Byron Mullens, who had vowed not to shave his beard until he had boxed someone out on a rebound, finally showed up clean-shaven in Saturday night’s loss to the Nuggets. That was about the only good news in the drama-free blowout, as Mullens had begun to resemble either a man who had crashed headlong into a beaver at 80 mph or an unusually tall hostage. And speaking of tall, white, underwhelming rebounders with experimental beard tendencies, Josh McRoberts made his debut for the Bobcats. I had forgotten to mention this about McRoberts when I recapped his acquisition on Thursday, but it’s definitely one of his positive traits. In fact, if there was such a thing as beard efficiency, McRoberts would be putting up LeBron numbers—he’s done every look from Unibomber mountain man to 6’10” marine. His hirsute strength makes up for his Twitter absenteeism—according to his account he’s still a member of the Los Angeles Lakers.
“I don’t remember us having a game like that where we got outrebounded that bad,” Bobcats guard Ben Gordon said, after the Bobcats were outrebounded by 29 in a home loss to the Indiana Pacers. Actually, it would be weird if Gordon could remember being outrebounded that bad, because it’s literally never happened in the team’s history. In his post-game blog, the Observer’s Rick Bonnell wrote, “I started covering the NBA in 1988 and I can’t remember a team being outrebounded by 29.” At least these guys have their answers ready if they’re ever forced to testify on rebounding in a Senate hearing.
I can understand Gordon’s remarks, which were made in a post-game environment, while he’s physically and emotionally drained and presumably without an online search engine nearby. But it seems odd for Bonnell to just throw that line out in an article and not follow up with a quick query to see how often a team has been outrebounded by 29 or more since 1988. Because it’s a blog, we know he’s got internet access, and considering that the Miami Heat were just outrebounded by 28 a few days ago, it might not exactly be a black swan event. So I decided to undertake the search myself. I put on a fedora, hummed the theme to Raiders of the Lost Ark, and googled “outrebounded by 30.” I actually didn’t get much, so I tried it again, this time using a hyphen between the “out” and “rebounded.” Still nothing. Hmm. This was harder than I thought. It was starting to seem like Rick was right not to bother. Or maybe he had bothered and couldn’t finish; he was the digital equivalent of Chester Cobblepot in Goonies.
I’ll start off with a full confession: I didn’t see the second overtime of the Bobcats win against Washington, because I had recorded the game and only gave myself a half-hour buffer afterward. But even if I had been watching the game live I might not have seen it, because I probably would have passed out from the agony of the regulation and the first OT—I was the Steve Austin to that game’s Bret Hart, and I was caught in the sharpshooter. Thus after dealing with the several minutes of suspended, tortured horror that was Chris Singleton’s free throw sequence to end the first OT, I had to do the thing in which I raced to the computer to look up the score…and the computer was loading really slow…and when the screen finally populated, the first thing I saw was this totally indeterminate picture of Michael Kidd-Gilchrist:
Finally, though, I saw Rick Bonnell’s headline and write-up, and thus did Rick deliver me from my suffering. You’re beautiful in your way, Rick, ‘cause God makes no mistakes.
But first, let’s tackle the Atlanta Hawks game, which took place the night before. Even with a good visiting team in the house, the crowd was somewhat listless, which I chalked up to Black Friday fatigue. It’s so depressing to see such mindless consumerism devour people’s souls, a fact I noted to Siri in my brand new iPhone 5. As it turned out, the crowd didn’t miss too much, because Atlanta was firmly in control of this game from start to finish. Seemingly every time the Bobcats got it close, Atlanta it would answer with a devastating 3-pointer. You know what, I don’t even think it was “seemingly,” I think it was literally:
- Devin Harris made it 29-21 after the Bobcats had cut the lead to 5
- DeShawn Stephenson made it 39-33 after the Bobcats had cut it to 3
- Jeff Teague made it 42-36 after the Bobcats had cut it to 3
- Kyle Korver made it 60-53 after the Bobcats had cut it to 4
- Korver made it 65-57 after the Bobcats had cut it to 5
Bobcats GM Higgins Narrows Coaching Search Down to “Somebody Who Wants to Win” (Part 1 of Blogcat’s Season Recap)
Last week, the Bobcats decided not to bring back Coach Paul Silas for the 2012-2013 season. Though it should be noted that they’re keeping him on as a consultant, which—given this team—is arguably a crueler thing to do than simply firing him. Anyway, the search is now on for his replacement. Besides the qualities mentioned in the headline, GM Rod Higgins told the Charlotte Observer’s Rick Bonnell that the Bobcats are looking for someone who views the job as an “opportunity” and stresses that he doesn’t necessarily have to be an ex-NBA coach. Bonnell somehow found this gibberish insightful enough to produce several articles’ worth of analysis, including one with an elaborate 3-legged stool metaphor. Poor Rick.
