Bismack Biyombo is on his way, he’s making it. Asked by Stephanie Ready what was going through his mind in the frantic final 28 seconds of zaniness that led to a Bobcats win over the Toronto Raptors, Mack answered, “We have done a pretty good job as a team, and it was just big time.” How has his play and the team’s play been different lately? “The effort and the energy…it was just big time.” Has it been tough with Gerald Henderson and Tyrus Thomas’s injuries? “Just seeing a big time player go down…” You get the idea.
The Bobcats are now 6-4. Considering that the Cats were 7-59 last year, I thought we were a long way off from ever starting out a season 6-4 again. In fact, the next time I thought I would write that the Bobcats were 6-4, I’d be preceding it with, “Captain’s log, star date…” But Great Caesar’s Ghost, we’re here, and Bismack was a huge part of the latest triumph. The Congolese Nightmare had 11 points, 8 boards, and 2 blocks, none bigger than the Heisman he delivered on DeMar DeRozan’s layup attempt with 14 seconds left. This was part of a desperate sequence that featured two blocks, a huge pileup, and 5 missed shots on the hoop by the Raptors to preserve a 1-point Bobcats win—the whole thing was reminiscent of one of those cartoon chases where some object keeps getting swiped back and forth.
The other star was Jeffery Taylor, who had the other block at the end, this one on Kyle Lowry. Taylor also showed some great versatility: not only did he hit a 3-pointer, he put his thing down, flipped it, and reversed it in converting a steal from Biyombo into a highly tricky layup. And Taylor was huge in containing Lowry late in the game, especially when it looked as if he might take over.
Referred to as the “saviour” in a recent Toronto Sun article, Lowry menaced the Bobcats all night with 4 3-pointers, 3 blocks, and 2 steals. But in the end, the saviour proved to be human. In fact, he was more human than human. He had three critical turnovers (“turnouvers?”) and shot an utterly brainless 3-pointer with 1:15 to play and the Raptors holding a 3-point lead. This led to a Kemba Walker layup and a foul, followed by Ramon Sessions hitting his second game winner in a row: a 16-footer that bounced more times than a check from MC Hammer before falling in. And then came those 28 seconds.
“We’ve got a good one here,” declared commentator Steve Martin, about midway through the 3rd quarter of a game that was tight throughout. “If you like basketball,” added color man Dell Curry, somewhat unnecessarily, because I don’t know of any other reason why someone would be watching the telecast in the first place. I’m pretty sure I like basketball, but I don’t know how many more of these I can take. These games haven’t just been nail-biters, they’ve been LeBron James Nail-Biters. Coach Dunlap said that the Bobcats were getting by on “two-thirds willpower and one-third technique,” which I guess was intended as a compliment (?), but the Bobcats are getting exceedingly lucky, too. Offensively, they’ve got just the 22nd most efficient team in the league; defensively, they’ve got the 13th. They have the 22nd ranked strength of schedule and a Pythagorean expected win-loss record of 4-6, which would put them at 21st in the league. Long story short, I fear that we’re in for a rude awakening sooner or later. Then again, Pythagoras believed that souls were reincarnated through beans, so what does he know?
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