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Trail Blazers 108, Bobcats 100 (OT): Blogcat's Take

The Bobcats lost in overtime to the Trail Blazers Friday night, and in the face of wrenching disappointment I—like any good American—immediately searched for someone to blame.  Fortunately, I found him: Adam Morrison; clearly, it’s all his fault.  It’s Morrison’s fault that Charlotte blew a late lead, that we’re in last place, that attendance is so low, that the country is trapped in two un-winnable Middle East conflicts, that Nas hasn’t been able to put together one good album since Illmatic, and I wouldn’t be surprised if that Super Bowl Snickers commercial was his idea.
Actually, I don’t think any of that, but I’m apparently in the minority, because to many sportswriters, Morrison’s rookie year has been appallingly, almost offensively bad.  Look at ESPN.com’s summation of Charlotte midway through the year: “Morrison's catastrophic season has undone a lot of good work by Okafor, Wallace, May and Carroll.”  “Catastrophic”?  The kid is second in rookie scoring.  “Catastrophic” should be reserved for describing levee failures or possibly the decision to make Hannibal Rising, not Adam Morrison.  I honestly believe Morrison would take less criticism if he barely played, if Coach Bickerstaff just threw him out there for a few minutes every game a la Paul Millsap.  And that’s crazy.
And there are more salient points of blame, anyway.  Fouls, for starters: we kept making them and we couldn’t shoot them.  We went just 21/33 from the line, including several critical misses down the stretch and in overtime (which also featured Emeka Okafor fouling out early on).  Meanwhile, we gave Portland 45 free throw chances.  And how about the no-call on Brevin Knight?  With the game tied and about two seconds left on the clock in regulation, BK took an easily observable broadside elbow from Jarret Jack while heaving up a half-court attempt, and the only thing that blew was the buzzer.  Despite the obvious contact, because it occurred near mid-court, I guess the refs ruled it “uncatchable.”  Or something.
But here’s an original idea: if you want to blame someone for the loss to the Trail Blazers, why not blame the Trail Blazers?  After all, one of the biggest reasons we lost to them was that they scored more points than us.  Specifically, Zach Randolph scored 40 points to go with 9 rebounds—I blame him most of all.  Interestingly, the Portland TV announcers were excited early on about what they believed to be a “mismatch” between Randolph and Gerald Wallace.  It turns out they were only partially right, as it was a mismatch on both sides—neither guy could guard the other.  Gerald struggled all night with Randolph’s accurate shooting and overall girth, while Randolph in turn struggled with Wallace’s pesky tendency to, you know, move around and stuff with the ball.         
There was also Brandon Roy’s groin-kick of a 3-pointer to tie it up with 8 seconds left.  After the game, Coach Bickerstaff and Wallace lamented the fact that the defense didn’t push out on the perimeter and basically “let” Roy make that three.  I feel their pain (believe me, I do), but c’mon, that was a pretty good shot.  Sometimes you’ve got to give credit to the opposition—or in this case, place proper blame on them.  So Brandon Roy, it was all your fault.
But you know who the biggest culprit was in all of this?  Obviously, it was Dan Dickau.  Yep, in the second quarter, the Bobcats went on a 12-0 run, and Portland Coach Nate McMillan was so incensed with his team’s poor play* that he threw Dickau out there.  It was a brilliant move, and one that finally demonstrated Dickau’s true worth to me.  Dickau’s sole reason for being on the team seems to be so McMillan has got a way of signaling his displeasure, and Dan is perfect for this role.  After all, just imagine yourself as say, Jamaal Magloire, getting banished to the bench, and watching tiny Dan Dickau running around out there like Cory Feldman in Lucas?  How infuriating would that be? 

So there you go.  Lots of good people to blame, just pick one, curse him appropriately, and I guarantee you’ll feel better.  Just remember: whatever you do, don’t put the blame on you. 
On the positive side, BK is back!  He’s still clearly adjusting to living in his newly refurbished stomach, but he’s a welcome sight.  I’m also glad that Jeff McInnis is continuing to get in the mix, and I liked his new high-sock look as well.  I noticed that Ben Wallace of Chicago coincidentally started going “high-sock” the night before in Sacramento—must be some sort of cornrow telepathy… 
*In fact, so were the announcers, who seemed particularly disgusted by Portland’s poor shooting.  Ummm…this team’s only got a couple more wins than us, what do they normally shoot?