In a whipsaw three-day period, the Bobcats got a taste of arguably the NBA’s best and worst teams. The results were predictable: against the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Bobcats had fewer answers than a Sarah Palin interview and were blown out in a disaster that left fans drooling and cross-eyed. Then against the Hornets on Monday, the Bobcats won by failing less than their even more wretched opponents (they also did the impossible by making me pity somebody else’s team).
The Thunder are (is?) the class of the league, in my opinion. Analyzing why the Bobcats lost to them is like understanding why a meth addict gets burned when he sticks his face in a blowtorch. The Bobcats were completely overpowered. In fact, I don’t think a single member of the Bobcats could start for this team, unless MAYBE you take Gerald Henderson over Daequon Cook. But then again, the only reason Cook starts is so that super-sub James Harden can come in off the bench and do things like score 33 points in 16 shots while your team tries to cover him with everyone from Kemba Walker to DJ Brown to oil slick to smoke screen. Harden is not only an easy 6th man of the year, he also tops my list of Players with Names That Sound Like Past Presidents:
- James Harden
- Roger Mason
- Richard Hamilton
- Stephen Jackson
- Richard Jefferson
Of course, I haven’t even gotten to the other superstars on the team, who lit us up on offense (63% field goal shooting—63%!!) and locked us down on defense. When we started out the second quarter going 2-for-13, Thunder play-by-play announcer Grant Long mentioned that it reminded him of how Phoenix had gone 2-for-13 against OKC two games prior. Yes, I suppose it would. Anyway, Coach Paul Silas—who spent much of the night with a facial expression that reminded me of my grandfather if you had suddenly swapped out his recording of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony with Iron Maiden’s Bring Your Daughter to the Slaughter—surrendered in the 4th quarter and pulled the starters.
Next up was New Orleans, and the first impression with them is how disproportionately loud the crowd sounds compared to how few people seem to be in the stands. Do they give every individual fan a megaphone (or maybe it was Jimmy Hart Night?)? Either way, kudos to such a lively bunch, especially considering the product on the court. And speaking of lively, how about announcer Steve Martin’s call when Tyrus Thomas drove to the hoop midway through the third quarter for a layup? His voice shot up to “The Giants win the pennant!”-levels of enthusiasm at the awesome spectacle of Thomas deciding for the first time all season to finish at the rim rather than clank a 17-footer. “Seems like forever since we’ve seen that!!” marveled an exuberant Martin. Only because it has been, Steve.
As for the game itself, much attention was rightly placed on Bismack Biyombo’s game-saving block on Trevor Ariza with no time left. But the quarter itself was overwhelmingly depressing: the Bobcats were outscored 16-12 and did everything they could to blow a 13-point lead. Particularly galling was the play that preceded Biyombo’s block. The Bobcats had possession with 31 seconds left and a 2-point lead, and the ball goes to Boris Diaw. First of all, Boris Diaw is in the game—WTF?? Second, this is the same Diaw who has been torturing us forever with his stubborn refusal to shoot. But now with the game on the line and us needing to milk the clock, he suddenly decides to fire off a terrible 3-pointer while there were 5 seconds to go on the shot clock and plenty of options closer in. Unbelievable. I’m not sure what made me happier: that they won or that we were spared of overtime.
Finally, because of all the “Noche Latina” stuff the NBA is doing, all March I’m going to post my favorite Spanish-English quirks. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m trying to learn Spanish on the cheap by watching telenovelas (that’s right, I divide my free time up between watching telenovelas and Bobcats games—might as well pass me a straitjacket). And after two years of doing this, I’ve collected a bunch of weird Spanish soap opera phrases that I find amusing. Starting with…
“Que significa esto?”
For whatever reason, in the Spanish world (at least the Spanish soap opera world), they don’t really have a straight translation for the word “meaning.” The closest thing seems to be “signifying.” So you get an unusually large amount of situations of people asking things like, “What does this signify?” (Just imagine if in English every time you were going to say “means” you say “signifies” instead, and you get the idea of how weird this sounds.) But it’s funniest when it’s said in anger. For instance, a man will walk in on his wife having sex with someone (which of course happens a lot in the telenovela world) and will angrily yell, “What’s the significance of this?!”