Don't fight over it, there's plenty for everyone.
Okay, so it's not as clichéd as "Man Bites Dog" headlines and it's not really one of the signs of the Apocalypse, but it's hard to be upbeat when your favorite team gets hammered 120-93. The Hawks are a tough enough challenge to begin with, but when it's the second game in as many nights and your starter at the one has a knee roughly the size of LeBron's ego, victory becomes all but impossible. Still, the Bobcats played with more fire and passion than they have of late and once again the growth and improvement of our youngest players was clearly visible. Hello, my name is Bruce, ("HI BRUCE") and I'm an NBA fan in North Carolina. All fellow members of B.A. (Bobcats Anonymous) are encouraged to join the meeting in progress and share testimonials by directing their cursors to the "read more." Drinks and munchies are available in your kitchen, as always.
The Cats came out for the opening tip with more energy and fire than they showed for the majority of the game in Canada. Byron Mullens picked up right where he left off, scoring a quick 8 points and pulling down several rebounds. Reggie Williams decided to establish his bombing abilities and knocked down a convincing trey as his opening argument. Shooting percentage is often a good indicator of what can be expected of the Felines on any given night and they managed to shoot above .450% for the quarter – a considerable improvement over their anemic shooting while "out of the country." Nonetheless, after the first frame, the playoff-bound Hawks had managed a slim lead, 25-27.
In the second quarter, the Charlotte Bench Beasts came out with equal energy, but Atlanta was able to capitalize on a combination of turnovers and slow transition defense on the part of the Cats and the lead soon entered the double-digit range. Byron Mullens then committed his third foul, negating a Henderson trey in the process, and was forced to take a seat as the Hawks fans behind the Charlotte bench yelled in unison, "man, you suck!" Ahh, sportsmanship. I like to think that Bobcats fans wouldn't be that harsh... or that organized. With or without the assistance of the fans, the Hawks went on a tear and for the first time ever, Paul Silas looked as if he regretted answering Michael Jordan's phone call asking him to coach the team. After sitting Matt Carroll for the past couple of games, Silas looked down the bench and said, "What the heck, get on in there". After roughly 10 seconds, Matt began providing a small sign of life to the sputtering Cats offense, but the half ended with Atlanta making the Bobcats look more like housecats. As the beleaguered fans began to digest the announcement that DJ's knee had swollen up to the point where he would be unable to return to the game, the half ended with Charlotte down 44-61.
Once again the Bobcats avoided the third quarter meltdown that has plagued them for much of the season, but once a team with the tenacity of the Hawks gets on a roll there isn't much a team at the Cats' level can do about it. Despite the continued spirited play of Kemba Walker and Gerald Henderson, the Hawks lead continued to slowly grow and, once the gap grew past 30, they went on autopilot. The Bobcats may only be a shadow of the threat they were a couple of seasons ago, but it's as foolhardy to ignore the Cats as it is to ignore any other team in this league. In the closing minutes of the quarter the Bobbies began to quietly cut into the lead. After Derrick Brown buried a rare trey and Bismack Biyombo crushed in a posterizing dunk, the lead was back down to 17. One final fast break Hawks basket closed out the scoring for the quarter and although things still looked pretty dismal for the Bobcats faithful, the Cats had fought back and trailed by 70-89. Any time the Bobcats get through a third quarter with a net loss of only 2 points, it can and should be considered progress.
Atlanta quickly sent out the bench reserves in the fourth, but it truly didn't do the Bobcats any favors. The Cats had little answer at that point and any distant comeback dreams withered and died as the Hawks lead once again crested 30 points. Mercifully, the quarter blew by so quickly it almost atoned for the interminable length of the third quarter in Toronto the previous night. I'll spare you the gory details of it all and just tell you the final score wound up at 120-93 in favor of the Hawks.
Kemba Walker and Gerald Henderson filled the scoring gap left by DJ's early exit admirably with 21 and 15 points respectively, but I truly can't see giving out a Gamebreaker Award for a blowout of this magnitude. Consider that an honorable mention. I'll offer a serious tip of the cap to Matt Carroll as well. He responded to his time in Coach Silas' Doghouse by coming in cold and still managed to rustle up a dozen points along with exhibiting some defensive hustle. Once Mullens tendency to reach in once too often got him into foul trouble, Carroll stepped up and kept the score from ending up even worse than the actual final tally.
So the Cats will get a single day off to travel up to Milwaukee for a game against the Bucks. Is it just me, or does this season's bizarre schedule really have the Bobcats racking up the frequent flier miles by running back and forth to all points of the compass?
For those keeping track, this loss makes it 9 in a row and despite the Bucks' overall losing record, breaking the streak won't be an easy task. Hopefully the sore knees, jaws, contusions, and assorted other ailments hampering Deej, Tyrus, and Corey Maggette will have healed up a bit more. There are a mere 14 chances left to watch the Cats before this season comes to a merciful end. While I'll agree that it's a whole lot more fun to watch them when they're on a tear and winning big, it's still going to be a long summer without any Bobcats games. I plan on watching every second I can to tide me over to next season when the Bobcats Rebuild Phase II kicks off and the winning ways become frequent once again down on Trade Street.