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Blogcat's Take, 11/8


To quote Johnny Drama, these last two games were a “bloodbath,” starting at home against Phoenix.  You know how economists say that gas prices aren’t that high when you adjust for inflation?  NBA teams also use a similar technique for rationalizing blowout losses to Phoenix.  “It’s okay if they shot 50% on us, it’s Phoenix,” the supposed logic goes.  Well, I don’t care who we'ere playing, 37% shooting and 24 turnovers are horrible stats, not to mention being out-assisted 31 to 11.  And normally when we lose to Phoenix, the consolation prize is that we at least beef up our own offensive output.  Instead, we got just 83 points, and our top scorer a) had just 16 points, and :cool: was Jared Dudley.      
 
Thank god no one’s got footage of Mike D’Antoni spying on assistant coaches, or else Phoenix might have REALLY run the score up.  On the other hand, watching Sean Marks log 16 minutes of garbage time for 13 points was in many ways MORE humiliating than letting Steve Nash rack up, say, 30 assists.  Phoenix executed its run-and-gun offense to perfection, hitting half their shots, 9-24 of their 3-pointers, and turning the ball over just 10 times.  Our defense, meanwhile, looked more lost than the President in a stem cell research laboratory.  We couldn’t get back fast enough in transition, nor could we rotate properly to cover the open man; Emeka Okafor was often left hilariously trying to guard Nash.  Mek also had just 7 rebounds and a block.  He also didn’t score…not didn’t score much, mind you, he didn’t score, PERIOD.
 
If there was any bright spot, it was Dudley.  Having barely played at all in the first two games, starting one's career against the Suns is less a trial by fire and more a trial by explosion.  Dudley showed some toughness and surprising speed, getting to the line 12 times.  Jermareo Davidson also played 18 minutes, scored 6 points, and showed some range, but he also shot way too many times (10).  But this game was The Empire Strikes Back, because there were far more highlights for the Dark Side.  Beside the god-awful team play, Raymond Felton left in the third quarter after badly bruising his knee, and Gerald Wallace was an atrocity, getting just 12 points in 12 FG attempts and committing 5 turnovers.  He’s suddenly pulling the Vince-Carter-settling-for-outside-shots-card, too. 
 
Last night in Philly, things somehow managed to get worse.  Amidst a listed crowd of 9,000 at a Wachovia Center that was about as raucous as a mall at 10 AM, the Bobcats turned in an all-time crappy performance.  At least Phoenix is a good team; after Andre Igiodala, the Sixers’ second-most famous player is probably Reggie Evans, who’s best known for grabbing another man’s testicles.  We actually looked like we were still trying to defend against Phoenix too, with the added twist of repeatedly leaving the lane WIDE OPEN—our interior defense has gone the way of Matt Carroll’s hair: it’s vanished.
 
I’m not sure how this game could have been any more depressing, unless maybe the halftime show featured a public hanging.  How could we have played so uninspired?  Perpetually sunny commentators Steve Martin and Henry Williams kept invoking the old back-to-back-games-exhaustion excuse, but I don’t buy it when a) it’s only the fourth game of the year, and :cool: Coach Vincent pulled most of the starters the night before once it got ugly (i.e., just after the opening tip-off).  And before I forget, although I’m an unabashed Matt Devlin supporter, I’m already falling in love with Steve Martin.  As we entered the 4th quarter with just 47 points, Martin enthusiastically chirped, “The Bobcats are ATTACKING some franchise lows.”  Now THAT is putting a positive spin on it (FYI: we did end up scoring 63, one point better than the franchise’s lowest single-game total).
 
Unfortunately, none of our other “attacks” failed.  Going through our stat line is like reading Citigroup’s latest earnings report.  30…percent…shooting.  ZERO threes.  And are you ready for this one: 26 turnovers.  These are some serious write-offs.  Jason Richardson gave what I can only hope will be his worst performance of the season: 4 points on 2-15 shooting in 34 minutes.  Raymond Felton didn’t play at all and probably still had a better game than Jeff McInnis (2 points, 2 assists, 5 turnovers).  I’ve pretty much said my piece on Jeff over the last few days—no wait, have I mentioned what a horrible defender he is?  4 fouls last night.  And they’re not even hard fouls, either.  Okay, that’s it from me on McInnis, I’m going to cease-fire on that one.  We didn’t get a suitable backup PG, and now we’re paying the piper.    
 
For the second straight game, Coach Vincent limited a completely demoralized-looking Primoz Brezec to just single-digit minutes, opting to go small instead.  Usually, this implies going small AND fast, but right now we’re just small and turnover-prone. 
Trying to pick anything good out of these last two games is like trying to pick the best Friday the 13th movie—it’s all sucked.  The young’uns—Dudley, Davidson, and Hollins—got plenty of burn, but didn’t really do anything other than try really, really hard.  Felton’s injury doesn’t look serious.  And…um…Coach Vincent reminds me of Mack from the movie Predator.  Those are about all of the compliments I can muster at this time.  





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