Now, I of course know the Bobcats are without their entire small forward position, having to fill in with Anthony Tolliver. But still, the Jazz are at the bottom of the Western Conference without much competition. Utah would probably be good enough to fight for a low playoff seeding in the East (mostly because the East is a disgraceful embarrassment), but that still doesn't instill me with many warm and fuzzy feelings.
Save for an overtime victory against the Milwaukee Bucks, who are most convincing as the NBA's worst team, the Bobcats have lost four of their last five games, including two against the Jazz, each time by three points, once at home and once on the road.
At least they're consistent.
This game was ugly and I wish I could end the recap at that. But I cannot.
Charlotte started with a nice 8-2 run led by energetic offense and defense. And then it went to crap. The offense couldn't get much of anything going. The Bobcats are best when they can find a flow because getting back into it can be so difficult for them. But they didn't quite find that in the first or second quarters. Or third quarter, either. Utah's defense did will to defend from the perimeter and Charlotte didn't get great looks.
Defensively, Utah also looked to exploit the Bobcats in the pick and roll a pit. They found some good jumpers with space created against Al Jefferson as he held back to defend the paint and they found some room passing with Cody Zeller trying to trap the ballhandler, which he does fairly well because of his athleticism and agility. The first quarter was a draw, but Utah extended this into the second quarter.
Oh and then it didn't stop in the second quarter. Ramon Sessions couldn't finish at the rim or draw fouls. It was just plain bad.
If you missed this game, you really don't want to know what we watched. It wasn't entertaining. It wasn't worth talking about. I've already repressed it and I'm not paying for a therapist to dig it out of me.
So with that in mind, let's skip ahead to the fourth quarter because it wasn't particularly interesting or important and the sooner this game is behind us, the sooner we can forget it ever happened.
The Bobcats entered the fourth down 10 points and cut that quickly to three in a matter of a couple minutes with the help of five points from Walker (including a three), who otherwise had another mediocre night. However, I should note that somehow each member of the Bobcats' starting five hit a three-pointer tonight. Remember this day.
And then Charlotte and Utah traded bricks without any points for two minutes of game time. It was entrancing basketball as James Naismith imagined so many years ago, I'm sure.
But lo and behold, the Bobcats scrambled back to tie the game and then later lead with about 1:15 left in the game. Both teams' offenses had found some kind of footing late but Utah had an edge with ball penetration and finding Derrick Favors among the trees.
Time wound down on the shot clock for the Jazz. It seemed they would get a hurried look at their chance to take the lead with half a minute left. But Trey Burke zipped towards the paint on the right side around Kemba Walker and Al Jefferson's help defense was nonexistent. (p.s. Biyombo's reaction on the bench is perfect)
And so the Bobcats were down three points. Plenty of time remained with 19 seconds on the clock.
They inbounded the ball to Josh McRoberts on the left wing. From the high post, he handed the ball off to Ramon Sessions, who cut baseline around McRoberts. Favors followed him and easily blocked Sessions' foolhardy layup under the rim. Sessions rebounded his own miss and passed out to Al Jefferson behind the arc. With 13 seconds left, Jefferson, a career 7 percent three-point shooter, took the shot for the tie. Clank.
Well, it wasn't quite the end. Charlotte fouled Derrick Favors, tried to get a quick two, missed, fouled again and then Jefferson hit a 41-foot three at the buzzer.
Basketball is beautifully, poetically stupid sometimes.