I find the start to this season to be not just surprising but unfathomable. Last month if you had told me that the Bobcats would start the season 4-3 with a three-game winning streak, I would have assumed it was a sick joke. Incidentally, this also would have been my response if you’d told me they were remaking Red Dawn. But both events are now happening, and given their improbability, I’m worried that it’s more than a coincidence. What if our world and that of Red Dawn are now fusing? I half expect to look out my office window and see parachuting Russian, Cuban, and Nicaraguan soldiers in vaguely racist dark skin paint hit the ground and gun down my boss while he’s giving me a lesson on Genghis Khan. Fortunately, if this happens, I’ll know just what to do: load up my car full of Coke, get used to the taste of deer blood, and put the fate of the free world in the hands of Charlie Sheen.
On the other hand, I certainly don’t expect this to last, because circumstances have been hugely favorable to the Bobcats lately. Starting with injuries: the Mavericks were without Dirk Nowitzki and Shawn Marion, the Wizards were without John Wall and Nene, and the Timberwolves…well, there have been healthier teams emerging from plane crashes. Beyond the fortunate injury rashes, other strange stuff has been happening. For the season, Charlotte is ranked 24th in opponent 3-Pt %, but for the last 3 games they’ve been 4th. And I am here to tell you it is NOT because they’ve done a better job closing out the other teams’ shooters. Troy Murphy and his mid-80s feathered haircut were so wide open that he could have built a time machine and transported himself back to the set of Bryan Adams’s video for “Run to You.” Most Washington players, meanwhile, would rather pass a kidney stone than the ball, resulting in a 5-for-31 three-point chuck-fest. As for Minnesota, I think all lines of any kind in that game were simply contaminated. Both teams shot a combined 9-35 on 3’s and 29-51 on free throws.