Knicks Fanatics’ Pre-Game Q and A with Bobcats Planet


We are pleased to start our 2010-11 series of pre-game and post-game interviews with some of the best NBA bloggers poppin’ keyboards to keep us informed about their teams.  Tonight we face the Charlotte Bobcats in the first of a home and home series,so who better to give us the inside skinny on the Bobcats than the founder of Bobcats Planet, John Pettice.  Bobcats Planet has been recognized by Deadspin as the top Bobcat Blog and it has been cited by Dime Mag, ESPN and SI since it was started five years ago.  John has agreed to answer questions before and after the games about his team.  This is Part 1 in which John gives Knicks Fanatics insight into what to expect during these next two games.  Feel free to check out more of his work at Bobcats Planet.  

Q. The Bobcats (5-8) come to New York with one less win than the Knicks (6-8) but it seems that the Bobcats, a playoff team last season, has been the victim of a strong schedule, very close losses and the getting-to-know teammates phase of the early part of the season.  Are the Bobcats what their schedule suggests or are they playoff bound again and why?

A. I would say that they are better than their schedule says they are, but just slightly. Right now the Bobcats are playing slightly above the level of a .500 team (4-2 over their last 6 games). Their 1-6 start makes them look much worse though.

Q. What should the Knicks expect in terms of the Bobcats defensive and offensive strategies against the Knicks both nights?

Stephen JacksonA. Defensively they should expect the typical aggressiveness that you get from any Larry Brown coached team, and offensively they should expect a large dose of Stephen Jackson who has been on a big roll over the last few games, including a triple-double Saturday against the Suns.

Q. Over the last three games, Raymond Felton has started to come into his own just when fans started to refer to him as Duhon II in a derogatory manner.  Can we expect Felton’s play to continue against better teams including the Bobcats and what should we expect from him during his first two years at the helm here?

A. From Raymond you are going to get toughness, loyalty and loads of intangibles. In short he will be a good solid player. Is that good enough though? In the playoffs do you really want your good solid PG matching up with the Rajon Rondos and Derrick Roses of this league? I think not.

Q. As you know, Larry Brown wore out his welcome quickly in New York as he has in many other places. Why hasn’t he left or been kicked out of Charlotte by now?  Hasn’t he gotten on everybody’s nerves yet with his incessant peeking at other positions and abuse of young players or is he different from how we knew him?

A. He is still hard on the young guys. DJ Augustin regressed last season after being tormented by Larry, Gerald Henderson was nailed to the bench his rookie season and Derrick Brown got very limited time even though he showed a lot of promise whenever he was on the court. In short, Larry is still Larry. As you guys know all too well, he is a basketball genius but a little bit nutty. One big thing that keeps him in check here in Charlotte is his Carolina connection with MJ who he has a tremendous amount of respect for.

Q. Now that Jordan is the owner, how well has he done re-branding the team  and improving its relationship with the community?

A. MJ has done a great job. He has made charitable donations, taken out full page ads and done all the right things to get the community on his side. He has handled things 1000 times better than previous owner Bob Johnson. The Bobcats relationship with the community is definitely on the rise.