Even the referees are starting to feel bad for the undermanned Charlotte Bobcats.
The Bobcats try again to overcome a slew of injuries as they visit the Milwaukee Bucks.
The Bobcats lost 88-72 Friday to the Toronto Raptors, ending a franchise-record three-game winning streak. Brevin Knight did not play because his knee was sore after he ran into a cameraman in Wednesday’s win over Philadelphia, and Raymond Felton, the only Bobcats player who had not missed a game, was scratched before tipoff with a sprained big right toe.
Charlotte’s lineup was so thin that before the game, referee Luis Grillo turned to coach Bernie Bickerstaff prior to tipoff and asked, “Do you want me to dress?”
Matt Carroll scored a career-high 24 points for the Bobcats, who own the worst record in the NBA. Little-used Kevin Burleson started at point guard and forward Bernard Robinson also saw some time early at the point.
“I knew I had to be more aggressive without Brevin and Raymond in the game,” Carroll said. “I’ve been waiting to get into a shooting rhythm. Tonight I got into a groove.”
Charlotte shot 25 percent in the first half and finished the game with a franchise-worst 31.8 percentage.
“I think it was obvious how much (Knight and Felton) mean to this team, just controlling the tempo of the game, getting guys shots and doing the little things,” Carroll said. “It’s definitely a big loss without them in the game.”
The Bobcats have never defeated Milwaukee, losing all six previous matchups with the Bucks.
The Bucks won for the fourth time in seven games Wednesday, beating the Orlando Magic 94-89 in two overtimes. Michael Redd scored 27 points, including the go-ahead 3-pointer in the second overtime for Milwaukee, which has won a season-high four straight at home.
“My shooting performance was not so good, but my confidence is still there,” said Redd, who went 10-for-30 from the floor. “I have high standards for myself.”
Toni Kukoc did not play because of a sprained left elbow and is day-to-day.
“Gilbert Arenas has had a good year, but I think Michael being left off the All-Star team is very disappointing,” coach Terry Stotts said. “He’s having the best year of his career. He’s leading a team that hasn’t been under .500 all year. He’s scored in double figures every game. He’s improved every part of his game. And I think it’s a shame that he’s not on the team.”