And speaking of “stools,” let’s talk about last season. Now that we’re a week removed from harmful exposure to the carcinogenic 2012 Bobcats, yet still comfortably far off from the lottery, it’s time to reflect on what has happened…before the slowly-but-steadily increasing anxiety at the thought of losing the lottery completely devours my brain like Kahn’s ear worms in Star Trek 2. Like my midseason recap/toxicology report, I’m going to go through each player in descending order of playing time (which also means I’ll be going through each player in descending order of my mental sanity). We’ll see how far I can get, but chances are we’ll have to break this column up into a few parts; otherwise I’ll just collapse to the floor and start laughing hysterically like Tom Hanks in The Money Pit. Here we go…
Coach Paul Silas – Okay, he technically didn’t play, but that’s okay, because he often technically didn’t coach either. Still, a few words are in order for our dearly departed coach. In his defense, he had a lineup that was intentionally terrible (thanks to management), and he lost the 6th most man-games to injury (side note: hey, look at that, we were among the league leaders in something!). But in his “offense” (?), what’s Paul Silas known for? Okay, other then looking more confused on the sidelines than Katie Couric after a Sarah Palin response? He’s known for rebounding and toughness. So at the very least, he should have instilled those characteristics in his team. And in this endeavor he completely failed; the Bobcats were 28th in overall rebounding rate and allowed the most shots at the rim of any team. The frontcourt couldn’t have been less intimidating if they had decided to start every game off with a reenactment of the video for “Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It).” So for this reason alone, I have no problem with letting Silas go. Also, his contract was up. Also, with a potential superstar rookie coming on board and some big name coaches available, it’s probably better to start fresh…Oh yeah, and also, this was the worst team of all time.
After the Bobcats lost to Milwaukee on Saturday, Rick Bonnell wrote that it “was the 20th time in a 7-38 season the Bobcats have lost by 20 or more points.” Well the joke’s on you, Rick: it’s only been 15 games. How do you like them apples, sucker? I actually went back and counted to verify it, which is a totally depressing exercise, by the way; it’s like counting your herpes sores. (Remember that 112-68 loss to the Trail Blazers!? Holy Jesus. Holy Buddha. Holy Zeus. Holy Mormon Garden of Eden in Jackson County, Missouri.)
Anyway, the fact that we haven’t lost as many games by 20 points as I feared was about the only good news to come out of the Milwaukee game—that and Stephanie Ready’s outfit. I didn’t know that Burberry had recently merged with Skittles. I guess this was in support of the latest retro-Cougars outfit night, but she should always do that; even her face was a refreshing burst of fruit flavors. The rest of the game was not only nightmarish, it was prolonged unnecessarily by Milwaukee coach Scott Skiles’ inexplicable need to take 4 full timeouts, including one when they were ahead by 23 with four minutes to go. Skiles’ moods range from frothing-at-the-mouth to silently seething, but I would have have thought that even he must have felt something approximating satisfied.
Without an experienced center, the Bobcats’ interior defense has emptied out faster than Charlie Sheen’s medicine cabinet. Tyrus Thomas and Bismack Biyombo are constantly sliding to help the beaten guards, and neither of them boxes out very well. And Thomas isn’t good at covering his own man, let alone helping others. The end result is 72 points for the Bucks in the paint (or maybe it was only 65—not sure if I can ever trust you again, Rick), led by Drew Gooden, who continuously swooped down like the Avenging Angel of Offensive Rebounds to smite the Bobcats. Bobcats color commentator Dell Curry used the phrase “all alone” to describe Milwaukee’s bigs and back-door cutters so often he sounded like he was reading from the Craigslist personals section.