The two worst teams in the league played again tonight and neither stepped very far out of the basement. It came down to 3 points, a 99-102 loss at the hands of a team that barely fits together. There are supposedly no moral victories, especially against such poor competition, but somehow this game has some redemptive qualities.
Kemba Walker, the rookie drafted #9 overall, had a rebound short of a triple double with 4 minutes to go in the third quarter and finally got that elusive rebound in the fourth quarter. It’s only the third triple double in Charlotte Bobcats history. The first came for Stephen Jackson on November 20, 2010 (24, 10, 10). The next came for Boris Diaw January 17, 2011 in overtime at Philadelphia (25, 11, 11). Tonight is likely the first of many for Kemba Walker, with 20 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists. 11 assists for Kemba is his high-water mark…by 5. Wow.
If you want to look at another positive, look to Byron Mullens. Mully is a sixth-man. He’s a great change of pace at the center position. Desagana Diop took over the starting duty in the previous debacle against the Sixers, which didn’t settle with Mullens’ scoring, resulting in only 4. Home court and a realization of the value in that role, likely helped ensure a new career high for Mullens with 23 points. Mullens does very little else contributing only 3 rebounds, all coming in the 4th quarter.
It was still a loss to a team with a new coach and the same number of wins as the Bobcats coming in. Washington is a team of puzzle pieces with mismatched cuts. Almost like a really poorman’s all-star or AAU team, where they have some nice parts and pieces, individual talent, but all guys looking to get theirs and little concerted effort going into team wins. John Wall is a nice, quick point guard. A lot of people crowned him last season as an heir apparent to Chris Paul, Deron Williams and in the same conversation as Derrick Rose and Russell Westbrook as “elite” point guards. He looks for his own shot and puts on that swagger show before he looks to make a teammate look good. Imagine if he’s toss lobs to JaVale McGee like Paul does with Deandre Jordan.
The issues with the Bobcats are beyond not working well together. The Bobcats can’t consistently find a line-up, starting or otherwise. There are about 41 points per game sitting on the bench in suits right now, and that doesn’t include Reggie Williams who we haven’t even seen in a Bobcats uniform yet. Injuries are most of the story for the Bobcats right now. I know that’s a big “excuse” in the fan community, but it’s a fact. You can make the argument, if you need to do that for some personal agenda, that none of the Bobcats are rushing back from injury, intentionally. Call it tanking, call it letting futility winning by forfeit. Injuries, in my opinion, should never be questioned by fans.
It’s another loss, the 8th in a row, but I think we’ve seen a glimpse of the future that becomes hope, in the play of Kemba Walker and Byron Mullens. You can’t hang your hat on that and say “We’ll be ok with these two”, because they’re both still wildly inefficient and inconsistent.
I’m sure there is a lot more you can glean from this one looking at the box score, such as Boris Diaw’s 21 points and 10 assits or Tyrus Thomas scoring 13 points and 10 rebounds. The story however, is Washington is a healthy team with their roster performing the way their coach and fans expect. The Bobcats got surprising contributions from Boris Diaw and Byron Mullens and Kemba Walker had a career night and it still wasn’t enough. These are the facts and I don’t think you can get much deeper than that in a matchup of 3 win teams.