Does anyone really want to get into last night’s loss to the Chicago Bulls? Okay, besides Chicago Bulls announcer Stacey King? I’ve mentioned my journalistic respect for King before, and for those of you lucky enough to be living outside the Fox Sports South region, he was in fine form last night. He’s basically the sonic equivalent of a hyena shrieking in protest over a bad call by scraping the nails of one paw against a chalkboard while firing up a power drill with the other. According to King, the Bobcats committed roughly 250% more traveling violations, 3-second violations, offensive fouls, defensive fouls, flops, illegal defenses, moving picks, goaltending penalties, and child molestation felonies than they were called for. And even though we’re a week removed from the All-Star selections, King still hasn’t gotten over Carlos Boozer not making the team, a crime against humanity that I imagine he ranks just below Dachau.
The Charlotte Bobcats have a chance at doing something we haven’t seen them do much in this 2012-13 NBA season: win consecutive games.
It comes on the road against the Chicago Bulls, but a chance is still a chance, right? Charlotte is an abysmal 5-14 on the road this year, so it won’t be easy. However, helping them out a bit is this is still a Chicago team that goes to work sans star point guard Derrick Rose, and they’re not exactly dominant at home (just 14-11).
The odds are still stacked against Charlotte winning back to back games, but this is definitely a game worth taking a closer look at. Let’s breakdown this matchup by position and see if the Bobcats stand a chance to win two in a row:
1. The Point – Edge: Bobcats
Kirk Hinrich is a defensive stalwart and actually had two really nice games lately, but his offensive is normally pretty shaky, and all the Bulls have behind him is the vastly under-sized Nate Robinson. Kemba Walker had a solid showing the last time these two teams met, so I don’t see why he can’t produce and be effective again. Ramon Sessions off the bench gives them the edge in depth and versatility, as well.
I was on the optimistic side before the season began when analyzing the prospects of the Charlotte Bobcats for the first month of the season. I was criticized a bit for predicting a 6-9 November start, and while I freely admit it was a bit of a reach at the time, it turns out my lofty expectations of a young (but talented) team weren’t so far fetched, after all. In fact, the Bobcats topped my prediction, and finished the first month of the season at 7-8.
They kickoff the month of December tonight against the Portland Trail Blazers, so it only made sense to get back to the magic eight ball and try to predict how the team will do over the course of the next month. It’s a month of giving, cheer, and holiday. Let’s see if the Bobcats will be spending it in a good mood or not as we break down and predict each game:
1. 12/3 – vs. Portland Trail Blazers (Loss)
Portland is inconsistent, but they’re bigger and stronger than Charlotte. This one could get messy at home.
2. 12/5 – vs. New York Knicks (Loss)
New York has struggled on the road a bit, but they shouldn’t in this one. They spread out the floor with the best of them and can hurt you inside and out. Their offense will simply be too much for the Bobcats in this one, as they start December 0-2.
3. 12/7 – @ Milwaukee Bucks (Win)
They’ve beaten Milwaukee before and the Bucks are a pretty inconsistent team. Charlotte can bang down low with them and they matchup well at the guard spots. It’ll be close, but I think the Bobcats get their first win of the Christmas season here.
I spent Wednesday night watching the Bobcats get pummeled by the Bulls, and then I had to spend the following morning on the subway watching this guy get pummeled by what smelled like Old Gran Dad. Both visual experiences were equally depressing. It’s just no fun watching people futilely attempt something at which they’re pathetically overmatched—whether it’s being competitive against the probable NBA Eastern Conference finalists or soberly transporting a bag of plastic recyclables.
The totality of the Bulls’ onslaught was impressive: they shot 48%, outrebounded Charlotte by 19, and they passed the ball around like it was gonorrhea, putting up 29 assists against just 9 turnovers. Just as remarkably, they spread the playing time like lard at a Cracker Barrel, with 9 guys getting 20+ minutes. They won by 32 without their reigning MVP, thanks mostly to John Lucas III, the most inspiring “Lucas” since Corey Feldman. Meanwhile, their defense, #1 in efficiency, completely sucked the life out of Charlotte, limiting them to 30% shooting—only if you round up—and clamping down on the few remaining Bobcats scoring threats. Gerald Henderson was held to just 13 points because Ronnie Brewer and Richard Hamilton were in his shorts like a catheter, and the Bulls accelerated Byron Mullens’ steady dissolution as a useful player (3-of-11 from the field and an incredible -38 +/-). All in all, it was an overwhelming display by a dominant team, flexing its championship-contending muscles.
The scene from White Men Can’t Jump where Wesley Snipes is getting hustled by Woody Harrelson keeps coming to mind when I think of this team. I picture Wesley in a Bobcats uniform with his hand in the air going, “It’s pretty! It’s so pretty!”
Then Rosie Perez stands up and yells out (in her best Puerto Rican accent), “Oh no it ain’t! Go pay your taxes!”
For those of you that do watch the Bobcats I am sure I don’t need to tell you how bad things have been. I think the game Wednesday night against the Portland Trailblazers should be treated like Lord Voldemort in the Harry Potter series; it will be “the game that will not be named.”
We knew that this season would be a tough one, but this is starting to hurt to watch; 3-20 and in the midst of an 11 game losing streak following Saturday’s game with the Phoenix Suns. When will the pain end? When will these guys win another game?
Before we figure out the best chance for that let’s take a look at what these guys are capable of and how they stack up to the rest of the league:
Before I say anything further about the Saturday night Bulls-Bobcats game, I should come clean on two things right up front: Chicago features both my most hated player and my most hated announce team. Carlos Boozer is the player, and Neil Funk and Stacey King (really just King) are the announcers. With the game only available on Chicago’s network, and with Boozer the featured player, I knew I’d be in for a gay old time.
I know professional basketball players are transient mercenaries by nature, but Boozer is by far the most overt about it. What he pulled in Cleveland—weaseling out of a verbal agreement with a kindly blind owner was Dickensian in its repugnance—and Utah (I call his behavior during his last year there “Dwight Howard-lite”) were ugly enough, but it’s even more infuriating to see him get rewarded for his chicanery with outsized, undeserved contracts every time. Even worse, he’s the ultimate empty stats guy; he’s frequently injured and he always vanishes at crunch time. Yet teams are still stupid enough to fork over money to him in heaping helpings. But therein lies the good news for us Boozer-hating connoisseurs: we’re annually rewarded for our efforts with his no-shows in the playoffs; it’s as reliably delightful as the Turner Network 24-hour marathon of A Christmas Story. The one downside is that for the foreseeable future, Boozer’s shrinkage will come courtesy of the Miami Heat—not exactly a likeable bunch themselves. I suppose I’ll view the next Miami-Chicago series with while holding my nose, like a liberal watching the Republican primaries.