Cromulent describes this game in my opinion. In a way, it even describes the Bobcats season. Per Google, cromulent means "Fine, acceptable or normal; excellent, realistic, legitimate or authentic". The word that sticks out there is legitimate. The Bobcats have reached a point that many didn't think they would see. The Cats the last two seasons have been the butt of almost every NBA related joke. If you lost to the Bobcats then you were made fun of.
Tonight, the Sixers lost to the Bobcats and there wasn't anything strange about that result. The defense, though not as good as it's been earlier this season, showed why they were a top-five defense by forcing the Sixers into contested shots and keeping them from doing anything they wanted to do on offense. The Sixers shot 40 percent from the field tonight and the Bobcats made them earn just about every basket. However, a hole was exposed tonight that better teams than the Sixers will execute on. When the Sixers ran, the Bobcats got into their defensive sets very slow and that killed them a lot.
According to an Urban Dictionary entry, cromulent is to be "used in an ironical sense to mean legitimate, and therefore, in reality, spurious and not at all legitimate". It's ironic that a defeat of the Sixers, while legitimizing the Bobcats, at the same time doesn't legitimize them at all. The Sixers are tanking and they're making an effort to be the worst team in the NBA so they can get that No. 1 draft pick this summer. However, every great team has to start somewhere and to become legitimate you have to beat those teams that you're supposed to beat and that's what the Bobcats did, quite soundly too.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist missed tonight's game and it was a mystery as to how the Bobcats would look without him. Although at times the defense was missing MKG, Jeff Taylor did an excellent job of filling in for what was missed. Taylor was 8-for-16 with 20 points and did a lot of good things to justify himself being a starter. Unfortunately he only went 2-for-7 from three point range so he didn't do much to fix floor spacing problems. (ed. which is still better than the usual, I guess - Ben)
Cody Zeller had his best game as a rookie. He went 5-for-6 from the field for 10 points and he grabbed five rebounds. That's not why it was his best game, however - he actually looked like he knew what he was doing. That deer in the headlights look was gone: He would take the ball and he knew what he wanted to do. Zeller didn't rush and he didn't panic. It was a breath of fresh air compared to how he's looked at other times this season.
In the Simpsons clip above Ms. Krabappel says she never heard the word "embiggens" until she got to Springfield. Until I got to Rufus on Fire I never really understood what it was like to see a fanbase go through what it's like to be the joke of an entire league. It was eye-opening. Tonight's win looked pretty cromulent to me. The Bobcats didn't just beat the Sixers. They dominated them. The Sixers were never in control. They never looked matched, and they really had no chance. No longer is this team a joke, it's a team that can beat the bad teams, trade blows with the mediocre ones, and make the good ones run out of breath.
Congrats Bobcats fans. Your team is legitimate.