Pathetic. Poor. Unbecoming. Deplorable. Inferior. Feeble. Miserable. Wretched. Those are some words to describe the New Jersey Nets performance tonight. And they won. So what words describe the Bobcats, who never led? There are none, other than “not again.” For a team trying to make the playoffs, games like tonight cannot happen.
I’m not going to write much, because depression is not something I need. But I’ll do what I can. Brook Lopez, the man MJ wanted in the 2008 draft, the one Larry Brown insisted be snubbed for DJ Augustin, the one who rebounds as much as Boris Diaw, went off. He had 31 points, 11 rebounds, and a posterization in 41 minutes. Lopez made Kwame Brown, Nazr Mohammed and Diaw look like statues on the defensive end, with only Eduardo Najera playing any semblance of post D on him. That’d be somewhat forgivable if the four ‘Cats big men (Mohammed, Brown, Diaw and Najera) didn’t combine for 23 points on 9-24 shooting, and going 4-7 at the line. But the Bobcats frontcourt wasn’t the only failure. DJ Augustin, matched up with the almost-Bobcat Devin Harris, went 2-10 from the field, including 0-4 from beyond the arc. DJ also had just 2 assists in his 28 minutes, making this one of his worst games of the season. Harris, meanwhile, scored 16 points and doled out 8 assists with no turnovers. The Bobcats forced just 5 New Jersey turnovers all game, a number Stephen Jackson (21 points, 5-11 shooting, 3 blocks) equaled on his own. Charlotte was out-rebounded, out-assisted, out-stolen, and out-blocked. Kris Humphries, the Nets backup power forward best known for dating a Kardashian, posted 15 points and 14 rebounds. The Bobcats did not have a single player with double digit rebounds, with Gerald Wallace leading the team at 9 to go with his 20 points and 2 blocks. Not even getting to the line for 39 free throws could save the Bobcats, and while they shot better than the Nets, New Jersey took 86 field goals to Charlotte’s 68, while getting 34 free throws, giving them a major advantage in possible points. But let’s look on the bright side. Gerald Wallace finally seems to be getting back to his pre-Silas self, and Shaun Livingston and Gerald Henderson both had double digit scoring efforts off the bench, combining for 21 points in a total of 35 minutes. And Stephen Jackson, despite once again being on the raw end of several calls and non-calls, did not once show his anger towards a referee. In fact, Eduardo Najera was the only player in the game to get a technical called on him. But this game, which put Charlotte 2 full games out of the 8th seed, and 3 behind in the loss column, can be surmised in one word: failure.