They're getting the parts about driving the ball and passing the ball.
Now comes the refresher course on chasing loose balls and minimizing turnovers.
In several ways, the Charlotte Bobcats played Wednesday more like new coach Larry Brown envisions. They were patient on offense, they rebounded and they didn't gorge themselves on 3-point attempts (5-of-10). But form didn't equal results in a 101-98 loss to the New York Knicks.
They had their chances all game, right up through Jason Richardson's failed 3-pointer with two seconds left. But when the other team scores 25 points off your 19 turnovers, the margin for error is tiny.
“We just can't turn the ball over like that, without (opponent) pressure,'' Brown said. “You've got to play perfect (when you keep doing that) and it shouldn't get to that point.''
Center Emeka Okafor had six of those turnovers and Gerald Wallace and Raymond Felton had three each. Okafor had 15 rebounds, leading to a 44-36 Bobcats advantage, but the most crucial board of the night was grabbed in by new Knicks point guard Chris Duhon.
That was with 37 seconds left, and the Knicks up three. Knicks forward Quentin Richardson missed a long jump shot, and Duhon tracked down the miss about 20 feet from the basket.
That reset the shot clock and allowed New York to continue playing keep-away.
And yet the Bobcats still had chances. Jason Richardson (17 points, nine rebounds) scored on a layup with 10 seconds left and Bobcats rookie D.J. Augustin nearly stole New York's in-bounds pass.
Augustin was falling toward the sideline with the ball and clearly mouthed “timeout'' in a referee's direction.
But officials ruled he didn't have legitimate possession in time to use that timeout.
“I was in-bounds (in the air) when I caught it, but they said you can't do that,'' Augustin said. “I didn't even jump out of bounds; I fell out (after one foot landed in-bounds,) but they said I couldn't do that.''
The Bobcats were probably lucky to be in it at that point, after Knicks reserve Nate Robinson had an incredible first half: 24 points in 13 minutes and 5-of-5 shooting from 3-point range.
But he never scored after halftime.
“He's an energy guy and he's going to do things like that,'' Jason Richardson said. “But our guys did a great job of calming him down'' the rest of the way.