Along with Chicago, Jersey, the Knicks and Indy, Charlotte are one of 5 teams within 2.5 games of the (L)Eastern Conference’s 8th and final playoff spot.  While this is relatively rarefied air for the Bobcats, I’m not sure being ten games below .500 is sufficient cause for a headline reading “In His 9th NBA Stop, Larry Brown Is Winning Again”.  Perhaps being a tad closer to contention is what it will take to answer Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer‘s second-hand query, ” Brown wonders what it will take to earn the respect of NBA referees. Pretty late in the year to ask Michael Jordan to suit up, I imagine.

Some key calls and non-calls during Saturday’s 108-100 loss to Minnesota frustrated him. Brown isn’t saying those calls decided the game; he knows his defense gave up 53 percent shooting. But several judgments left him wondering.œA couple of crucial times (each game), we don’t get a call, Brown said at an optional practice Sunday. œ Emeka gets murdered in a six-point game, Randy Foye walks terribly in a big play “ twice, not once.

But it was Minnesota forward Brian Cardinal’s foul on Gerald Wallace, knocking him to the floor on a drive to the basket, that most troubled Brown.

œNo matter whether they say you went for the ball, if you hit a guy in the head it should be a flagrant foul, Brown said.

œWe don’t get respect. But the big thing is, if you don’t come out with that energy early, that sense of urgency, then shots become easier for the opponent.”