"So this is what rock bottom feels like?" was my first thought after the final seconds ticked off the clock on Monday night. The Bobcats have been bad this season, but they haven't been this bad before. Hope of a victory tonight was in the air with the Wizards coming to town, yet hope was quickly dashed as Charlotte fell behind eight points to open up the game.
The sparse crowd at Time Warner Cable Arena witnessed a slew of turnovers that you wouldn't even expect out of high school ball players. At one point in the game Gerald Henderson threw a no look pass to the Bobcats bench that was actually quite funny. Other than a few other funny moments the game was quite depressing as you can imagine.
After the quick 8-0 run to start the game the Bobcats managed to get it to 12-10 after two Kemba Walker free throws. It was the closest that Charlotte would get the rest of the way as the Wizards put their foot on the throat of the Bobcats. Maybe the most depressing thing of the night was that John Wall, easily the Wizards' best player, only had two points in a 28-point win.
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Wall did manage to dish out 12 assists and frequently pushed the pace to get open looks for teammates, but the most impressive stat of the night was that the Wizards bench had three players drop 17 or more points. James Singleton, who is playing on a 10-day contract finished with 18 points and 12 rebounds. Roger Mason and Cartier Martin were a combined 8-of-17 beyond the arc as the bench outscored the starters 67-46.
On the Bobcats side of things, Corey Maggette was the only player who had a good game and came out to compete. You have to respect him for battling through injuries this season and playing hard for a team that is comprised of a bunch of youngsters. He finished with 23 on the game in just 19 minutes and kept the game from becoming a 40-point deficit.
My biggest issue with this game was the play of Walker. He came out lifeless and didn't compete like he usually does. Wall, and Shelvin Mack even, had their way with him on the offensive end. Many like to focus on Walker's jump shot when talking about improvements he needs to make, but his defense is more concerning to me. Down the road in close games will you be able to have him on the floor or will he be too much of a defensive liability? That's something we haven't been able to find out this season due to the Bobcats being down late in games.
Washington was able to penetrate at will against the lazy Bobcats defense. The Wizards compiled 28 assists and were either hitting wide open threes or slashing to the hoop for easy buckets. Needless to say it was a pathetic effort on the defensive front for Charlotte. Bismack Biyombo is rarely a force on the offensive end but he was also a no show on the defensive side. Biz finished with as many fouls (3) as rebounds.
Offensively speaking, the Bobcats never established a rhythm, and outside of Maggette, no other player could be counted upon for offense. Henderson has to be a 20-point scorer for this team to have a chance to win and tonight he never was able to get it going. He missed a couple of bunnies at the rim early in the game and wasn't able to get his jumper to fall. Surprisingly, Byron Mullens didn't chuck up a bunch of long twos and instead attacked by driving or posting up tonight. Yet it didn't make a difference as he missed 7-of-11 shots. Still, baby steps!
I could have done a more traditional recap tonight and gave more play-by-play analysis, but I'm afraid most of it would go like this: Wizards take the ball up, penetrate, dish out for a wide open three or finish at the rim for a layup. For the Bobcats: Walker dribbles, dribbles some more, and some more, followed by a bad shot.
It was a forgettable night in Charlotte and hopefully the Bobcats can redeem themselves with a better performance tomorrow against Cleveland.