The Charlotte Bobcats snapped an 18-game losing streak on Monday, by somehow topping the Chicago Bulls – on the road. I know Derrick Rose still isn’t back, but when five of Charlotte’s wins on the whole year are at home and just three are on the road, you have to stop and take notice.
Then again, after you lose so much for so long, you’re bound to trip and fall on a ‘W’ eventually, right?
Not if you asked me prior to the game. In fact, I had the Bobcats cracking 20 straight losses, and at one point pondered whether it was possible for them to go all of January without a win.
Unfortunately, that’s still a possibility. The good news for now, however, is that an awful losing streak is over, and even though it seemed like it’d never come, the Bobcats can actually get a winning streak going.
The likelihood actually increases dramatically with an equally bad Cleveland Cavaliers squad (7-26) coming into town Friday night.
Let’s take a closer look at the matchup as we try to figure out if Charlotte can get their ninth win of the season and second in a row:
1. The Point – Edge: Cavaliers
This one really comes down to Kyrie Irving versus Kemba Walker. As good as Walker has played over the course of his second season, we all have to agree he’s nowhere close to Irving as a complete point guard. Irving isn’t quite a finished product yet either, but he’s further advanced than Walker, and he’s a better point guard and arguably a better defender. Cleveland’s depth isn’t quite there with Charlotte, but from a talent stand-point the get the nod here.
2. The Wings – Edge: Bobcats
Dion Waiters has been a heck of a rookie, but I’d much rather have the size, length and shooting Charlotte has out of Gerald Henderson, Ben Gordon, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Ramon Sessions. Alonzo Gee does nothing for me and the Bobcats own this position in talent, production and depth from an overall stand-point. Waiters is more talented than any one of the guards mentioned (except for MKG, who is a small forward), but Charlotte clearly has the better collection of wing talent here.
3. The Bigs – Edge: Cavaliers
Normally I’d give Charlotte the edge with Anderson Varejao on the shelf, but with Byron Mullens also not playing right now, I just can’t. Tyler Zeller has been very impressive as a rookie, while Tristan Thompson is also tough inside. I think Cleveland has better size and more tenacity inside right now, so I have to give the edge to them.
4. The Coach – Edge: Cavaliers
Early on I really though Mike Dunlap was doing a heck of a job. The Bobcats weren’t playing great defense, but they were matching the opponent’s tempo and playing pretty competitive ball. Then that all stopped during a horrid 18-game skid. Dunlap has to shoulder a lot of the blame for that, but we also need to step back and admit, “oh, right, this isn’t a very good team”. Dunlap can only do so much, but he still has shown his rookie label a plenty through 31 games. On the other side, Byron Scott is without a doubt the better coach, but his team has been awful. However, a lot of that has to do with key players missing time at different points in the year. I know Scott has more experience and a better grasp on things, so I have to give him the edge here.
5. The Verdict: Bobcats Win
Two straight wins? Yeah, I’m calling it. Not the biggest stretch of the year, but based off of what Charlotte has done for much of the past 30 days, it can be hard to fathom. Still, I think they’re deeper and more balanced than Cleveland right now. The Cavaliers won’t own the boards like they usually can with Varejao out, which could take some second chance shots away. The Bobcats will need to be clicking off the bench to have a shot, but I think they can do it. Call me crazy, but if they can get this second straight win, they could start to get some confidence back.