Life as it happens. Time as it passes.

Cool Charlotte ‘Cats Credit Confidence and Coach

The Charlotte Bobcats are just hanging on to the final spot of the top half in the Eastern Conference, with only two wins ahead of the trailing Indiana Pacers. And they are the only other team on the top half, aside from the number seven Philadelphia 76’ers to have below .500 in games won.

But that’s just fine.

Fact is, the Bobcats would have been on a much lower spot than where they are right now. During the first 28 games of the season, they were only 9-19. And then Larry Brown was fired, after only a season of leading the newest NBA franchise to its first playoff appearance. The dismal start was just enough pressure to kick out a Hall of Fame coach. And did I mention this team is owned by Michael Jordan?

Enter Paul Silas, who was incidentally, asked to coach for a previous franchise in Charlotte, the Hornets, way back. His job back then didn’t have any difference from what he has right now–as interim coach. The role was simple–try to plug the holes before the boat fully sinks.

Seventeen games later, it seems the boat is cruising along just fine.

The Bobcats just earned their 19th win, courtesy of a 121-113 overtime victory over the Golden State Warriors. Since Silas took over, the Bobcats have been 11-6. They’ve won six of the last ten games, and what used to be a ten-game win-loss differential has been halved. The ‘Cats are now just five games away from getting to the .500 mark.

Stephen Jackson best described this sudden turn-around.

“We are a confident team right now, and we credit that to coach Silas. He gives us confidence and lets us play and it is starting to show.”

The win over the Warriors was also somewhat a sweet revenge, after the latter edged them by one point last December 31, 96-95. More personally, it was of the same sort for Jackson, who previously suited up for Golden State, but eventually took off in what was dubbed as an “ugly divorce” last season. A three pointer at the dying seconds of regulation pushed the game into overtime, and along with it Charlotte’s chances of escaping a season sweep. The rest of the game in overtime was history.

If there is anything that Silas did to restore Charlotte to its winning ways, it was simply to let the players do what they do best–play. No doubt, he still inks that whiteboard with drawings, reminders, and motivating quotes. But out in the open floor, the players are instructed to just cruise along and play smart. Silas seems to know when to let instincts rule the game, and when to let his perspective take lead. The good balance in both strategy and spontaniety by Silas seems to be the key that has given Charlotte a spot in the top half of the standings.

And a spot in the hearts of his players as well.

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