This is what happens when you don't take care of yourself.
I've never been as embarrassed to be a Bobcats fan as I was last night, during that pathetic phlegm ball of a first quarter. I've been merely disappointed with the team's inability to evaluate talent and their longstanding inability to operate like a real NBA franchise, but until last night I wasn't totally humiliated, embarrassed, to own a Bobcats cap, several jerseys, and season tickets.
Worse, I was embarrassed for the people who actually work for this organization and have to plow through this mess every day at the office. I've had the pleasure of speaking with Pat the PA guy a couple times in passing, and he was just a plainly joyful guy. Sara, the PR rep who was my contact for the Ultimate Fan contest. The guy who answered the phone and answered a few of my questions about exchanging tickets for later dates. The Lady Cats. Caroline and 'Tone, who have to simultaneously sell the arena fan experience as the BEST NIGHT EVER and sell sponsors' products, all while being happy and excited on camera. And Rufus, especially Rufus. He clearly doesn't get paid enough, because, hands down, he's the best mascot I've ever seen. True, he doesn't dunk off trampolines. And true, he doesn't go out and breakdance battle in the parking lot, but next time you're at a game, pay close attention to him during the breaks. The dude is a master of details, and I marvel at how he's ON at every moment.
When the Bobcats play like they did in the first half last night, the whole enterprise becomes a sham. It becomes a damn farce, because it's not NBA basketball anymore, but some cheapass imitation that just pisses off the people who know better and confuses the hell out of the people who don't.
I'll be quick with the criticisms.
-- In such a disgraceful blowout, why did Gerald Wallace get more than 30 minutes? Why did Emeka get 27 minutes? Tell them it's not their fault, but they need to rest and let the scrubs get some real minutes against real competition.
-- As a corollary, how did Morrison only get about 13 minutes? How did Ajinca and Hollins not get at least 20 minutes each? I would have gone with a lineup of Augustin, Brown, Morrison, Ajinca, and Hollins, subbing in Felton and Dudley when either a guard or big man needed rest.
Now for the bright spots.
-- Ryan Hollins played his ass off. Only 1 rebound is a bit disappointing, but dude was a terror in the paint and showed everything that gives him hope for a future in the league as a Joakim Noah type.
-- Alexis Ajinca wasn't awful. He's still mechanical and still the worst pick of the first round this year until proven otherwise, but he scored on a dunk and a short jumper, and looked reasonably competent on defense.
-- I hesitate to call Augustin's performance a bright spot, because I'm still not sold on his defense, but I'd just be nitpicking to nitpick. I absolutely love that he gets in the paint and scores from there. It's definitely his best attribute.