The disparity between lineups didn’t seem as drastic last night as the Bobcats took on a very talented Philadelphia team. At least not as bad as the last two games against the Bulls and Clippers. Listening to the introductions the last couple of nights i’m reminded of the scene in Major League where Indians brass is reviewing the upcoming spring training invitees:
“I’ve never heard of half these guys” says one executive.
“This guy here is dead,” says another.
“Well, cross him off then,” responds the new owner who is set on moving the team out of Cleveland.
“Your Charlotte Bobcats!,” by public address announcer Big Pat, was greeted with underwhelming applause before a meager crowd at Time Warner Cable Arena last night. That’s because they resemble a D-league team comprised of guys you’ve never heard of. Save for Kemba Walker, the star of last year’s NCAA tournament. Corey Maggette may ring a bell and he did have his best game of the season finishing with 22 points. But mostly I regard him as an overhyped NBA journeyman who projected himself as a future star, leaving Duke after one season of college ball. At least he has local interest. Not. Seriously, they feel like a minor league team. A place where talent goes to develop. They gain valuable NBA experience here. Really encouraging.
Speaking of locals, Luol Deng and Carlos Boozer have graced Time Warner Cable Arena’s prestigious court in recent days. Last night Elton Brand was present. If Gerald Henderson was playing it would feel like last year’s Duke homecoming. Many thanks to Chris Paul for quelling the influx of former duke alums in Charlotte recently. But I digress.
Last night the Bobcats exhibited one of their best efforts of the season fighting the 76ers almost to the very end. They cut the lead to as little as two in the 4th quarter but were unable to come up with clutch stops and rebounds as the game wound down. A couple of sloppy possessions and a late turnover also contributed to what eventually became a 9 point win for Philly. It was enough to give you some reprieve from the abysmal performances of this month, but it was still a loss, and the 15th in a row.
I’m past the substandard talent and the disappointment of a terrible record. It’s the emptiness that bothers me. It’s the blatant absence of purpose that makes me angry. Who is this team? Where did they come from? Will they be here next year? It’s hard to be motivated to learn a system when there’s no semblance of a future.
In all honesty, it gets comical at times. Not the case last night, but sometimes I get upset when the bobcats excel, because it ruins the fun. It’s like my mom telling me to stop picking on my little brother. Dammit mom!
I’m not even sure they like each other or if it’s even possible for them to like each other. Often, they look like a bunch of individuals auditioning for another team.
I should note that I have high hopes about this team making strides. I’m choosing to believe that there is a plan in place to make this team better. I’m buying Michael Jordan’s lifetime claim that he is competitive no matter what he does. That’s as far as i’m willing to think about the future.
With that in mind, all I can think of now is Lou Brown walking into the clubhouse and explaining that everyone will be sent down or given their outright release at the end of the season. The problem is, there’s nobody present to give ownership a nice big s***burger.
By: Alec Campbell (Follow Alec on Twitter @AlecTheDon and listen to him on Bustin Loose with Frank Garcia M-F from 12-3)