The Week That Was
The Charlotte Bobcats' performances last week began in a less than stellar manner. First, they were thrashed by the Milwaukee Bucks 121-102. With games against two playoff teams on the horizon, this was not a promising start to the week and a disheartening way to start the month of April, considering their 4-12 record in March was their best record in any month since November. However, the Bobcats managed to right the ship at home against Philadelphia 76ers, barely grabbing an 88-83 win before dropping the final games of the week in competitive fashion against the Miami Heat and Brooklyn Nets.
Sure, the week started out looking like a long one, but all-in-all, things turned out okay for our 'Cats.
I'm going to cheat here and make this the Co-Best Performance section. Josh McRoberts feasted on the 76ers' frontcourt, tallying 12 points,16 rebounds, and four assists. In the same game, Kemba Walker tallied 17 points, five rebounds, 10 assists and five steals.
So much went wrong in Milwaukee, and I hate to keep belaboring the point that this was a bad game. I'd also hate to single out one player. The Bobcats absolutely lost this as a team, so pointing out that Ben Gordon had as many field goal attempts as turnovers, or that McRoberts shot 2-8 on the night would be incredibly unfair to them. Here's why the entire team gets the nomination:
- No one on the team had a Defensive Rating under 123, and the team as a whole finished with a 139 Defensive Rating. With 100 being average, this was really, really bad.
- Twenty turnovers is bad, but committing that many and only forcing half as many is worse. Four of the Bobcats' starters tallied a total of 12 turnovers with all four players playing >30 minutes. The only starter without a turnover? Bismack Biyombo, surprisingly.
- It was a tough matchup in the frontcourt, with the Bucks being the seventh best rebounding team in the league. But losing the rebounding battle 45-32 really compounded the Bobcats' problems.
Hey, you win as a team and you lose as a team too, sometimes.
You know what good teams have? Short memories. The Bobcats showed this trait this past week when they responded to their 29 point drubbing in Milwaukee by redeeming themselves at home against a team that bested them just a week earlier. In many ways it's probably better to have such a thorough stomping than suffer a soul-crushing heart-breaker. For a young team, it's hard to move past those losses over time, especially nearing the end of a long season. Good for them, though. I hope this is indicative of good leadership from the staff.
Injuries have been a problem all season long, but they've continued to be a problem. The victim this time was forward Byron Mullens -- yet again -- with a bruised elbow. Sure, there have been many more devastating injuries for the Bobcats this season, but we saw how the they looked without Mullens earlier in the season. Remember how one dimensional the offense became? Looks as if Josh McRoberts, Tyrus Thomas and Jeff Adrien will continue will get his minutes if Mullens (listed as questionable for Tuesday's game against Memphis) is activated.
Without deliberately trying to ignite the comment section, Kemba Walker was the Bobcats' best player this past week. Walker started off the month of April averaging 15 ppg, 3 rpg and 6 apg. While his shooting percentages may not have been overwhelming, he also carried the team at times. His 84% free throw percentage was great, though; more of that, please.
The Week That Will Be
The Bobcats' remaining schedule is rather unforgiving, and this stretch is no exception. Tuesday, the Bobcats go to Memphis before catching a break and going to Detroit on Friday. Then, they're right back at home against Milwaukee on Saturday -- the second night of a back-to-back -- before facing the Knicks at home on Monday, April 15.
If you're keeping track at home, that's two home games and two road games; one back-to-back; and three games against playoff teams. Still, I'm hopeful the Bobcats will make my preseason prediction of 22 wins look smart and steal one or two, but it won't be easy.
(Editor's note: Tyrus Thomas had all of your threes last week.)