Like a recurring nightmare, the Bobcats and Wizards played again on Saturday night. My first impression was astonishment at what a large, lively crowd was on hand in Charlotte. Who were all of these self-flagellators, and is there a Guinness Book of World Records category for “Most Masochists in a Single Room”? At least they were semi-rewarded with Kemba Walker’s first triple-double, Boris Diaw’s biweekly check-in from the planet Neptune, and an outcome that was a clear improvement on the four prior games. But it was still a loss, and one that makes the Bobcats officially the worst team in the league.
Besides the obvious culprits—three disastrous possessions in the last minute of play and 12 missed free throws—I want to draw your attention to a particularly vomitous sequence late in the second quarter. The Wizards were up by 3 with Jan Vesely on the line. Vesely misses the free throw, but the Wizards get the offensive board and score. Then John Wall steals it from Diaw, leading to a Wizards dunk. Then Tyrus Thomas attempts a pass to a lucky fan sitting courtside, and it’s Wizards ball and they score. Then Diaw, as if annoyed at being shown up by Thomas, throws a pinpoint pass directly to Vesely—Jake Delhomme couldn’t have done it better himself. The Wizards didn’t score on this one, because they managed a dreadful pass of their own that was stolen by Walker, who—wait for it—makes his own terrible pass back to Vesely. But wait, Vesely gives it to Nick Young, who promptly passes it right out of bounds (I swear I’m not making this up). Thomas then simply misses an 18-footer (which at this point actually counts as progress), leading to a Wall travel, leading finally to a…Walker turnover. The two teams combined for 8 turnovers in 84 seconds, 4 in a row by the Bobcats. What had been a 1-point Wizards lead was now a 9-point lead in less than two minutes. What had been the Time Warner Cable Arena should now be called the Jonestown Arena.
There’s also that defense. Though he contained Wall with some success, Walker gets blown by so often he ought to man the air traffic control tower in Top Gun. In the previous night’s game against the 76ers, Jrue Holliday and Lou Williams embarrassed him so badly and so repeatedly that I had one of those awful, Dead Zone-style premonitions in which I spend the next 3 years of my life watching this dreck until I eventually throw myself out of the window (I’m on the first floor of my apartment, so I just end up bruising myself on my landlord’s plastic Hanukkah menorah lawn decoration, but it was disturbing nonetheless). Philadelphia’s announcers, Malik Rose and Marc Zumoff, correctly noted that Charlotte is 27th in defensive efficiency, which I found shocking—shockingly high, that is. How are there 3 teams worse than us? It’s true, though, and it’s Sacramento, Detroit, and New Jersey. (Also, shout out to Rose and Zumoff for a) using an efficiency-based stat rather than PPG; and for b) being inexplicably complimentary to the Bobcats the entire evening. My favorite example was with Diaw, whom Rose called “extremely talented” and only overweight “right now,” as if it were a recent and temporary condition.)
Coach Silas actually got ejected in the Philly game, presumably so he could go to the locker room and gouge his eyes out with a spoon in response to the horror he was witnessing. Or is about to witness: Charlotte now faces 3 road games against the West (doesn’t even matter who—every team in the West is miles ahead of Charlotte) and one at Boston. There’s also no end is sight for the injuries to DJ Augustin, Corey Maggette, DJ White, and Gerald Henderson (props to Hendo, though, for at least trying to play against Philly, though he could do little more than lumber around painfully, like a Gana Diop mini-me). Anyone have any Kool-Aid? You know the flavor I need.