The Heat is on. On the street. Inside your head. On every beat. Caught up in the action, the Bobcats were looking out for LeBron James and company on Sunday night, but they were unable to slow down the Miami force of nature that blew through them like a 1985 saxophone riff. True to their M.O., Miami kept the foreplay up deep in the second half, allowing the Bobcats to stay within 5 points as late as 7:30 into the third quarter. But that’s when the necking and heavy petting ended, and James delivered money shot after money shot, as the Heat straddled the 3rd and 4th quarters with a 26-5 scoring orgy that climaxed in a 32-point blowout, 109-77.
Along the way, the Bobcats set the unofficial record for most NBA game recaps featuring the word “drought”; sometimes I can’t tell if I’m reading about the Bobcats or Sudan. “Once they got settled in, started making plays,” said guard Gerald Henderson afterward, “They got back into the game and we also went on a long drought where we couldn’t score the ball.” Particularly parched were Byron Mullens (2-of-8 overall, 1-of-5 from 3-point range) and Ben Gordon (0-of-7 overall, 0 (obviously)-of-3 from 3-point range). Overall the Cats generated a shooting percentage so tiny (33.7%) that Rick Moranis accidentally ate it with his Cheerios. Without a large, mobile, athletic big (or even one of the above), the Bobcats were forced to work the ball around the horn and hoist up a comical 25 3-pointers. “We ran into some dry spells and we settled for way too many 3s,” coach Mike Dunlap said. “At the end of the game we had 25, and that’s not who we are.”
No, coach, in fact we’re much worse. Bismack Biyombo’s shooting chart is so red you could find Mao Tse Tung quotes in it. He’s basically not effective from anywhere on the court. According to his stats on NBA.com he’s only shooting 47% from dead-on, point-blank range, where he’s gone 113/239 this year. He somehow stumbled in to double-figures against the Pistons on Saturday night, and when Steve Martin said it was his first double-digit scoring night since January 26th, I was genuinely waiting for him to specify which year. It was only when he didn’t that I realized it was this year.
Biyombo’s certainly not alone, just the most obvious. In that Pistons game, which the Bobcats ended up dropping by one point, the Mullens-McRoberts-Biyombo-Adriens concoction took just 6 shots in the paint. If you look at their numbers for the season, it’s easy to see why the Bobcats have gone through PF/C combos like Spinal Tap through drummers or Murphy Brown through secretaries. I just told you about Biyombo, so no reason to exhume that carcass again. For the others, Mullens (55%) is decent from the paint, but he only takes 25% of his shots there, and he’s not really effective anywhere else other than the corner-3 spot and the top of the left elbow (from which he’s shot a combined 5% of the time; Mullens is seriously making me wonder if he spent his childhood on a farm literally beating dead horses). Adrien (42% from the paint) is stiffer than John Holmes in 1975. Only McRoberts’ numbers (54% in the paint, representing 48% of his shots) are both decent and normal. But still, when you compare these numbers to someone like (and boy am I loathe to do this) Carlos Boozer, who hits 58% of his shots in the paint and no worse than 35% anywhere else, and about 80% of his shots are coming from in the paint or just outside it, well, you get the kind of games that only Glenn Frey would appreciate.
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