It's so fun to watch Biz get better with every game. 9 points, 9 rebounds and 2 blocks tonight. Our Rookies? Gilchrist with 12 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assits and 1 block. Taylor had 18 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, and 2 blocks. Yep...there's always a silver lining to our games, and tonight is seeing our youth improve. Gillie being buried on the bench in the 2nd half with 0 fouls instead of in the game...not so good...can only blame the coach there.
Okay Sparky, here’s the deal. You may not have noticed it last night (or perhaps your helpful mind has already blocked it from your memory) but the Bobcats got themselves ripped to shreds by a herd of angry Bulls. It was too embarrassing to talk about, so we didn’t. At the same time the Nuggets were losing their 4th out of 5 games up in DC. Yes, the lowly Wizards took it too Denver. Don’t get too excited though. The Nuggs scored 113 points in that loss and are stopping by Charlotte on their way home to tangle with the Lakers. In other words, they hope to use us as a tune-up. As sure as Steve Martin has gotten himself addicted to the nickname, “Manimal,” this is a game the Cats can win, but it won’t be an easy stroll. As a subtle reminder of how badly the Cats got thumped last night, Byron Mullens had said he wouldn’t shave until he had an off night. After going 1 for what looked like 92 last night, he walked on the court with everything but his legs and his head stubble shaved clean. How do I know? Check back with me after the jump.
Are you crazy? Made you look though, so it was worth it.
The Cats took control in the early minutes taking a 12-9 lead before a Denver trey and a Kenneth Faried fast break basket set the Nuggets in the driver’s seat. Sorry, I absolutely refuse to use that nickname after hearing it 20 times in Steve’s segment of the pregame. An uncountable number of alley-oop buckets and dunks later, the Bobcats tied it back at 27 each. It became quickly clear that this was not going to be the most defensive-minded NBA match of the year. That may be an exciting thing to watch, but it’s also textbook Nuggets ball this season. Over the course of a full 48, what hope can the Cats realistically have against a mass of offensive weapons like Denver? Are we suddenly expecting that 30-point Diop explosion with a side order double double from Tyrus Thomas or something? I didn’t get that memo. My bad. When the buzzer finally sounded to end the first quarter Charlotte had once again coughed up a 30 point opening quarter and trailed the Nuggs by a pair, 31-29.
Yeah I know. I won’t stoop to using “Manimal, but I’m all over “Nuggs.” My artistic license just got renewed, what can I say. I’m good for at least 3 more years of this sort of random decision-making.
The scoring antics continued into the second quarter but my fears began to become realities. Although the Bobcats – particularly MKG – gave a spirited challenge, misses began to add up and Denver slid out to a gradual five-point lead. Even more dispiriting to me, after allowing Mullie most of last game to try and shoot through his rough night, Kemba Walker and Gerald Henderson would see Byron open and then look for other options. That qualifies as the “diss of death” for a shooting forward. Unless a couple of his long-range bombs go in, the next stage is asking the coach for help. After a timeout in fact, Mullens was seen pleading his case to Coach Dunlap. It’s a rough case. Next all confidence will disappear and the player will start passing out of clear shooting situations. The final tragic stages involve the purchase of a Segue and a tendency to speak in a strange French accent. Please, won’t you help? Dig deeply and donate all you can to the “Diaw Idiocy Should Stop!” (D.I.S.S.) Foundation. An aggressive 3 is a terrible thing to waste. Thank you. With your help we can find a cure.
Meanwhile, back in the Catbox… I mean Time Warner Cable Arena, Denver easily became the first team to cross the 50-point barrier with almost three minutes left in the half. Charlotte continued to fight hard. Jeff Taylor, the only guard willing to dish inside to Byron, moved well without the ball and earned a nice stick-back on the missed shot, but Faried buried a trey and only Wilson Chandler’s miss kept the lead in single digits. Chandler’s frustration was as obvious as his ink. Maybe next time he should get a tattoo of himself – only about 3 inches taller. Ramon Sessions kept it respectable with a buzzer-beating long-range deuce that sent the teams to the locker room with the Cats down, 60-54.
