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Charlotte Bobcats / Orlando Magic preview 11/16

Super Man vs. Not Super Man 

Walking out of the arena on Friday night I was asked by the guy who sits behind me every game for the last 2 years, “You feel like doing the double dip on Sunday?”  Whoa, I hadn’t thought about that.  Sundays are a day of rest, usually.   

Tomorrow will be a huge long day, even if I didn’t go to the Panthers game (as was the case Friday night); it would be a big sports day.  I’ll be up late tonight which will carry into early Sunday morning, watching Lesnar vs. Coture, not out at a bar or something but on my laptop in bed.  I couldn’t make myself pay a cover charge to watch that fight and then buy beers.   

I’ll get up tomorrow, get ready to take myself and 3 friends to the Panthers game.  My boss called around 5 today “they’re on my desk, I don’t know who I’d give them to but you.”  What a guy, seriously, that’s awesome and he’ll be rewarded by my work this week.  Panthers play the Lions.  Lets take a look at the Lions’ season so far:  no wins, fire GM, no wins, trade great receiver, no wins, bench best option at QB with questionable injury, no wins, sign Culpepper who hasn’t been the same since he hurt his knee against the Panthers, he gets benched last week and still they didn’t win.  It’s NFL football, I’m excited about the game, don’t care if it’s the Lions.   

Culpepper went down at the hands of Thomas Davis if I remember correctly.  Davis, Chris Harris and Julius Peppers had courtside seats to the Bobcats game on Friday night.  They were shown on “Bobcats TV” and were way too cool for school.  This happens about 3-4 times a season.  3-4 Panthers players, get announced to the crowd shown on TV, we all cheer they keep eating BoJangles in their seats and ignore the camera and the adoring fans.  Worst ever was Keary Colbert and Chris Gamble, when approached by Rufus they stared him down like they hated his guts for bothering them.  Guys, you’re there, you’re the biggest names in Charlotte right now, show a little appreciation as we show you the same. 

Panthers game ends at 4ish, then on to the Bobcats game at 5:30.  I was trying to decide if I can make it from the stadium to the arena directly, if I wanted to walk, if I thought I could get a cab after the Bobcats game back to my parking place on Morehead at 77, if I could walk, if I want to walk at 8 in that neighborhood.  Not a bad neighborhood but don’t want to be there after dark, walking.  Just a huge day of sports and I want to make the most of it. 

I haven’t seen any great previews of the Bobcats/Magic game so I’ll make one here.  I’ve decided these guys are our main rival.  There are so many links to the two teams.  Morrison and Reddick’s battles through college and there are links there.  Both have been asked and answered so many questions about the other.  Neither’s NBA career has turned out great but Adam has the upper hand now.  JJ will get boos in the arena but I really don’t know why.  I get that most people are Carolina fans more than Duke fans but come on these guys are 3 years out of college.  Moving on, the summer of ’07 there were free agents galore but the two most memorable for me were Gerald Wallace and Rashard Lewis.  Lewis signed with Orlando for huge money.  Gerald, seemingly the most complete player (I say seemingly because I don’t know Lewis, and I’d go ahead and definitively say Gerald if I had an opinion on Lewis), signed for less.  I laugh when I think about Lewis’s contract and what he’s done for Orlando compared to what Wallace has been here in Charlotte.  The biggest link was the ’04 draft.   

Orlando for the unprecedented third time had the first pick.  Charlotte the expansion team had the 4th but traded up for the second.  Unlike the NFL you are assigned the fourth pick, not the first when you are an expansion team.  So really there was no choice with the pick, it wasn’t Dwight or Emeka, it was who was left after Orlando selected.  Orlando selected a pure freak athlete, 7’ kid who could jump out of the gym in Dwight Howard.  He’s gone on to start in the Olympics, All-NBA first team, All-Star, and Slam Dunk Champ (Superman dunk is sickest of all time, maybe).  Emeka Okafor was the MOP of the NCAA tourney, All-American, a block machine and exactly what a first year franchise needed.  A smart, good looking (voted best looking male in Charlotte by Creative Loafing.  Just so you know I’m not the one deciding on dude’s looks), hard-working, clean cut, happy to be the face of the franchise player that went on to win Rookie of the Year.  He has played well, well enough for a great contract this past off season.  He is no Dwight Howard.  This was not the first front office blunder as many have said over the years.  Dwight Howard was a kid.  Nice kid, just wanted to bring attention to his Lord and Savior with great play and clean living (funny how his most famous moment comes out of a song whose Corus is “Superman that Ho”), Okafor already a polished player was NBA ready right away.  He won the first year but has been absolutely obliterated in the years since.   

Orlando is our division rival.  Other than New Orleans, they are the natural rival.  I think that of the 3-4 nationally televised games at least one has been against Orlando.  TNT broke down the links like I have here during one semi-memorable game.  I don’t like Orlando, I don’t like Dwight Howard.  Have you ever had a good time in Orlando?  My parents lived there for 2 years, I went there one time for spring break (I went to a small Baptist college, don’t ask), Mickey Mouse lives there; I personally dislike Orlando as a whole.   

The ‘Cats are coming off of a nice win against Utah, depleted or not.  J-Rich is still out and they got over 100 without him.  Hollins came in with energy, Okafor had some nice plays, Gerald had nice plays.  I’m looking forward to this game.  It will be a battle down low and out on the wings.  Both teams are full of very nice talent.  Stan Van Gundy, who packs out a t-shirt and sports coat like Crocket and Tubbs in one, is a good coach who got screwed when he was in Miami.  Orlando got screwed by Billy Donovan, so they are a marriage made in mid-Florida hell.  Larry Brown will have his guys hot, running, playing D and you know what, he’ll play them like a fine tuned piano.  I am starting to love his substitutions.   

I hope to be typing, barely awake at about 9:30 tomorrow night: “All Charlotte area cat-related sports teams are winners and I love having an arena and a stadium uptown.”