Basketball

May probably out as starter tonight

Sure sounds like the Sean May-as-starter experiment is going on hold.

Charlotte Bobcats coach Larry Brown called it “a real strong possibility'' he'd alter the lineup for tonight's home opener against the Miami Heat. Either of the alternatives Brown mentioned – making Gerald Wallace the power forward or making Jared Dudley a starter – would seemingly make May a reserve.

May started all eight preseason exhibitions and the season-opener Thursday in Cleveland. His struggle to get in shape, following a 10-month recovery from knee surgery, has been an ongoing issue.

May missed all six shots from the field against the Cavaliers and Brown used him only three minutes in the second half. Following the game, Brown said it's unfair to keep playing May in his current condition.

“I didn't think he was ready to play. He can't get out on screens and he doesn't have lift right now,” Brown described. “Somehow, some way, we've got to get his weight down.”

This is a logical night to try such a move, since the Heat's front line is among the smallest in the NBA. Miami starts 6-8 Udonis Haslem at center and forwards Michael Beasley (6-9) and Shawn Marion (6-7).

Wallace and Dudley are both 6-7. Wallace has been effective in the past at power forward, but there's been concern that when he guards bigger, bulkier guys, it increases his concussion risk.

Brown didn't say who would start at small forward if Wallace shifts positions, but Adam Morrison seems a logical candidate. He shot 4-of-9 for nine points in Cleveland, after a promising preseason.

Clearly the Bobcats need some sort of shakeup; they were winless in the preseason, then shot 34 percent from the field and were outrebounded by 12 against the Cavaliers.

Rookie point guard D.J. Augustin played the most minutes among Bobcats reserves (25) in his first NBA regular-season game.

His first half was rough, particularly on defense, where Cleveland's guards had an easy time running him into screens for open jump shots. Brown said Augustin doesn't deserve all the blame for that, because there was miscommunication on some of those plays with the big men in the game.

The second half, Augustin played better, as he finished with 12 points and two assists.

Brown said the priority right now is Augustin adapting to the shorter, 24-second shot clock in the NBA. Augustin has dribbled down the shot-clock at times without creating a real advantage, only to hand the ball off to a shooter without much time to do anything.

Brown says Augustin has the quickness and ball handling to more aggressively create opportunities.

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