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The Bobcats Have A Path to the Playoffs

The Bobcats haven't been playing well recently. We know this. But all is not lost. We can still see playoff basketball in Charlotte this year. The path to victory is fraught with danger, but, barring a signing of the 16'9" Kobe, we knew that, too.

Let's go with a few assumptions about how the rest of the season will play out. Assume that everyone except the Lakers will be playing hard the rest of the way for seeding purposes. Assume Detroit will get enough people back to pull back ahead of the scrum for the eighth seed. Assume no more major injuries.

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Suppose the Bucks:

LOSE at Orlando

LOSE at Miami

WIN at New Jersey

WIN vs. LA Lakers

LOSE at Philadelphia

WIN vs. Memphis

LOSE vs. Atlanta

WIN vs. Oklahoma City

LOSE vs. Orlando

LOSE at Indiana

They would finish the season with a record of 35-47.

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Suppose the Pacers:

LOSE at Chicago

WIN vs. Washington

WIN vs. Chicago

LOSE vs. San Antonio

WIN at Oklahoma City

WIN vs. Toronto

LOSE at Atlanta

LOSE vs. Detroit

LOSE vs. Cleveland

WIN vs. Milwaukee

They would finish the season with a record of 36-46.

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Suppose the Bulls:

WIN vs. Indiana

WIN at Toronto

LOSE at Indiana

LOSE vs. New Jersey

WIN vs. New York

LOSE vs. Philadelphia

LOSE vs. Charlotte

LOSE at Detroit

and WIN vs. Toronto

They would finish the season with a record of 39-43.

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And suppose the Bobcats:

LOSE at Philadelphia

WIN vs. New York

WIN vs. LA Lakers

LOSE at Boston

LOSE vs. Miami

WIN at Detroit

WIN vs. Philadelphia

WIN at Oklahoma City

WIN at Chicago

WIN at New Jersey

WIN at Orlando

They will finish with a record of 39-43, with Orlando deciding who makes the playoffs by sitting their starters, because the Cats own the tiebreaker over the Bulls.

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So, you can see where the margin for error is. They've got to protect their house, defending home court. That means beating the Bulls heads up and beating the Lakers as it gets in their heads that these last few games don't really matter to them. And they've got to sneak at least one road win against a superior team. The best chance for that will come against the stumbling Pistons.

Tonight, against Philadelphia, the Bobcats have to get back to their formula for success. It's great when Gerald goes off for 25 and 13, but it all goes for naught when the other four starters don't produce, because Charlotte doesn't have an anchor or two who can always be counted upon to lift everyone else up with them. They have more to lose when one of the starters goes down than teams who rely on one guy as the foundation and everyone else as more or less a buttress that allows that guy to prosper. With the Bobcats, the starters are each a pillar of the structure, and when one goes weak, the edifice loses integrity.