Archives For Charlotte Bobcats

PekHappy

The hardest thing for me when it comes to writing about basketball is figuring out what to write when the Wolves blow somebody out. Everything typically goes correctly, because that’s how blowouts happen. There’s something odd about writing, “hey, the game plan worked!” especially when it’s against a bad team that is missing key players.

I’ve had a hard time coming up with stuff to say about the game, which might be a good thing. The Wolves had a bad collapse at the end of the loss to the Suns that sent everybody into a craze. It was the Wolvespocalypse and nothing was ever going to be sane again. Kevin Love was demanding a trade. Ricky Rubio needed more D-League time than Shabazz Muhammad. And the game had passed Rick Adelman by and he needed to get fired. These were obviously some of the extreme reactions to what happened.

And then they bounce back by taking care of business the next day. This has been the pattern for the team, which shows resilience but it doesn’t show growth. The question ends up being is resilience enough?  Continue Reading…

Game recognize game.

Did you happen to catch the shot of Ahmad Rashad and Michael “Air” Jordan wallowing away in MJ’s shadowy luxury suite? Here were greatest basketball player ever, captain of dynasties, phantasmagorically wealthy man and his best cigar buddy surveying the team he (MJ) owns and the players he attempted to screw to the wall just over a year ago–in what appeared to be wordless, abject boredom. Is this a product of Jordan’s legendarily psychotic vainglory gone to seed? Maybe the resentment inherent to graceless old age, the misery of being forced to watch young fellas many times your inferior playing the game you once dominated? Or maybe that’s just what it feels like to be the ruthlessly competitive owner of the NBA’s worst squad.

Because that’s what these Bobcats are. Coming into tonight’s game against the Wolves, they had lost 16 consecutive home games. They barely edge out the Wizards for the NBA’s worst record (and unlike the Wizards, have not won seven of their last 10 games). They are third worst in the league in offensive efficiency and are tied for last in defensive efficiency. This is a very bad team.

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It is a Kirilenko.

Friends, this is a familiar feeling. I’m not talking about losing close games in novel ways although that has been a Timberwolves specialty for years. I’m talking about that moment in which a Wolves season descends into pure, wild, effing absurdity. We’ve learned the hard way that this can happen at any time. It can happen because a team rebels against its coach or because a bad team finally succumbs under the weight of its own soul-sucking badness or, as is currently the case, because a genuinely entertaining and competitive squad has been pulverized by injury. In any case, the fourth quarter of this very strange game was a descent/ascent into a state of wasted, anarcho-schizoid carnival.

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The rosters don’t look similar and it’s only a couple weeks into the season so take this in the spirit that it’s intended, but this Bobcats team reminds me a lot of the way the Timberwolves played last year.

After so much mediocrity, the Wolves became a scrappy bunch that played an exciting brand of basketball. The Wolves were fueled by Kevin Love’s emergence as one of the top players in the NBA, Ricky Rubio’s creativity and electricity, and the discovery that Nikola Pekovic was a wrecking ball out of nowhere. This Bobcats team doesn’t really have any of that. They have a coach who decided losing wasn’t going to be acceptable anymore. They have a guard trio that has fueled their offense most nights, and their offense most nights is really good this season. They have a rookie swingman who is probably going to be the next great defender in the NBA.

The Bobcats don’t have much in terms of interior scoring or presence. Byron Mullens and Bismack Biyombo are the two key big men for them. Brendan Haywood is playing a lot of competent minutes. And this team is doing a fantastic job of hitting the offensive boards, taking care of the basketball, and finding a way to get shots at the rim. The Bobcats scrappiness and frenetic style are what reminds me of the Wolves of yesteryear.  Continue Reading…

You know what’s kind of crazy?

Kevin Love finished this game with 40 points and 19 rebounds last night, including 14 in the fourth quarter to close out the worst team in the NBA, and it’s probably his third best game of the week. The level of production and play Love is throwing at our eyeballs and his opponents’ defensive schemes are ridiculous right now. I like to fancy myself as a pretty good NBA 2K12 player. It’s really hard to put those numbers up in the video game, let alone with actual athletic giants flying around your personal space.

I’m having a hard time really getting excited about this win because they beat the worst team in the NBA. However, without Rubio, Pekovic, Barea and Beasley, it’s still cool to see Kevin Love take over a contest and just decide to win it. He didn’t win it on his own either. Anthony Tolliver had another phenomenal effort off the bench with a double-double (11 and 11). Luke Ridnour was slinging passes all over the court and finished with 15 points and 14 assists. The Wolves dominated the boards in a game that saw plenty of misses (40.7% FG for Minnesota, 39.7% for Charlotte).

Watching the Bobcats, I felt sort of bad for them. They do have talent in role player form. Bismack Biyombo is awkward and yet will be a really good rebounder and defender in this league. Kemba Walker might end up being a really good third guard on a team someday. Corey Maggette can still score. DJ White and Gerald Henderson are guys every team in the NBA would love have coming off their bench.

But they don’t have any top talent right now. They don’t have anybody who can take over a game for a six-minute stretch to give the team a little breathing room. They don’t have Kevin Love.  Continue Reading…

"The Nightmare" by Henry Fuesslie

Judging from my own reactions and those of my (many) correspondents, this latest Wolves debacle has given us all that awful feeling of waking up from those really significant nightmares. I’m talking about those dreams that leave little remnants of dread shimmering around in your body all through the next day. This game was like that.

For me, it wasn’t just that the Wolves lost another late lead, or that they played so very badly for so much of the game, or that they lost to such a rotten team (although it’s all of those things too). There was something really unsettling about the way the team related to itself at the end of the game. I’ll start with an observation.

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photo by shiftedreality

Well this game was just a hot mess. On display here were two bad basketball teams playing some unintuitive, unlovely, awfully bad basketball. The Wolves missed more than a third of their free throws. They turned the ball over in crucial situations. Their first half was a listless fiasco. I’ll allow Kurt Rambis to continue: “their bench killed us, our defense was sub-par tonight and our effort was…nonexistent for the vast majority of the ballgame.” All true.

And yet, thanks to the fact that the Bobcast are a decimated wreck of a club, the Wolves by all rights should still have won this game. The entirety of the third quarter was a 30-14 Wolves run. They were up by eight points with just under three minutes remaining and up five points at the 1:48 mark. How did this come to such a depressing end? Well, that’s actually a hard question to answer. There’s no focal point of blame for this game; things went wrong in diffuse, ever-shifting waves. Let me try to catch a few:

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