Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
The injury-riddled Charlotte Bobcats were easily dealt with when they played the Denver Nuggets Saturday night. The Bobcats trailed early, but managed to keep the game close until the Nuggets went on a 20-7 run to end the second quarter. They struggled to contain the Nuggets, who finished the game with a season-high 36 assists.
Stockholm syndrome: Psychological phenomenon described as "strong emotional ties that develop between two persons where one person intermittently harasses, beats, threatens, abuses, or intimidates the other."
Oh, hi Bobcats. What's that you're carrying? A whip? Oh! Okay, I'll bend over. It's my fault you're this bad.
I feel like it's my fault. I'm sure you feel like it's your fault, too. As fans, we often find ourselves inexplicably committed to a team that repeatedly tortures us with the same baloney every game. At some point, we come to accept their shortcomings as the norm, and eventually, as our fault, although I'm not sure why.
Really, what can you do?
Every time I write a recap, I feel like I'm writing the same things over and over again. The Bobcats' defensive system is terrible. The Bobcats don't move the ball well on offense. The Bobcats have little chemistry.
What am I supposed to tell you that I haven't already? I've never been big on giving you guys simple play-by-play recaps, because you can get those from any major news outlet. I'd rather look at the trends, and the stuff that led to the final score. But now, I feel like I've said the same things hundreds of times. I don't want to turn my recaps into Basketball 101 lectures.
And it's not just that I'm writing about the same things, but that I find myself endeared by this team. I can't put my finger on why, but I'm in love with the Bobcats, despite being subjected to the same crap every game.
I'm sorry for that aside. Let's talk about the game.
Much like every game, this wasn't close. The Bobcats did not rotate well on defense(duh), allowing the Nuggets to easily dish out a season-high 36 assists. But wait, that's not an outlier. This season, the Bobcats are dead last in assists allowed per game, at 25. Why? Rotations. Zone. Yada, yada, yada. I've exhausted myself on this topic.
Another topic I've exhausted myself on? Offensive movement. The Bobcats made 33 field goals, just below their season average of 34.8 per game, which is good for 26th in the NBA. Ironically, the Bobcats are ranked 9th in field goal attempts per game, at 82.7. They had 87 tonight.
So basically, the Bobcats can't score. Nothing new there.
But I've got to give credit to Ramon Sessions and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, who combined for 34 points on 65% shooting. Only one other player shot better than 40%, and it was Byron Mullens. Byron freaking Mullens. If Byron Mullens' 43% shooting is the third highest on your team, and his field goal attempts are second highest (14), you're almost definitely going to lose.
Sessions and MKG, however, scored well because they ran in transition and slashed through holes in Denver's defense. Listen, the Nuggets are not a great defensive team. They're not particularly good at defending the paint, and any smart team would exploit this. The Bobcats did not. They took a decent amount of shots in the paint (37), but only converted on 20. 54% in the paint? Against Kenneth Faried and Kosta Koufos, who blocked five shots? C'mon, Cats.
That 54% wouldn't be so bad if the Bobcats took three-quarters of their shots in the paint. Unfortunately, they did not. The Bobcats shot an unacceptable 32.5% outside of the paint, which brought their overall percentage to a gross 37.9%. Seriously?
Again, I'd be okay if the Bobcats were defensive stalwarts or offensive machines, but they're neither. In fact, they're the exact opposite of both of those things.
I am going to pretend this game didn't happen. I can try to make excuses, or tell you that everything will be okay. I'd rather not.
This season is going to be rough. The Bobcats have now lost 15 straight games. They haven't won in almost a month. Fun!
And yet somehow, I love this team. I will watch Byron Mullens jack threes until he's inevitably traded. I will watch DeSagana Diop brick shots until he figures out how to eat himself. I don't know why. I just will.
The Bobcats have had a fairly tough schedule lately, and have another tough game against the Miami Heat on Boxing Day. They might not win until the 29th, against the New Orleans Pelicornets. Oh well.
Keep whipping me, Bobcats.