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Bobcats Lose to the Rockets; Playoffs Hopes Virtually Dashed

My frustration with the Bobcats doesn't really extend to games' results. Sure, they lost badly to the Houston Rockets, 99-78, but I can live with that if I know team management has properly stacked the odds as much in our favor as they can. That's a fancy way of saying that if we have a good roster and we play well, then I can live with losses, but I can't live with losing if it's the result of poor process.

When you give up 48% from three and 50% from the field, good luck. If, on top of that, you can't get anything going and shoot 36% from the field, good night. As I expressed in the gameday thread, the Rockets are kind of the Bizarro Bobcats, in that you can argue that, individually, Emeka, Gerald, Diaw, Bell, and now maybe even Felton could all start for them, but the Rockets are still a better team because Yao is such a beast, and Artest and Battier together are a formidable defensive fortress.

The Bobcats's offense is built to exploit opponents' weaknesses, while the Rockets' defense is built to neutralize opponents' strengths. On the other side of the ball, it's much the same. The Rockets are built with a clear hierarchy: Stop Yao, then stop McGrady (when he was healthy), then stop Artest, then Battier, then Scola and Brooks, among starters. With the Bobcats, Gerald is probably the number one guy to stop, but then it's a mishmash between the other four guys. That's not necessarily a good thing.

Because the Rockets, in their current iteration, have a guy that few in the league can defend, they don't have to concern themselves with finding other players who can create their own shots; they can get guys who do other things well. The Bobcats, in contrast, are invested in a rotation full of well-rounded players, none of whom can honestly say he's the real offensive star of the group, though Gerald has the strongest claim to the title. It means that instead of having to have an All World on ball defender to stop our best player, the opposing team only needs a few slightly better than decent defenders to render our offense useless.

You can't really call out players for being not talented enough to beat the opposition. Praise them for overcoming the odds, sure, but Felton might have been the only one with a defensive mismatch among the starters, and that's fine by Houston, since Raymond's our worst starter and a poor shooter. Good times.

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Monday is, blessedly, an off day, following two terrible losses to superior teams. Tuesday, it's back to the grind, with a game at Phoenix. That game's in the loseable column, as far as I'm concerned, but the next night, Wednesday, in Sacramento, will be a must-win. I don't care that it's the second half of a back to back on the road. It's a must-win, because right now, with that loss, the Bobcats have to go 18-8 the rest of the way just to be in the playoff conversation. If I'm extremely generous, I'll say there are 6 definite loseable games left, and the rest are either winnable or tossups.

Prepare for the lottery.