The best thing you can say about the Bobcats game on Wednesday night is that there are only six more of them to go. But the second-best thing you can say is that the Bobcats came out on top against a Philadelphia 76ers team that was desperately looking to keep their playoff hopes alive. They’ll have to keep looking, though, because through a combination of Bobcat hustle and Derek Fisher’s poltergeist possessing Jrue Holiday, Charlotte came out on top. “We were able to prove again that we’re very interested in the outcome coming down the backstretch,” said coach Mike Dunlap. On behalf of Bobcats fans everywhere, we thank you for your team’s interest, coach.
The game’s beginning was certainly no bed of roses. In fact, it was more like a bed-wetting, as the Bobcats found themselves trailing by 16 early in the second quarter. Scratch that; I hate the phrase “found themselves,” as if they just woke up in a 16-point deficit. There was no existential mystery here, as the Bobcats went on a 12-minute journey of self-discovery and 2-for-15 shooting, including a collection of greatest hits from Tyrus Thomas on his late-season farewell tour: a missed 18-footer, a spectacular missed slam dunk, a missed 18-footer, and a missed 20-footer. Thomas would later miss a 13-footer and yet another 3-pointer—his fifth 3-pt attempt in the last two games…is he just trolling the Sloan Sports Conference?
Any normal 3-point team would have buried the Cats right then and there, and that’s what usually happens. But fortunately for the Bobcats, Philadelphia is coached by a man—Doug Collins—who still thinks teams should play like the 1975 Buffalo Braves. The 76ers are 26th in the league in 3-pt attempts even though they’re 14th in 3PT%. And thus there was a lot of mid-range clanking out of them—just enough to allow the Bobcats to stumble back into the game. Nowhere was this epitomized more than with Holiday, who had terrible shooting diarrhea (he finished an astounding 2-24 from the field). By early in the 3rd quarter the Bobcats had tied it, and with 5:41 remaining in the period they had lurched in front. They led for most of the rest of the way, save for brief flashes of Lavoy Allen, Damien Wilkens, and assorted other insufficient replacements for Nikola Vucevic.
It wasn’t all poor strategy and execution by the Sixers, either (though a pie chart breaking down the percentage of Bad Sixers/Good Bobcats plays would look like Pac-Man exhaling from a bong hit). Gerald Henderson splashed a turnaround 15-footer to give the Bobcats the lead for good with 33 seconds left. Then on the following possession he stole Evan Turner’s inbound pass (again, think Pac-Man halfway through listening to The Chronic) for the layup that pretty much sealed the deal. Kemba Walker played 40 minutes and went 17-10-5, and his 5 steals nearly nullified his 6 turnovers. And how about Reggie Williams going 5-for-7 with 2 3-pointers! Job well done, sir!
As a postscript to the game, Reggie would later tweet: “Tired , shuttin it down early” at 9:38 PM, only to emerge about an hour later with the following profoundly moving quote: “Just cause your pour syrup shit don’t make it pancakes Samuel L Jackson –JUICE.” I ask that if anyone else is in possession of similar words of inspiration, please pass them along to Reggie, as he is clearly a man with a passion for soaring rhetoric.
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