On the one hand, the Bobcats just lost by double-digits to a team that was down three starters and a Sixth Man of the Year candidate. On the other hand…ah, screw it, there is no other hand. This analysis will be one-handed. It killed Richard Kimble’s wife and drums for Def Leppard. Or actually, maybe there are more hands, but they’re all on the same side of the metaphorical torso. There’s the Bobcats-lost-at-home-to-a-team-that-just-lost-six-straight-road-games hand. There’s the Bobcats-were-unable-to-contain-5.9 PPG/3.7 RPG-Ivan-Johnson hand. There’s the Bobcats-allowed-48%-3PT-shooting hand. I really hate that last hand, by the way; it’s had its middle finger up at me all season.
But you play the hand you’re dealt, and once again the Hawks dealt it and the Bobcats smelt it. After four games with Atlanta this year, and even without having to worry about injured sharpshooters Lou Williams and Devin Harris, the Bobcats still couldn’t lock down Kyle Korver. Korver came out of the womb shooting 3-pointers, shucked corn as a boy in Iowa using a 3-point motion, and presumably prayed to his Jesuit deity before each of his 819 3-pt attempts at Creighton. And it’s as if the Bobcats still can’t seem to figure out what makes him tick. Korver sank 5-of-6 3-pointers, and he and DeShawn Stephenson were by themselves in the corner so often they should have been wearing dunce caps. I’m not clear if the Bobcats purposely played off Korver to focus more on clogging the lane, or they just couldn’t keep up with his curls and screen picks. And—like the current whereabouts of Sean May—I’m not sure if I want to know the answer to that question.
Of course, this is all just the Preamble to the Josh Smith Constitution. Smith brought the noise like a James Dolan-installed courtside microphone last night, getting 30 points, 13 boards, 8 assists, and 3 blocks. Without borderline All-Star cohort Al Horford by his side, Smith dominated both sides of the court anyway. I know he’s either hated by Atlanta fans or he hates them, I forget which, but if you stuck him in our frontcourt I’d gladly donate a kidney for every single suspension he gets. I completely understand the complaints about his terrible shots, because he takes 4.0 16-23-footers a game and hits 27% of them. Tyrus Thomas takes 3.6 per game and hits 33% of them, and I want to stick my scrotum in a microwave every time I see him wind up, so I get it. But man, with a PER of 17.4, the ability to stifle either the opponent’s SF or PF, and the skills and energy to deliver a net-positive of 5.2 points/100 possessions on a team that is really nothing special and actively downsizing, you’d think they’d like him a little more in the A-T-L.
I admit I might just be seeing J-Smoove through glasses colored the shade of Gana Diop’s skid marks. Our frontcourt is awkward and not pretty to begin with, and Josh Smith dumped pig’s blood all over it last night. The Bobcats’ bigs collectively scored 16 points , and Bismack Biyombo had yet another Bismack Hat Trick: 1 offensive foul, 1 goaltend, 1 traveling violation. Biyombo’s game is actually devolving at this point. His PER is down almost a full point this year compared to last, and he’s averaging fewer points, blocks, and assists despite playing more minutes. Any night now I’m expecting him to show up with webbed fingers and a partially formed tail. Meanwhile, Jeff Adrien is slowly becoming the leader of the unit, and that is NOT intended as a compliment. Adrien’s already got the best rebounding rate of the group, is tied with Biyombo for second in defensive points/100 possessions, and only Byron Mullens has a higher PER. In short, our front court is in need of a massive enema of competence to flush out its suck toxins, and if we don’t get one soon, we’re going to spend all of the second half constipated with hopelessness.
(Reminder: Please don’t forget to check out my e-book at the following link)