 4 blocks on 8-for-11 shooting from the field as the 'Cats cruised over the Knicks.
Granted, it has been just two games, one against a team in a slump and another against a putrid group, but in those two games the Bobcats have been transformed into a completely different team. How much of it has to do with His Airness himself coming to workouts will never be known. How long the new big man in town can keep up this level of play remains to be seen. But he is certainly off to a bright new start. And as a result, so is his new team.
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