The Bobcats’ 21-point lead in the second quarter was like a violent bout of diarrhea: explosive and cathartic but with a very messy ending. At least we’ll always have that second quarter. Ahead by 3 against the Hornets, the Bobcats raced to a 10-point lead to start the second. Then Michael Kidd-Gilchrist scored 12 of the Bobcats’ next 19 points as part of a run that put the Bobcats up by 21.
Sadly, the offense dried up in the 3rd quarter like a pair of Huggies, as MKG scratched his cornea and the rest of the team shot just 11-of-29. The Bobcats still clung to a 6-point lead with 8:15 remaining in the 4th quarter, but Ryan Anderson stuck the dagger in with a go-ahead 3-pointer and Eric Gordon twisted it around with 8 points in the last 4:45.
There were a number of puzzling aspects to this game, starting with play-by-play commenter Steve Martin saying early on, “This has been another typical encounter between the Bobcats and Hornets: there’s a lot at stake.” What’s ever been at stake between these two teams? They’re both perennial cellar-dwellers. I’ve played games of Sorry! with my 5-year-old nephew with more at stake. I remain baffled by that line.
A much more inexplicable move that nearly paid off was Hornets coach Monty “Pink Drawers” Williams’ decision to keep Anderson on the bench so long. For some reason, Williams opted to go with Lance Thomas to start the game rather than an all-big frontcourt of Anthony Davis, Anderson, and Robin Lopez. Anderson didn’t come in until there was 3:30 left in the first quarter, and the same thing happened in the 3rd quarter. He ultimately played just 28 minutes, but he made the Bobcats pay for all of them with a 19-and-8 and his floor-spacing 3-point ability.
Anderson has no moves, by the way; it’s just point-and-click with him. He’s the Hornets’ Byron Mullens, except effective. In fact, Mullens needs to find out what’s Anderson’s secret. Mullens should hire thugs to kidnap Anderson and tie him to a chair. Then Mullens should approach him slowly while stroking a cat and say in a thick accent, “You and I, we are not so very different,” and take it from there.
Finally, the Bobcats also benefited early from the Hornets’ mysterious inability to finish down low. The Hornets missed 6 easy shots in the paint in the first quarter and another 4 in the second quarter; it’s like they were suffering from Mad Bismack Disease. Unfortunately, nobody misses down low like Patient Zero himself; Biyombo went 0-for-4 with a turnover. Ramon Sessions also seemed to contract the disease, as he followed up a solid night against Brooklyn with a 1-for-9 clunker, including a 3-pointer that could have tied it at the end.
We’re now at 18 losses and counting. The previously unthinkable matching of last year’s no-, no-, no-, notorious 23-game-losing streak is now very thinkable. In his “Weekend Dime” column for ESPN.com, Marc Stein mentioned a damning stat about the Nets: they don’t have a single player in the top 50 in terms of win-shares, according to basketball-reference.com. Fearing what I’d see, but unable to stop myself, I checked to see where the top Bobcat was on that list—it turns out it was Kemba Walker at 99. Then I checked the dictionary to see if there was a more severe form of criticism than “damning” and failed. Dammit.
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