The Charlotte Bobcats used a long layoff to make a coaching change. They didn’t need to go far for the hire.
Paul Silas returns to the bench for the first time in over five years Monday night when the struggling Bobcats host the Detroit Pistons.
Charlotte (9-19) saw its season-worst losing streak stretch to four with Tuesday’s 99-81 loss to Oklahoma City, getting outscored 31-12 in the fourth quarter. The skid is part of a 1-6 stretch that includes three losses by more than 30 points.
With five days off between games, changes were made Wednesday as coach Larry Brown stepped down and was replaced by Silas on an interim basis.
“This was a difficult decision for both of us, but one that needed to be made,” owner Michael Jordan said. “I want to thank Larry for everything he has done for our team. He has played a key role in this organization’s development including coaching us to our first-ever playoff appearance last season.”
Silas, 67, is known for coaching the Hornets for five seasons, with the final one coming in 2002-03 after their relocation from Charlotte to New Orleans. He last coached in the NBA with Cleveland in 2005.
Silas has made Charlotte his permanent home and said that he would not have come out of retirement for any other job, calling it “a dream come true.”
He’s attempting to turn the Bobcats into an up-tempo, offensive-minded team in an effort to help improve upon their 91.8 points per game, ranking 29th in the NBA. They’ve averaged 80.2 points over the last four games.
“I want to bring some energy to this ball club,” Silas said. “I want us to get up and down and let it all hang out. If they don’t want to get up and down, they can come sit down by me.
“The guys just have to get out and play and believe in themselves and believe that I believe in them. I’ve found that if you have a confident player, it’s unbelievable what he can do.”
Stephen Jackson, the team leader with 17.3 points per game, is confident in Silas’ system – a departure from the scheme under Brown. He averaged over 20 points playing a similar system with Golden State from 2007-09.
“It’s rejuvenating,” Jackson said. “The styles are like night and day. Hopefully this will bring some life to us and give us some confidence and get us playing well again. Up-tempo, we’ve got a great group of young guys and this fits their style. Hopefully we can do a good job at it and enjoy it because it’s definitely fun.”
The Bobcats have won their last two home games over the Pistons (10-20), but lost 97-90 in Detroit on Nov. 5 despite getting 28 points from Jackson.
The Pistons are among the worst road teams in the league at 3-12. However, they won 115-93 at Toronto in their most recent away contest Wednesday, ending an eight-game slide as the visitor.
Detroit failed to build on that Sunday, falling 95-92 in overtime at home to Chicago. A glaring weakness against the Bulls was in the paint, where the Pistons were outscored 46-34 while being outrebounded 55-39.
Ben Gordon is averaging 25.5 points in his last four meetings with Charlotte, scoring 20 on Nov. 5. The guard hasn’t been effective over his last two games overall, though, totaling 11 points while making 4 of 13 shots.
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