Okay, let’s face it: the Bobcats aren’t making the playoffs this year. Worse, they’re probably not terrible enough to get a very high draft pick. So we’re just playing it out right now, and if the Bobcats’ season were a Megadeth album, it’d be Countdown to Extinction. But I’m going to keep watching, because they play hard and because I love them. And that’s what love does to you—like my man Huey Lewis said, it’ll change a hawk to a little white dove.
And how satisfying was the ‘Cats win against Cleveland on Tuesday? The answer: very. There’s plenty to dislike about Cleveland, starting with their schizophrenic uniform selections. I mean, what was with those dark red duds they were rocking last night? Oh wait, those are their regular jerseys. The Cavs wear so many alternative and retro get-ups it ends up looking weird when they’re just dressed normally—they’re like Andre 3000 that way. Why is Cleveland so eager to celebrate its crappy past teams, anyway? Do they really feel a need to commemorate the 86-87 Cavaliers? You don’t see this with other organizations; Pepsi doesn’t occasionally put out retro six-packs of Apple Slice soda; U2 doesn’t do limited tours featuring only songs off the Pop album. And what colors are the fans supposed to get behind, the dark red? Dark blue? Gold? Pumpkin orange?
Even more of an embarrassment, however, is Cleveland’s announcing duo of Scott Williams and Fred McCleod. The two actively try to instigate fights by always painting the opposition as arrogant punks. This is fine when the Cavs are playing a good team, but why in the world would the Bobcats be acting like jerks? We’re 25-43, for God’s sake. Even if Gerald Wallace is trash-talking to Eric Snow (as they incited), it’s more ridiculous than anything else, it’s like Hans and Franz.
I can understand McCleod’s shameless antics—the man makes Tommy Heinsohn sound like Walter Cronkite—because he’s in the former player/colorman role, so that’s basically his job. But what on earth is Scott Williams’ deal? At the buzzer to end regulation, Matt Carroll grabbed a rebound and was basically chop-blocked by a Cavalier. No foul was called, which isn’t really surprising, but then Williams says, “They’re crying here in Charlotte, but the strip appeared to be all ball…(awkward pause as Williams watches replay, in which Carroll appears to be caught in the old third grade trick where one kid kneels behind him and the other guy pushes him over)…maybe he got a little of the lower body.” I’ve heard less biased commentary from Jerry “The King” Lawler. Williams also spent the game uttering little gems of incomprehension such as, “The Bobcats play quite a bit of zone from time to time.” Most egregious, however, was Williams’ mispronunciation of Walter Herrmann’s last name as “Herman,” as in “Pee-Wee Herman.” Actually, what’s funny is McCleod started off the game pronouncing Herrmann’s name correctly but gradually drifted over to the way Williams was doing it, so by the end of the game it was “Herman this” and “Herman that” out of both knuckleheads. For kicks, I actually began visualizing Pee-Wee Herman out there, getting t’d up by telling the refs, “I know you are but what am I?”
Perhaps the reason it got so annoying is because Williams and McCleod ended up saying Herrmann’s name a lot. Walter went off for 19 points and 10 rebounds in 40 minutes of action. He got plenty of run not only for his effectiveness, but also because heading into the game the Bobcats had less manpower than The View. Last night’s All-DNP Team consisted of Brevin Knight at the point, Derek Anderson at the 2, Sean May at small forward, and Emeka Okafor at the 4. I guess our injury team was short a center, but not if you count Ryan Hollins, who didn’t play.
Cleveland, meanwhile, was coming off their 8th straight win and finally seems to be clicking. 22-year-old LeBron James hasn’t played this well since he was 21, Aleksandar Pavlovic has somehow become the second good young talent (after Jason Kapono) we’ve given away in our three-year history (plus he’s gone all Fight Club on us by shaving his head and morphing into a bad-ass). And what’s the deal with Larry Hughes, is he an overrated mediocre player or an underrated good player? I can never decide. I’ve also got to hand it to Anderson Varejao—as annoying as he is, the dude takes more charges than an E-Z Pass.
Most of the game was a debacle. We were frequently down by more than ten, and we committed 20 turnovers, 9 of them by Raymond Felton. I’m starting to dread Felton’s drives to the hoop, because the other teams have learned to collapse on him—it’s like watching Daniel trying to take on 4 Kobra Kai at once. But Gerald Wallace kept us close (as usual) with 27 points, 11 boards, and 5 blocks (although that was not enough for Williams to declare that Snow “shut him down”). Adam Morrison had 13 and Carroll had 20.
In the game’s zany final minute of regulation, Carroll hit two free throws, stole an inbound, got fouled, and hit two more free throws to tie it. In overtime, first Morrison dropped a 30-foot laser-guided bomb to put us in front. Then Felton finally broke through with a drive, a lay-up, and an elbow to Varejao’s face, thereby exorcising all of his demons in one play. And then Herrmann hit a 3-pointer to ice it, which was perfect, because we got to hear Williams mispronounce his name one last time, and this time he did it all slow and dramatic: “Herman shoots, Herman scores. Walter…Herman.” I think from now on I’ll pronounce Williams’ last name “Will-EYE-ams.” Whatever…the man’s an assweepay.