In an article on Thursday, coach Mike Dunlap said, “We really want to get to 20 wins. It would be important. We wanted to get around tripling our win rate from last year.” After defeating the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday for their 19th win, the Bobcats are almost there. Technically they already are there, as 19 is “around triple” 7, right? Yes, 7 just goes into 19 twice when you try to divide it, but there’s a big remainder. Either way, Dunlap’s interview was like Rand Paul’s speech at Howard—it probably came from a good place, but it just made everyone feel worse.
Dunlap’s biggest unintended elbow-to-the-testicle was this line: “20 wins would be special if we could do that. It’s something that would be the first step in a long journey to get this organization into the playoffs.” The thought of this year just being the “first step in a long journey” toward the playoffs is like contemplating the number of burning souls in hell. Fortunately, the article ended on an upbeat quote: “There’s process and there’s results. Unfortunately up here the process sometimes is slower than people want and the results aren’t quite what they want. But it’s our job to stay the course.” In other words, fans, don’t pay attention to the process, which is slow; instead, focus on the results, which…aren’t what you want, either. Wait, coach, when you give us one of these lines about “process” and “results,” one of them is supposed to be going well!
In any event, the Bobcats are staying the course, no doubt about it. Unfortunately, that course is called the Leave Three-Point Shooters Wide Open And Hope That They Miss Grand Prix. Against the Pistons on Friday night, the Bobcats allowed 12-of-18 shooting from behind the arc in a humiliating 20-point blowout. The following night the Bucks shot 9-for-29 from distance, and if you think that’s because the Bobcats guarded the perimeter, Kobe Bryant’s got an Achilles tendon he wants to trade you. The Bucks’ shooters were more open than an IHOP table next to the men’s room; they just went cold (and sat Brandon Jennings). Monta Ellis went 1-of-5 on 3-pointers and JJ Redick “around doubled” him: 2-for-11 (side note: why is he still being booed so much? His Duke career: 3 Sweet Sixteens and 1 Final Four, and a 6-3 record against UNC—not exactly Christian Laettner territory. Meanwhile Mike Dunleavy, another white ex-Duke player playing right beside Redick, went 7-1 against Carolina and won a national championship and remains completely anonymous). Watching Kemba Walker try to guard Ellis is like watching a minstrel trying to please King Joffrey; nothing works and it usually ends ugly. Walker tried playing off Ellis and playing him tight; either way Ellis had open looks. Again, this was fortunately one of those games in which the other team missed a ton. Plus Larry Sanders sat and Ellis himself only played 30 minutes.
But still…19 wins! “The season has not gone the way we expected,” said Bismack Biyombo afterward, “But over time little things are getting better.” I’m curious as to what exactly Biyombo expected this year, but little things are getting better, including his rebounding ability. Biz had 17 rebounds last night, and his overall rebounding rate has improved from 14.5% last year to 15.3% this year, which is exactly equal to Blake Griffin’s rate. On the other hand, Biz’s PER and block percentage are down, and his turnover rate is an identically putrid 17.2%. So perhaps I should just close out on the words of the Great Communicator himself, Mike Dunlap, who said after the game that Charlotte fans are “seeing something out on that floor that’s hard to describe. I’ve heard we’re doing really well in our retention of our fans. So the point is that there’s signs that are really hard to articulate, but they’re happening.” Winston Churchill, your move.
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