The big news prior to last night’s game was that Michael Jordan sent a “State of the Bobcats”-type of letter to the season ticket holders—cool! I wonder if he gave it some sort of official “Jumpman” seal in the letterhead. Not sure if he created a Bobcats Fan Bill of Rights, but MJ basically accepted responsibility for everything except leaving customers on an airport tarmac for ten hours. Apparently His Airness is also “disappointed” with our 19 wins (although with this lineup, one wonders how many he expected at this point—22, 23?), and then he went on to say that “if you know anything about me”—which is kind of a funny line considering he’s arguably one of the 5 most famous people on the planet—“you know how much I hate to lose.” Jordan also made several guarantees that the team would begin acquiring big time free agents, which was important, because lately I’ve noticed a lot of managers are reluctant to admit that they’re always looking for ways to improve the team.
No doubt spurred on by MJ’s Address, the Bobcats looked terrific last night against New Orleans. When we last played the Hornets in November our problem was Peja Stojakovic. Not this time, as Peja not only hasn’t carried the team on his back as hoped, he also injured his back and has been gone practically the whole season. Also out for the Hornets was some guy named Marcus Vinicius, which didn’t really impact anything either way, but I wanted to mention it because having spent the previous hour watching the latest episode of Rome, it threw me for a loop.
Anyway, this time the problem was Chris Paul, who just before halftime snapped and drove to the hoop himself, like, five straight times, brought the Hornets to within ten, and then started the 3rd quarter sprinting again and briefly putting New Orleans ahead. He capped it all off by nearly getting most of the Bobcats ejected after initiating one of those shoving/pushing deals that resulted in a bunch of technicals. It was a fairly benign fracas as these things go, although I’m sure it won’t stop the New York Times, Newsweek, and possibly even The Economist from starting a new cycle of “Another Black Eye for the NBA” series of articles.
Though CP3 won that battle, it was arch-nemesis Raymond Felton and company who won the war. Rejuvenated by the weekend’s Sophomore-Rookie Challenge, in which he and Adam Morrison scored 17 and 16 points, respectively (although considering the level of defense in that game, those numbers may actually have been below average), Felton had a commanding 21 points and 11 assists while pulling triple duty (Jeff McInnis was out, and Brevin Knight…well, from now on I’ll just report when he’s in). Felton had help from the usual suspects: Emeka Okafor (16 points, 15 rebounds, 5 blocks), and Gerald Wallace (21 points, 7 rebounds), who I’d describe as “ninja-like,” except I don’t imagine ninjas often called for five personal fouls and a technical for pushing and shoving. Wallace also had an awesome slam on Jannero Pargo —not sure if it qualifies as “posterizing,” since Pargo’s only 6-1, but it was impressive
And hey, who’s that old guy running around out there, playfully goofing around with (a younger looking) Byron Scott in between drawing charging penalties—were we the ones who ended up taking a chance Scottie Pippen? Oh no, wait, it’s Derek Anderson! That’s right, he’s with us, isn’t he? Man, he’s been out for so long, I couldn’t remember if he was injured or if we’d only hired him as a part-time consultant. Derek’s Crafty Efficiency Rating has got to be among the best in the league, and he drew a huge foul at the end of the game and then sank two free throws to ice it.