Like a recurring nightmare, the Bobcats and Wizards played again on Saturday night. My first impression was astonishment at what a large, lively crowd was on hand in Charlotte. Who were all of these self-flagellators, and is there a Guinness Book of World Records category for “Most Masochists in a Single Room”? At least they were semi-rewarded with Kemba Walker’s first triple-double, Boris Diaw’s biweekly check-in from the planet Neptune, and an outcome that was a clear improvement on the four prior games. But it was still a loss, and one that makes the Bobcats officially the worst team in the league.
Besides the obvious culprits—three disastrous possessions in the last minute of play and 12 missed free throws—I want to draw your attention to a particularly vomitous sequence late in the second quarter. The Wizards were up by 3 with Jan Vesely on the line. Vesely misses the free throw, but the Wizards get the offensive board and score. Then John Wall steals it from Diaw, leading to a Wizards dunk. Then Tyrus Thomas attempts a pass to a lucky fan sitting courtside, and it’s Wizards ball and they score. Then Diaw, as if annoyed at being shown up by Thomas, throws a pinpoint pass directly to Vesely—Jake Delhomme couldn’t have done it better himself. The Wizards didn’t score on this one, because they managed a dreadful pass of their own that was stolen by Walker, who—wait for it—makes his own terrible pass back to Vesely. But wait, Vesely gives it to Nick Young, who promptly passes it right out of bounds (I swear I’m not making this up). Thomas then simply misses an 18-footer (which at this point actually counts as progress), leading to a Wall travel, leading finally to a…Walker turnover. The two teams combined for 8 turnovers in 84 seconds, 4 in a row by the Bobcats. What had been a 1-point Wizards lead was now a 9-point lead in less than two minutes. What had been the Time Warner Cable Arena should now be called the Jonestown Arena.