After a long film session and before practice began on Tuesday at the Orlando Sports Complex, Bobcats coach Larry Brown gathered his team in a huddle.
"Yesterday, Orlando took the day off," Brown said. "That's how seriously they're taking us."
As the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference, Charlotte Bobcats know their places as underdogs against the Orlando Magic. The Bobcats trail the best of seven series 0-1 heading into Wednesday's game. Heading into Game 2, Charlotte has overcome its pre-playoff nerves and isn't giving the Magic, or its players, any kind of star treatment.
"Nobody really expects us to win this series … the Magic, Orlando, most of the country, except the good people of Charlotte," Bobcats center Tyson Chandler said. "We already know that. We don't have any pressure on us. They got the pressure."
Playing the franchise's first playoff game, with a roster lacking much playoff experience, the Bobcats felt pressure entering the series.
Guard Stephen Jackson, one of Charlotte's few playoff veterans, remembered the locker room being quiet and tight Sunday evening before Game 1. The Bobcats started the game focused intensely on Magic center Dwight Howard, and in the meantime got burned by point guard Jameer Nelson. By the time Charlotte settled down, Orlando had a double-digit lead.
From that game the Bobcats learned they needn't be so tight nor so singularly focused on the two-time defending Defensive Player of the Year.
"Dwight's gonna be Dwight," said forward Gerald Wallace, who finished third in Defensive Player of the Year voting. "We can't treat him like he's Michael Jordan or somebody. Our bigs gotta help our guards."
Practice focused on that concept. Jackson practiced after sitting out Monday with a small bone bruise on his left knee. He hyperextended his knee after a collision with Wallace in the second quarter of Game 1. Jackson did not wear a brace on his knee.
"No brace at all — brace is a mental thing with me," Jackson said. "It'll let me know that something's wrong."
Brown's comments to his team before practice were about a mental thing, too. And his players insist they don't care who thinks they can win.
"We don't care about that," Wallace said. "We're worried about us. They do what they want to do. We're the Bobcats. We're the only thing we can control, and we'll move from there."
both teams are under pressure they both want to win right?
No. Charlotte isn't under any pressure. Because you guys made the Finals last year, you have all the pressure on you, and the expectation to get a ring. For us, people weren't even expecting us to get into the playoffs. So we have nothing to loose.
Proud Australian Bobcats Fan!!!
I think the 2nd half was their "Oh shit" moment.
Check out the guy who writes for OrlandoMagicDaily.com after he watched the game for a 2nd time, and notice the last line I quoted specifically:
-Charlotte is just so disciplined defensively, the team has the versatility to shift and rotate to everything and the team is very cohesive and has talented defenders. Scary combination. Charlotte pressures the ball and forces you to start your offense later than you want to. With all the things already mentioned, it puts the margin of error to a minimum.-Really have to credit Charlotte for continuing to attack the basket throughout this game. That first quarter, where Dwight Howard had six blocks (and blocked the first shot of the second quarter), would completely discourage most teams.-Again, Charlotte closes out really well and are forcing Orlando not only to start its offense later than usual, but also to extend it farther from the basket than it is used to. This takes away lots of precious time off the shot clock. Then add in the Bobcats' active hands and it makes life very hard for an offense. I think my 95 points per game prediction might hold.-This series will present a strange balance for Orlando. The Magic absolutely cannot settle for quick shots. Missing a 3-pointer eight seconds into the shot clock are not going to work out well for Orlando. But the Bobcats are so good defensively that you have to take the first good shot you get because you may not get another one. This team's defense does not even give you enough time to rotate the ball around the perimeter more than once.
-Charlotte learned this in the second half, but they cannot switch when Jameer Nelson comes off the pick. Unlike Carter, Nelson is always in attack mode (or he was in Game One at least) and is looking to get in the paint and score or dish. He was also just hitting shots no person has any business hitting sometimes. The Bobcats adjusted and forced Nelson to go wide off the screen instead of straight off it like he was throughout the first half.-When Orlando attacked the basket in the second half it seemed it was reckless and with their head down not looking to pass or score. It is almost like they are going in expecting a whistle that will not come. I am sure Charlotte felt this way in the first quarter with Howard swatting every shot that got anywhere near the rim. The Magic have to put their head down and keep playing when the whistles don't go their way.As loose as our guys seem from the practice reports I'd definitely say the pressure has shifted onto Orlando.-I said earlier the Bobcats hedge out more on pick and rolls involving Jameer Nelson. While that is true, I have not really noticed it that often in the second half. Why? Well, the Magic stopped running the play. Nelson is not probing and attacking like he did in the first half. It is like the whole team was knocked back a little and their bell was completely run until the game got close in the fourth quarter.
Hope Resurrected: "I think I can bring an attitude to a team as far as, ‘All right, no matter what, we are not losing this game'." - Kemba Walker
"Its okay to be bad; just so long as you're bad ass." - Keetch
We Will Win TONIGHT!!!!!
The "media" pressure is definitely on the Magic, I mean come'n you guys have the "Superman". But if the magic can't play to their potential we are going to get them in 6. We are a better team in a tight game. We have better chemistry vs. magic. The magic can't decide which one of their "superstars" will take the last shot.....
Bobcats in 6....Lets go Bobcats!!!!
Let's Go Cats!!!.....It's a new season!!!
they need to guard the 3 they cant let the magic get 10 plus threes again
Tonight is the night, as long as Hughes doesn't play more than 8 - 10 minutes.