Things got real sad in Charlotte on Monday night, as the NBA's two worst teams — the Charlotte Bobcats and the Washington Wizards — locked up for a battle of who could care less. The winner (well, relatively speaking)? The Bobcats, who played at home against a Wiz squad without big-minute forwards Nene and Trevor Booker and still managed to lose by 28.
Charlotte shot 39 percent from the floor against a team allowing nearly 108 points per 100 possessions on the season, let Washington tie a season high with 28 assists on 40 made baskets, and gave up a combined 37 points on 22 shots to two players (Cartier Martin and James Singleton) on 10-day contracts that weren't in the league two weeks ago. It was a tough night for the 'Cats, to put it mildly.
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Our man @Jose3030 snagged the above screencap of Bobcats coach Paul Silas — who was serving as an assistant for Monday night's loss, as son Stephen Silas slid up to the head chair, as he's done several times in recent weeks — letting the struggle show. It also bled through pretty openly in the gamer filed by Bobcats beat reporter Rick Bonnell at the Charlotte Observer:
To those Bobcats fans worried this 7-48 team might fail to deliver the most chances in the May 30 draft lottery: No sweat.
The Bobcats trail the 13-44 Wizards by four games in the loss column. Any combination of six Wizards victories and Bobcats losses clinches Charlotte a 25 percent chance at the No. 1 overall pick. [...]
The final margin of defeat has been greater, but seldom have the Bobcats looked more lifeless, particularly considering the Wizards are the NBA's second-worst team. [...]
"Honestly, we expected to win that game tonight," said Bobcats guard Matt Carroll. "That's a game we had circled."
Thanks to Matt Carroll, who is hitting 18.5 percent of his 3-pointers and chipping in a robust 7.4 Player Efficiency Rating (remember, league-average is 15) in just over 11 minutes per game for a seven-win team, for providing that gem of a quote.
Throughout this long, arduous season, Bobcats fans have had to rely on the promise of a brighter tomorrow led by first-year general manager Rich Cho and the team's two first-round draft picks, center Bismack Biyombo and point guard Kemba Walker. But while Walker was one of the few 'Cats to offer resistance on Monday, contributing 16 points, seven rebounds and seven assists in the loss, Biyombo was mostly whisper quiet ... save for the sound of being dunked on by fellow lottery pick Jan Vesely in the first quarter.
For their part, the Wizards seemed to enjoy the festivities. From Washington beat man Michael Lee at the Washington Post:
With 5.9 seconds left in the third period, Vesely came up about a foot short on an eight-foot jumper, but Bobcats forward Derrick Brown grabbed the air ball, shuffled his feet and was called for traveling. The Wizards got the ball back and Shelvin Mack (11 points) made a jumper that hit the back of the rim and splashed through the net. Mack's teammates gleefully celebrated as he headed back to the bench because they realized that while this has been a taxing season, there is another team that has had it considerably worse.
"I was not aware. I looked at the board and saw 7-47 and I was like, 'Errrr,' " [James] Singleton said, when asked if he knew about the Bobcats struggles' while he played for the Guandong Southern Tigers in China.
Our thanks go to James Singleton for giving us "Errrr," the official slogan of the 2011-12 Charlotte Bobcats.
On the plus side, at least there weren't too many witnesses to Charlotte's struggle by game's end. By the time the game got into the fourth, the reported paid attendance of 10,303 — capacity at Time Warner Cable Arena is listed at 19,077, by the way — had dwindled considerably, judging by this shot of the crowd tweeted by a producer at Charlotte radio station WFNZ-AM:
The real bummer is, things don't seem poised to get much better or prettier, either in the long term or the short.
As Rob Mahoney wrote at Bleacher Report, "Every single thing about [the Bobcats] franchise [...] is up in the air," as Cho and his new front office look to chart a winning course with "minimal assets and no secure direction." Yes, the Bobcats will likely have a top lottery pick in this year's draft, but even a potential franchise-changing talent like Anthony Davis won't transform the fortunes of a team that loses by 28 to the Wizards overnight. Bobcats fans are going to have to be in this one for the long haul, I'm afraid.
As for the short term ... well, the Bobcats take on the Cleveland Cavaliers — 18-36 on the season, losers of nine of their last 10, with top overall draft pick Kyrie Irving likely to miss his fourth straight game due to a shoulder injury — in Cleveland on Tuesday night. The Cavs are 6.5-point favorites. In previewing the affair at Bobcats-focused blog Rufus on Fire, blogger Ben Swanson wrote, "May God have mercy on your soul if you willingly watch this game." And even though his squad is a good bet to pick up a rare win over the league's worst team, Conrad Kaczmarek of Cavs blog Fear the Sword offered readers an all-caps warning that the game "COULD BE THE MOST AWFUL DISPLAY OF PROFESSIONAL BASKETBALL ... EVER." Not to put too fine a point on it or anything.
Tip-off's at 7 p.m. Eastern. Just 11 more of these left until the offseason, where everybody's 0-0 and tied for first place. Hang in there, Kitties.
Video of the Wall-to-Vesely alley-oop courtesy of our friends at the National Basketball Association.
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