Monday, January 21, 2013

Slow Starters

I am moving a little slow on this fine MLK day. And now I find myself on a tight schedule as I’m planning to head over to watch the Charlotte Bobcats game this afternoon versus the Houston Rockets.

My poor Bobcats enter the game with a woeful 10-30 record, and while the Rockets haven’t exactly dominated their opponents this year (they’re 21-21 at present), they are understandably favored and I’ll be surprised if they don’t take care of the ’Cats. It looks like the present line has Houston giving six-and-a-half points, despite the fact that they are coming into the Time Warner arena with a seven-game losing streak.

It’s been a while since I’ve been to a Bobcats game -- at least a couple of years, I think. Has been hard to muster the energy to go during what has now become an inordinately lengthy stretch of bottom-feeder play by the team we sometimes affectionately refer to as either the “Bobkittens” or the “Boobcats.” I wrote something over on Ocelot Sports not too long ago discussing “The Bobcats’ Blues” we’re all sharing around here regarding the local squad.

I do nonetheless tend to tune in frequently to watch most of the games as we get all of them on the teevee. So I know the players and find myself having a rooting interest despite the knowledge that there’s little likelihood of a favorable outcome.

One trend that has happened all season for Charlotte is to start games slowly, often digging an early hole of 10 or more points, then playing from behind the entire game. Sometimes they’ll close the gap and make things semi-interesting in the fourth quarter, but more often than not the opponent’s lead will continue to hover around 10-15 the entire way, thus making for a less than compelling contest to watch.

In fact, by my unofficial count through 40 games the Bobcats have only led seven times at the end of the first quarter. They are 5-2 in those games. Also, in their most recent victory last Friday versus Orlando they were tied after one period, so it is obvious that starting well has a lot to do with their chances of finishing well, too.

But unfortunately they are almost always playing catch-up. It’s a little like starting every cash session by losing a big chunk or getting stacked right away, thus ensuring that the primary goal thereafter isn’t so much to leave a winner as simply to get back to even.

I would go on about it some more, but obviously it is important for me not to get there late and miss the tip-off. After all, that will be the moment when I know for sure the game will be close!

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