The Bobcats added two more losses to their dossier over the weekend, one a near miss and the other a far miss. Even the relatively close loss to the Pacers on Saturday would need to have an asterisk the size of Bismack Biyombo making a snow angel, because Indiana was without their best player, Paul George. The loss on Friday to Toronto was simply an undistilled humiliation; it was humiliation moonshine. The Bobcats might as well have played the game wearing red ball gags. For fans, every simple and advanced metric of our team generates a stench of losing with long-term rancidity. The best we can hope for is more articles like this one, in which members of the team are reduced to congratulating themselves for not brawling with each other.
These last two losses could also be titled “Revenge of the Obscure Bobcats.” The Raptors now prominently feature former Bobcat Alan Anderson, and the Pacers played ex-Cat Dominic McGuire (and DJ Augustin, but I wouldn’t call him “obscure”; at least, not without calling him many other things first). I have to admit, I consider myself to have an encyclopedic knowledge of the Bobcats, and I’m drawing a total blank on Mr. Anderson (side note: could there be a more useless encyclopedic knowledge of something? Maybe an encyclopedic knowledge of greeting cards for pets?). This is actually not necessarily a bad thing; for instance, I remain tortured by quite vivid memories of Primoz Brezec. Even writing his name as “Mr. Anderson” just now makes me feel like I must have made some sort of stupid Matrix/Agent Smith-type joke about him circa 2006, but I don’t think I did—probably because I was too busy making jokes about Brezec. But anyway, Anderson, McGuire, and Augustin are now all having the last laughs.
That is, if they actually care. I’ve never really put much stock in “revenge” angles in sports. I certainly don’t do it to the level that Bill Simmons does. See his latest mailbag article for a perfect example of this; Simmons essentially portrays Packers QB Aaron Rodgers as a character in a Tarantino-revenge story. Even if Rogers does feel a high level of vitriol against the 49ers for a slight that happened 7 years ago, it’s overly-simplifying the game of football—with its numerous random occurrences and the fact that each team typically plays more than 30 different players a game—to think that a lone avenger is going to have that much of an impact on the outcome. Sometimes I get the feeling that if Simmons was a military historian, he would make conclusions such as, “The US won WWII because it was out to prove that WWI wasn’t a fluke.” It’s perhaps more realistic to think that vengeance is a factor in a more contained sport like basketball, and maybe it was fueling Augustin’s performance (he finished with 18 points). But even in Augustin’s case, it was his second confrontation with Charlotte since the team opted not to re-sign him, and he was awful in his first showing.
Besides, with a team like Charlotte, how can we separate out vengeance from simple putridity? Both Indiana and Toronto are playing really well—especially lately. Both teams are a combined 11-3 in their last 14 games and have been punching well above their weight with victories over some of the best teams in the league; it’s like they’ve been taking Limitless pills. But that doesn’t excuse the Bobcats from being down to Toronto by twenty just 3 minutes into the second quarter. Nor does it give the Bobcats license to allow 11-of-28 in 3-pt shooting to Indiana, a team that is just 14th in attempts and 23rd in percentage in the league from downtown. This is a team that doesn’t even want to shoot 3-pointers—in fact, throughout the game, commentator Austin Croshere kept chastising the Pacers for not establishing their post game, even as they kept sinking 3’s. But any professional NBA team can’t help but shoot 3’s if you’re going to leave them more wide open than a drive-in theater showing Cloud Atlas.
The Bobcats are so vividly sucky right now—especially on defense—it’s like looking at high-def suck on IMAX with Dolby surround sound. It’s like being the guy in the old Maxell tape ad sitting in the armchair and having his tie blown away by the suckage; or the footage of guys in wind tunnels with their faces getting flattened. We’re trapped in a suck IMAX wind tunnel of Maxell tapes dunking on Primoz Brezec, all being controlled by a vengeful DJ Augustin. No wonder I can’t remember Alan Anderson.
(Reminder: Please don’t forget to check out my e-book at the following link)