Maybe the Bobcats are trying to tell us, the fans, something. It could be something along the lines of “now that we have your attention we’d just like you to know that, yes, we are now a bad team”. But if you’ve followed the ‘Cats after the trade deadline you already know that they are now a “bad team”. The Bobcats are 1-5, five straight losses, since the All-Star break. Their pathetic offensive output is down to a miserable 81.2 ppg during their five game losing streak.
You know you have a problem, as an NBA team, when the guy that was your third string shooting guard and could not get on the floor is the high scorer for your team. You know you have a problem when you start a road trip and lose the first game by 25 points. I hope the Bobcats know they have a problem, because anyone watching this team knows they have problems. This team, known for defensive tenacity , does not at the moment appear capable of stopping anyone from scoring. The Nuggets had seven players score in double figures. You know you have a problem, if your calling card is defense, when you lose by 40 points. It is unfortunate that Charlotte fans have another 22 games of this until the season ends, because if this team can’t play any better than this…it will not end soon enough.
The All-Star break is over and teams returned to play, after a much-needed rest for most, including the Bobcats. Charlotte and Toronto started the game with strong offensive first quarters. Players were hitting their shots and players on both teams looked like they had fresh legs after the break. The ‘Cats ended the first quarter with a 33-27 point lead and never looked back.
Charlotte, led by DJ Augustine with 23 points and Gerald Wallace with 20 points, had five players scoring in double figures. The ‘Cats also had single digit turn overs, 9, which helped them control play over the last three quarters. Nazr Mohammed led Bobcats re-bounders with 14 off the bench, and Boris Diaw had 9 assists followed by DJ Augustin with 8. Stephen Jackson left the game with what was described as a pulled hamstring; we can only hope that this is not a serious injury.
The Bobcats, coming off a very large win over the Lakers, traveled to Chicago for another back-to-back game. The ‘Cats squared off against the third seed in the Eastern Conference, the Chicago Bulls. Tired legs showed for the ‘Cats, but they managed to keep the game close going into the third quarter down by only five points. The Bulls rolled off an 8-0 against the ‘Cats after a couple of minutes into the fourth to pull ahead by 13. But tired legs finally caught up with the Bobcats, that and turn overs, short shots, and defensive lapses over the last six minutes gave the Bulls 106-94 win over the ‘Cats.
There have been many Charlotte games when Gerald Wallace and Stephen Jackson had off nights and fans hoped other players would step-up, most of the time that never happens, but tonight the ‘Cats had four players scoring in double figures – Jackson was one, but three Bobcats not named Jackson or Wallace helped on the offensive end. Boris Diaw, 18 points, Gerald Henderson, 22 points, and Shaun Livingston, 13 points, all stepped up offensively but it was obvious the ‘Cats were tired. The Bobcats had too many turn overs, 14, missed too many three point attempts, 2-11, and gave up too many points behind the arc to the Bulls, 7-14. Charlotte was also out-rebounded by the Bulls, 38-36. It was a tough loss for Charlotte on a night they could have gained ground against a Pacer team that lost to the Heat 110-103.
The Bobcats played the first quarter with a sense of intensity their fans had been hoping to see. They matched the Hawks to end the first quarter with a 27-27 tie. The second quarter saw the “Hyde” versus the Dr. Jekyll of the first. The Hawks scored 18 unanswered points before the ‘Cats managed to score from two DJ Augustine free throws. The Bobcats made some solid defensive stops but the Hawks took a half-time lead, 52-39, into the break. The first half was won by the Hawks but the second half, and game, was owned by the ‘Cats.