For the Cats, I was glad to see Coach Bickerstaff back on the scene after having to leave last night due to “light-headedness” (it was diarrhea, Coach, wasn’t it? It’s okay, you can tell us). On the other hand, I’m quickly becoming a big John-Blair Bickerstaff fan. I tend to not like things named “Blair” (e.g., witches, disgraced journalists, sycophantic British Prime Ministers, stuck-up chicks from The Facts of Life), but JB’s performance last night was solid, and that unforgettable (that is, if you happened to be one of the 5 or 6 people still watching after halftime) game against the Nets when he called for the hack-a-Jason Collins strategy is destined to go down in Bobcats lore.
Unfortunately, Okafor and Wallace missed nearly the entire second half of this game—one with a strained calf and the other with a strained groin—leaving me with strained sanity, because we were only trailing by 3 midway through against arguably the best team in the East (albeit, almost by default at this fault). Try as they did, Ryan Hollins and Eric Williams couldn’t quite replace the production, and TJ Ford was a wheeling-dealing terror all night long. Also, as is customary whenever they lose, the Bobcats shot wretchedly.
Nothing to be ashamed about with this effort, though, and I actually thought Charlotte played pretty decently on defense. Sometimes, like when Okafor and Wallace combine for 30 rebounds, you think they played well until you realize that a) most of the rebounds were offensive, or b) they were playing the 76ers. But this time they legitimately played well and clearly made adjustments from last time. For instance, they pushed out on Andrea Bargnani when he spotted up for his three’s, whereas last time he hit about a million of them uncontested from the exact same place (I remember thinking if you replayed that game in fast-forward, Bargnani would have looked like one of those nature programs where they film one tree standing still over a span of months in hyper-elapsed time). All-Star Chris Bosh was nearly invisible as well—at least until Wallace and Okafor were gone; then he became more visible than an oncoming Mack truck. They also contained Jose Calderon—again, at least while it still mattered—who frequently drives to the hoop as if he were shot out of a cannon, despite the fact that it was Jake Voskuhl who was often inexplicably covering him.
Speaking of Big Jake, how funny/excruciating is it watching him catch-and-shoot? You know how you always hear about guys trying to work on their release times and get their shots off faster and faster? Jake’s the opposite of that. Regardless of where he catches the pass, he always seems to have to dig it out and gather it up from his feet like a spilled bag of Cheese Doodles before eventually heaving it up there.
Anyway, enjoy the Oscars on Sunday, those of you who are looking forward to it (and who is not?). My only request is that Little Miss Sunshine lose in all 20 million or however many categories it received nominations. I was skeptical of this thing when it came out, but I finally rented it after seemingly everyone around me wouldn’t shut up about it. And guess what? It was annoying, boring, and after not even ten minutes I just wanted it to end (basically, it was like watching a soccer game, and all those people who kept telling me I had to see it were like soccer fans). Not only did I think it was stupid, it wasn’t even original. Dysfunctional family takes ill-fated car trip? Hmmmm, anyone ever hear of National Lampoon’s Vacation (or its multiple sequels) before? You know, basically the same thing except funny? Jesus, we have short memories—and not just normal people, either; I read a bunch of reviews and not a single critic (whose job it supposedly is to point out parallels with other films) had the guts to call it a Lampoon’s knock-off. Sad, America. Just sad.