The Bobcats lost a game that was never particularly close on Wednesday night to the Detroit Pistons, 109-94. After a second quarter in which the Bobcats were outscored by 14 points, the game never again reached proximity. It seemed possible that the Bobcats might notch a win against a Pistons team that also finds itself towards the bottom of the Eastern Conference Standings, but huge nights from Greg Monroe and Rodney Stuckey coupled with an injury to Bismack Biyombo ensured that the Bobcats would lose their 29th game of the season. More thoughts on another losing effort can be found after the jump.
It's becoming difficult to draw conclusions from Bobcats' games that aren't already readily apparent. It's obvious that this year's team is terrible by any standard, perhaps historically so. It's clear that much of the Bobcats' personnel isn't able to compete at a high level in the NBA. What that leaves is the assessment of which Bobcats' players are worth keeping for future, hopefully more competitive endeavors. But when the Bobcats are so thoroughly outplayed on a consistent basis, even that becomes difficult. With little talent surrounding them, it's often difficult for young, still-adjusting players to be effective.
Though Kemba Walker struggled tonight, the greatest blow to the Bobcats came after Bismack Biyombo left the game early with an injury, leaving the Bobcats without their best interior defender and with no way of stopping Greg Monroe. Monroe came up one point short of a 20-point, 20-rebound game, and the Bobcats never came particularly close to hindering his path to the basket. Rodney Stuckey also decimated the Bobcats' defense for 29 points on 18 shots. What made this game different from many other Bobcats' losses was that the Bobcats didn't play particularly poorly. This team must be graded on a sharp curve, and nothing about this loss screams that the Bobcats played significantly below the level they're capable of reaching. The Bobcats shot 43.9% and provided a reasonable team assist-to-turnover ratio (24 to 11). Perhaps this gradual loss was best representative of the Bobcats' ineptitude this season: Playing up to a near team-average level against a bad team, the Bobcats lost by 15.
Maybe the only conclusion worth drawing from this game is that the Bobcats are inevitably on the path towards garnering the highest chance of earning the first pick in a draft full of exceptional talent. That possible first pick contains hope for a franchise in desperately need of hope, given the natural pessimism that currently exists among fans.
Corey Maggette: Maggette scored 17 points on 11 shots and managed to keep from turning the ball over more than once, so that's nice. Grade: B+
Boris Diaw: I'm starting to think the Bobcats might not be able to trade Diaw for a superstar, despite Diaw's sterling effort in the Bobcats in the first few games of the season. In the 30 or so games since, Diaw has "regressed". 2-10 shooting for five points sums up Diaw's night well. Grade: C-
Gerald Henderson: Henderson played acceptably (6-12, 13 points and good defense). There's very little to say beyond that. Grade: B-
D.J. Augustin: Augustin couldn't find a scoring groove, but he did manage 10 assists to only two turnovers. Another acceptable performance that didn't add quite enough to make a significant impact. Grade: B-
Bismack Biyombo: Biyombo played reasonably well in nine minutes before leaving the game with an injury. He blocked two shots, played acceptable defense on Greg Monroe (though Monroe zoomed past him once), and made two hook shots. It's bizarre to me that players continue to attempt dunks over Biyombo, only to be blocked or fouled resoundingly. Grade: B
Reggie Williams: Williams scored quite efficiently and remained active throughout his 18 minutes, scoring 14 points on only seven shots. Grade: A-
D.J. White: White has struggled since returning from an injury that ended a strong start to the season, but he managed to return to effectiveness Wednesday night. 15 points on nine shots in 16 minutes is a stronger scoring performance than White has offered in quite a while. Grade: A-
Kemba Walker: Though Walker's six points on 2-8 shooting left something to be desired (efficiency), he did move the ball well and at least appeared active, recording five assists and three rebounds in nineteen minutes. Grade: C
Tyrus Thomas: I miss 2010 Tyrus Thomas. I'm not sure what's happened to Thomas to make him so tentative and seemingly out of rhythm, but his 1-6 shooting night was just another in a long line of disappointing games. But hey, he did manage to pull down four rebounds in 14 minutes, so that's something! Grade: C-
Derrick Brown: Brown has played well in recent weeks. He didn't play particularly well Wednesday night, but I suppose Brown's eight points on five shots could have been found less easily. Grade: C+
Matt Carroll: He only played three minutes and recorded no stats, so I'm incapable of adding more than, "Well, that happened." Grade: Incomplete