The MLK day loss against Cleveland is my early-season favorite for Most Infuriating Bobcats Loss of the Year. Any game in which Charlotte blows a second-half double-digit lead is going to be a contender for the prize. However, considering this team, there are probably going to be several candidates for this award before the season’s over. Thus it’s going to take more than a mere blown lead at home to win the award, so let’s consider a few other factors that might separate this one from what will surely be a crowded field:
- The four huge points at the end from one of the league’s most irritating players, Anderson Varejao (in characteristically garbage fashion) that made it all possible
- The missed free throws (14 for 26 from the line)—couldn’t have done it without you, either!
- The inexplicable and repeated and-1’s given up to Omri Casspi. I can understand this happening with Kyrie Erving, but why was Casspi so unguardable? He’s not a great shooter or dribbler, he looks out of shape, and he’s not even very fast when he’s in shape. He should have been easier to cover than the Wailing Wall; I just don’t get it.
- After getting our hopes up in the first half, the shooting percentage sank like an Italian cruise ship in the second half. Watching all of those clangs was just torturous. Jim Caviezel could have used the second half to get into character for The Passion of the Christ.
On the other hand, I have to take a few points off for the following reasons:
- We did have a lead, and a large one, so for at least part of the time the game was fun. And now that I think about it, if blowing huge leads is a baseline criteria for making a game infuriating, we might not actually have a crowded field of candidates after all—realistically, how many times are we going to be up by 15+ in the first place?
- The game was finished by 4:30 EST. Am I the only sad loser who dreams of living on the west coast—not for the weather, not for the lifestyle, not for the ocean, but simply so that all Bobcats losses would be over and done with before dinner? 90% of the games come on while I eat dinner, meaning the meal is totally ruined midway through the first quarter as I scream angrily at the television, frequently choke and cough, and generally make an ass out of myself while my dogs wait for me to knock something edible onto the floor. So it’s really a joy on the rare occasion that this humiliation can be over and done with by mid-afternoon. My swearing is unobstructed by food and there are no utensils to double as dangerous projectile objects, and then later that night I eat dinner almost like a regular human rather than a monkey in a cage who just had his favorite doll forcibly removed. No muss, no fuss.
- NBA League Pass viewers had the option to watch this game with the Bobcats announcers. Believe me, as awful as the experience was, it would have been ten times worse if it were narrated by the Cleveland Cavaliers announcers, specifically Austin Carr. Fellow League Pass viewers are nodding knowingly at this. Carr is less analyst and more hype-man, with a painfully limited repertoire of “signature” lines (“…from deep in the Q!”) that he bludgeons us with over and over. Remember Madden 94 for Sega Genesis when the technology was such that John Madden only had about 4 catchphrases? Every other tackle would be accompanied by, “Where’d that truck come from!?” (ironically, I don’t remember the real John Madden ever saying that in an actual game). That’s the way Carr is. Besides being annoying, it’s also semi-pathetic to hear him bark out lines like “And he throws the hammer down!” that I imagine were originally designed for LeBron James and are now hand-me-downs for Boobie Gibson.
We’ll keep an eye on that race as the season goes on. Meanwhile, as I write this, it’s Tuesday night and I’m in a big old jet airliner headed to Phoenix, AZ, the scourge of both Kobe Bryant and, before him, Chuck D. My primary purpose for the journey is to visit with some colleagues at my company’s branch office; however, I’ve been daydreaming about kidnapping Jared Dudley while I’m here and then convincing him to come back home to Charlotte, romantic comedy-style. It’s a good week to be off the grid, as I’ll only be missing one bitter defeat or embarrassing blowout from the Cats before I’m back on the 20th. Though I supposedly have NBA League Pass for my laptop courtesy of my Time-Warner subscription, surprise-surprise, it’s not letting me log in. You probably can’t believe I’m having another snafu with Time Warner—amazing, right? I know, I ought to write science fiction for a living. Anyway, I guess I’ll have to rely on the flowing prose of Rick Bonnell to find out what happened tonight against the Magic—paint the picture for me, Rick!