On Friday against the Nuggets, TV commentator Steve Martin announced that it was the 22nd time that Charlotte had allowed 50 points in the paint. I was absolutely shocked to hear this—shocked that it had been only 22 times (the following night against the Pistons made it 23). I could have sworn it was more, because it seems as if everyone from Chris Bosh to Kris Humphries to Kriss Kross has burned the Bobcats down low like a venereal disease.
The Bobcats’ other Achilles heel has been the third quarter, which also reared its ugly, Mickey Rourke-like head again in the Denver game. The Nuggets went on a 9-0 run about halfway through the period to turn a 2-point lead into an 11-point lead. During this same stretch, the Bobcats missed 9 shots (including a technical foul free throw and two Bismack Biyombo layups), had 2 other shots blocked (including one by Ty Lawson???), and committed 3 turnovers in a tour-de-force of incompetence. The Bobcats’ 3-point shooting also burst like the housing bubble (4-for-their-first-5, 1-for-their-last-17). Not helping was the loss of Corey Maggette, whose own Achilles heel is literally his Achilles heel. Maggette suffered an Achilles strain, meaning the Bobcats’ will be without their closest resemblance to an offensive force for at least a week. And to top it all off, JaVale McGee didn’t do anything asinine, which was really one of the few reasons to watch this game. It was like getting excited to see a Will Ferrell movie, only to have it be Everything Must Go. Instead of laughs, we got just more of the same sad, typical failure.
The following night’s loss against Detroit was actually not typical, although that arguably made it even worse. Mostly these Bobcats games are anonymous blowouts in which they shoot terribly and get dominated where it counts (on the glass and in the paint) by more capable opponents. As a result, I often feel like I’m cheering for Stormtroopers in “Star Wars” movies or Nazis in “Indiana Jones” movies. Against the Pistons, though, the Bobcats shot 46.5% from the field and were up by 8 with two minutes to go. Unfortunately, the Bobcats still managed to lose to a Brandon Knight 3-point sandwich, filled on the inside with a creamy Greg Monroe steal and a spicy layup and a foul. The city of Detroit has fallen on such hard times that one of their primary sponsors is their hospital emergency room (slogan: “Get In, Get Out, Get Back to Your Life”), so if we’re going to lose yet another game in agonizing fashion, I guess I’m happy that it’s to Detroit.
Gerald Henderson probably feels like the goat in the Piston loss: his slip led to Monroe’s steal, plus he missed the winning layup at the end of regulation, plus he slipped and lost the ball again in overtime when the team had a chance to tie. But what about the genius decision to only play DJ White for 2 minutes? In a game in which the Bobcats allowed 62 points in the paint, were outrebounded by 13, and were generally abused by the Pistons worse than John Kuester, White might have come in handy (on the plus side, in the two minutes he did play, he shot 2-for-2 with a rebound, which probably gave him a PER of a thousand). Biyombo held his own against Greg Monroe, but Tyrus Thomas still can’t box out and Byron Mullens’ attempt to get tough underneath is going about as well as his attempt to grow facial hair.
I feel the Bobcats need all hands on deck if they want to avoid historical infamy, which puts me at odds with Rick Bonnell. After the Denver game, Bonnell argued for sitting Maggette for the rest of the year. “With nothing tangible to play for (in) the season’s last month,” Bonnell asked, “What’s the point of a veteran rushing back?” I think that there is something tangible to play for: 10 wins. 10 wins are what they need so that they’re not tied with the 1972-73 76ers for the fewest wins of all time, which means they need to finish at least 3-13 over the final 16 games. And I don’t think that happens if the team lets Corey Maggette hang up the headband for the rest of the season. Right now the Bobcats are livin’ on a prayer, and someone needs to tell Corey to give it a shot.