There’s no other way to put it: last night’s 122-95 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers was an inexplicably savage butchery. I’m at a total loss for words. I guess that’s not technically true, otherwise I couldn’t be typing anything. But still, after every few sentences I manage to force out, I stare at the box score in mute horror. I wish I had as strong a stomach as coach Dunlap apparently does. After reviewing the statistical bloodstains and brain matter from the Cavs’ slaughter, coach Dunlap merely commented, “There are three or four of those that happen to you. They’re not pretty.” A) Duh. B) This was actually the 5th time this season that the Bobcats have lost by 25 or more, so I would challenge coach Dunlap to revise his definition of “those.” He also added that the team’s “physical effort was unacceptable—our front door and our back door is effort.” Okay, but the rest of the house is a meth lab, and that falls on every executive on the team who let it come to this.
I say that because the Bobcats’ roster is pregnant with suckage right now. There’s no other reason why they would drop a game that brutally to an opponent that’s 15-34. I realize that the Cavs recently beat Oklahoma City, and I know they have a budding superstar in Kyrie Irving. Still, other than Irving, Cleveland doesn’t have a single regular with a PER of higher than 16.2. And Irving wasn’t even on the court in the second quarter when Cleveland went on a 12-0 run to push the lead to twenty-freakin’-one. Supposed draft bust Tristan Thompson shot 7-for-8 for 17 points and was joined by fellow supposed draft bust Dion Waiters (19 points) as the scoring leaders behind Irving. Collectively, Cleveland shot 56.5% and well over half of their buckets were assisted. Of course, it’s easy to shoot well when most of your attempts are within dear antler spray range: Cleveland finished with 50 points in the paint, even though just 9 of their points were on fast breaks. The Bobcats’ defense remains the worst in the league, hands down, hands up, hands doing a gangnum-style horsey gesture.
Still, even given a team that couldn’t guard a bowl of broccoli from Chris Christie, Dunlap’s got to do better than this. Having given up 65 points at intermission and trailing by 24, God knows how Dunlap handled the locker room at halftime. I wouldn’t have blamed him if he stood there silently for two minutes as Kemba Walker pleaded for another opportunity and then brutally stabbed someone at random with a box cutter. I’m guessing he didn’t, though. Instead he did the next most horrible thing by throwing Tyrus Thomas out there to start the 3rd quarter, and the Cavaliers’ lead eventually swelled to 30 before Cleveland called played their scrubs for virtually all of the fourth quarter (in fairness to Thomas, who’s been an abject failure for the past of two seasons, he was merely a regular failure last night; in fact, he managed to finish a miraculous even in the +/- column).
This was easily the most miserable viewing experience of the season, helped in no small part by Cleveland announcers Fred McLeod and Austin Carr. Carr is merely a catchphrase-drooling cheerleader nowadays, while McLeod literally screams after each Cleveland basket as if it had been taken from midcourt. And he had plenty to scream about last night, as I’ve just laid out. The Bobcats are the NBA’s wellness clinic right now; mediocre and injured teams are given performance enhancers in bagfuls of terrible defense.
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