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TORONTO—In a shocking announcement on Friday night, the Charlotte Bobcats declared to the world that they had won a basketball game.  In a chaotic press conference, spokesman Kemba Walker stated, "The Charlotte Bobcats have now amassed enough knowledge and technology to acquire a basketball win.  What’s more, our goal is to acquire multiple basketball wins within a period of 60-70 days.  We are now fully operational.”  Though there were few eyewitnesses willing to come forward, grainy footage was released showing Mr. Walker, along with several prominent leaders of the “Bobcats”—a radical splinter group of the organization known as the “NBA”—that appeared to back up his claim.  Walker denied accusations that his organization had committed a hostile act by procuring this win, claiming, “We are merely taking the necessary steps for our organization’s future security.”  Asked by one reporter what the next step might be, Walker would only say that “all options are on the table.”

Actually, Kemba Walker’s real comments after the game were as follows: “Even though it's only our fourth win, it's just a win." He also helpfully added: "A win is a win.”  Nevertheless, I was so dumbstruck by what had just happened that I needed read and re-read his quote as if it were from Basketball Prospectus.   The Bobcats won!  Here’s the other great thing: they actually played well.  There’s one huge caveat to this statement, which is that the Raptors shot an abysmal 2-for-16 from 3-point range; in other words, they pulled a "Tyrus Thomas."  But nothing else about the Raptors’ play was abysmal; in fact I’d say it was pretty abysmal—average shooting percentage, turnovers, etc.  There had to have been an emotional letdown—let’s face it: the Lakers, the NY Lins, and the Spurs had just come to town, so following that up with Charlotte is like following Led Zeppelin up with Right Said Fred.  Oh yeah, Toronto also didn’t have Andrea Bargnani.  But hey, we didn’t play Gana Diop, so I’d call that even.  Yup, I think this was a legitimate win.  Hell, who cares; at this point the win could have been more illegitimate than Frances Quinn Hunter and I’d take it.

The keys to the game were as follows:

  • Reggie Williams.  The one thing he can do is shoot (and that really is all he can do—the rest of his stat line features more zeroes than Ron Paul’s proposed government budget).  So when he has games like he did against the Clippers (1-for-12 and one shot that missed so badly that it eventually bounced out of bounds at half court) I get discouraged.  Tonight, Good Reggie Williams showed up—he went 9-for-13 (0 AST, 1 RB, 0 STL, 0 BLK...)

  • Corey Maggette.  I remember wanting to scream during the game against Philly earlier in the week, because the announcers were discussing how Maggette’s role within the team was still “uncertain,” and that he was “wondering how to fit in with the offense.”  This is completely ridiculous, because Corey Maggette is nearly as one-dimensional as Williams.  He needs to drive to the hoop and get fouls, otherwise he’s almost totally useless.  For him to wonder about his role at this point in his career would be like Dr. Seuss wondering what kind of books he should write after The Cat in the Hat; there should be no uncertainty.  And again, like Reggie Williams, Good Corey Maggette played against the Raptors.  Four of his five field goals were in the paint and he got to the line 8 times.  Maggette did go 1-for-7 on his long-range 2’s and 3’s, but I chalk that up as the cost of doing business.  Also, shout-out to coach Silas for pulling Maggette with 6 minutes to go in the third quarter and not putting him back in until there were just 3 minutes left in the game—way to make it exciting, coach!

  • Bismack Biyombo.  I know, I know, I can’t believe it either.  But he also did what he was supposed to do (starting to see a pattern here?) with disruptive defense and rebounding.  His handle might just be getting better, too.  I was starting to think “Bismack” was Congolese for “Hands of Ping Pong Paddles.”  But 8 points and just 2 turnovers is downright serviceable.

  • Kemba Walker.  Walker is more significant for what he didn’t do, which is take too many bad shots.  He was still just 5-for-15, but for the first time that I can remember, he consistently drove to the hole and then dished off to a forward for the easy finish (he had 8 assists).  This is in contrast to what he usually does, which is either jack up shots from long range or try to finish on his own, thereby risking his teeth in the process when the ball is inevitably slammed back into his grill by an opposing big.  Bravo Kemba, your fans and your dentist thank you!

  • Tyrus Thomas.  Here’s a table I’ve put together.  Hopefully you can follow these advanced metrics:

Last 3 Games:

Thomas’s Playing Time (minutes)

Margin of Defeat (points)







No Thomas means no terrible 2-point attempts with long rebounds that lead to fast breaks.  I’m glad Silas has figured out that he either changes his ways or he rides the pine in favor of DJ White and Derrick Brown.

And before we all start tongue-kissing over this win, just remember that we’ve got Thomas for 3 more years and $30+ million, and he also cost a protected draft pick.  I probably shouldn’t have ended on that note, but it’s been so long I’ve forgotten how else to do it.