Here’s a true story for y’all. About a year ago, when Tyrus Thomas was starring in those ridiculous “Tea Time” clips, we were doing our normal job deciding which of the Cats we would pick for our next interview (translation – which player we were going to endlessly beg until we could wear them down) when we got word about something. We here at TSP had begun referring to Mr. Thomas as “Tyrusaurus.” He let us know that he absolutely hated that nickname. What, “Tea Time” is more macho? Whatever. Purely in the interest of providing all Bobcats news of relevance, tonight marked yet another in “Tea Time’s” string of DNP-CDs as he marches to gates of Amnesty City. Nuffin’ but love for ya T. Hey, Bobcats claw. So do their fans man, so do their fans.
In the world of people that actually play pro ball, the stats told the tale of the tally, as they so often do. The significant statistic of note? For the half the Bobcats shot 47%. That’s some mighty fine shooting by our guys. The downside however, is that the Nuggets poured ‘em in at a 57% rate. Playing Nuggets ball when you don’t have a roster full of high scorers isn’t a good idea. Stephanie Ready mentioned after a Cats timeout that Coach Dunlap was pressing the guys to attack the paint, run faster, and dunk, dunk, dunk. He told them that it was what got them the lead and would be what would bring them the win. Uh… okay Coach. If we snag the “W” I’ll admit I was wrong. But if not, next time please don’t be so adamant about playing the other team’s game, okay?
The Cats controlled the boards at the half 21-17. Gerald Henderson and MKG were both in double-digit scoring and Bismack Biyombo had already rung up 6 rebounds (5 of them at the offensive end!) and led in every stat except the one I first mentioned. Oh, and of course, that whole pesky scoring total.
Shortly into the third quarter the Denver lead crept its way to eleven and the Charlotte faithful got their first look at Josh McRoberts in a Bobcats uniform. He wasted little time getting into the books with his first rebound and first missed trey. Moments later he made himself active on the offensive boards, getting a tap out to Kemba that reset the clock and helped the Cats creep back to within four. For some unknown reason, the Nuggets tried to slow down Kemba’s recent scoring tear by employing their shiny new “Club-a-Kemba” defense. Walker, as close to automatic at the stripe Charlotte has seen since Del Curry stopped playing, gradually began to mount up the points. At the end of three, Jeffery Taylor led all scorers with 15 points with Henderson and Kemba hot on his heels. Despite this, Denver took a nine-point lead into the decision quarter, 83-74.
A few seconds into the fourth, Andre Iguodala snagged his fifth foul and walked dejectedly to the bench. Every bit helps. Unfortunately, seconds later Javale McGee gave the Nuggs their biggest lead of the game at thirteen and some of the fight seemed to drain out of our Fightin’ Felines. Mullens managed to commit two turnovers in a single possession and, to quote Yukon Cornelius, was looking like “one humble Bumble.” As the lead grew to 96-81, Coach Dunlap called a momentum timeout. After the timeout there were more turnovers, fouls on three point shots, traveling calls, and all manner of Bobcats nasty. Things were getting so ugly a group of blind kids were crying. Jordan was on the phone ordering tinted windows for the workout court. We’re talking ugly.
Here are the answers to the big questions. Yes, Kemba got his 20 points with room to spare. There ain’t no stopping the K’Man from poppin’. Yes, Jeff Taylor got himself a new career scoring high with seventeen. I think it’s fair to say that he’s grown into his NBA sneaks. Speaking of personal bests, Kemba also set a new one with his fourth consecutive 20-point effort. No, not that it matters, the Bobcats didn’t get blown out like they did by the Bulls. Denver just never stopped scoring and Charlotte simply couldn’t keep up the pace. Final score was 113-99 proving that what earns an L in Washington is more than enough to get the big W in Charlotte. Finally, “fat” and “slim.” That’s the answer to the question, “What are the chances that Coach Dunlap will admit that playing Nuggets ball was a big mistake and your intrepid recapper was right?”
Next up the Cats hit the road where, let’s face it, their fortunes have tended to be brighter this season. It’s their second West Coast swing and compared to the first trip, it’s almost going to seem like a vacation. They hit Showtime LA 2013 (the Clippers) on Tuesday, and then get some time off again. March 1st they’ll face Utah, then their only back-to-back of the trip facing the Kings on Sunday and Portland on Tuesday. They should have a fighting chance of coming home with a 2-2 record for the swing so here’s hoping they can snare at least one. Until Tuesday when I burn the midnight oil so you don’t have to, have a great weekend y’all.