“We kind of know that OKC is a test for us, we failed it miserably,” coach Dunlap said after the Bobcats were beaten by a number so huge that it needed to be written in scientific notation. He’s right about Charlotte failing miserably. This was their first test against a traditional powerhouse, and it went about as well as the first test of Ed 209 in Robocop. In a 114-69 obliteration, the Oklahoma City Thunder played the role of Ndamukong Suh and the Bobcats played the role of Matt Schaub’s groin. Other than OKC fans, the only people happier after this experience have to be the Baha Men, thanks to OKC’s relentless playing of “Who Let the Dogs Out” after every big play by the Thunder.
Of course, going into the game I wasn’t hoping for much; my Low Expectations Oven had been pre-heated to 400°. I knew Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook were going to be completely overwhelming, but I expected the Cats to be no more than “whelmed” by the rest of the Thunder. Instead, Thabo Sefolosha dropped bombs on your moms, going 4-8 on 3-pointers. And there’s no way on earth that the Thunder had only 7 blocks, I don’t care what the stat sheet says. Serge Ibaka had to have had that many swats alone, and trying to finish off a drive in the Thunder’s paint was like playing a carnival game; it was damned near impossible to finish anything. Hasheem Thabeet, looking like he’d just gotten out of bed/electrocuted, finished 5-6 and had a double-double. The Thunder were off and rolling to an easy victory nearly immediately, and not even Haruki Nakamura could have interfered.
Then again, Charlotte’s overall lack of fight was dismaying. Other than Jeff Taylor (are he and Thabo members of warring Nordic-Saxon clans?), there was very little that was funky in this bunch. Much was made of Westbrook’s comically botched slam in the 2nd quarter, but the only reason he was in that position was because he stole a Ben Gordon pass that was lazier than Biggie Smalls’ eye. Meanwhile, Byron Mullens, whom I expected to be out for revenge after the Thunder basically left him handcuffed to a pipe on a zombie-infested rooftop last year, went a meek 3-11 from the field. You could also see the Bobcats resorting to desperation 3’s very quickly in that infamous 2nd quarter, chucking up 10 of their eventual 22 treys and only hitting two of them. Charlotte also gave up the ball in the first half like it was Peter King’s phone number (11 TOs), and their defensive strategy was essentially Hack-A-Thunder, as they committed 13 fouls before intermission. Thus, fairly quickly into the 3rd quarter both teams emptied the bench. All in all, the Bobcats dropped a turd so huge in this one that it’s going to take several flushes to drain it from the toilet of my memory.
Speaking of which, the Bobcats need to get their shit together faster than a fresh pair of Depends. Their home-heavy slate of games against the second-easiest schedule in the league is about to rev up, starting Wednesday in Atlanta. And judging by the looks on their distraught faces on the bench last night, you would have thought the team just watched a school bus full of nuns explode. Therefore coach Dunlap needs to provide some emergency TLC, and stat.
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