I haven't been this depressed about the Bobcats in a long time. Obviously, stuff happens, but tonight's craptastic beatdown at the hands of the Pacers, 108-83, takes the cake for this season.
Jarrett Jack dropped 31 in three quarters. Think about that for a moment. Jarrett Jack is a perfectly fine player, but he totally lit up the Bobcats in a way usually reserved for, you know, superstars. Not only did Jack lead the game in points, but he led the Pacers in rebounds with 6. Jarrett Freaking Jack was 13-14 from the field, his only miss a three point attempt. That just can't happen. Travis Diener and Josh McRoberts were able to play this game and consume 22 combined minutes of total suck, and it didn't matter because Jack, Danny Granger, and the Bobcats' starters all combined to hand this one to Indy.
Boris was the only starter to play well. He scored 15 points, grabbed 5 boards, and had 3 blocks, but with his now-almost-requisite 4 turnovers. Everyone else failed to show up. Gerald scored 3 points on 1-4 shooting from the field. Raja was 3-9. Emeka is still recovering from illness, and 7 points and 9 boards in 24 minutes is pretty darn solid, but 1-5 from the line is annoying as all get out. And then there's Raymond, who shot a miserable 3-13 from the field, including only 1 three point attempt.
How the hell does our starting point guard lead the team in shot attempts? How the hell did they score only 9 points in the third quarter? How the hell does an NBA TEAM SHOOT 48% ON FREE THROWS FOR THE GAME? How do these guys let Juwan Howard outplay them all, coming off the bench? This game was an utter disgrace, and the best part about it is that it's over and we can start thinking about the next one.
Jarrett. Freaking. Jack.
I hate feeling that knot of despair in my stomach. Part of it is that making the playoffs is the only kind of reward we can hope for with this team; we're not winning a title anytime soon unless we draft an immediate superstar.
The last time I felt this embarrassed by the Bobcats was way back in November, when they totally crapped the bed against the Mavericks at home. They've lost badly since then, but when they did lose it wasn't a soul-crushing experience because I could prepare myself emotionally for the possibility in advance. This game, like the Mavs game, came out of nowhere, and deals a major blow to their playoff hopes because it's a loss to a competitor for that final playoff spot.
As of this writing, New York has lost to Orlando, Milwaukee is slowly withering away against Portland in the waning minutes of their game, and Chicago is hanging with the LA Lakers, tied(!), early in the fourth quarter. Assuming the best for Charlotte and that both Milwaukee and Chicago lose, it won't be the worst thing in the world. Losing by 30 and losing by 2 count the same in the standings.
They get several days off now before heading to Washington to play the Wizards on Wednesday. It's a must-win because there's a reasonable chance they lose the next seven games after, which are against playoff teams plus one home date hosting New York. Hang on. It's about to get bumpy.