After the most forgettable season in the history of the NBA in 2011-12, the Charlotte Bobcats have made it clear that this upcoming season will begin on a new leaf – kind of. Their most recent exhibition of talent came in a ‘home and away’ preseason series with the New Orleans Hornets - a series that the ‘Cats were swept in, despite their new uniforms and Eric Gordon playing in neither game.
The back-end of the series saw Charlotte return home and drop an underwhelming seven points in the first quarter of play. The team then went on to force eleven more turnovers than the opposition, yet lose, missing seventeen three-pointers along the way. Leading the charge was, gun-slinging center, Byron Mullens, who hoisted seven threes and tied newly acquired Ben Gordon for a team high of fifteen points. Both were edged out by one point for the game high to New Orleans guard, Brian Roberts (It’s ok, I don’t know who he is, either).
After two humiliating losses (albeit the preseason), newly hired coach Mike Dunlap gave the team a day off and went home to brew up a master plan. As the team returned to practice on Saturday, Dunlap hurried his team into the facility and locked the doors behind them. Ok, I’m not so sure if he did lock the doors, but it remains funny picturing Ben Gordon ramming into barricaded gym doors screaming “Let me go back to Detriot” as sixteen other men miss dunks and try to dribble behind him. (For those of you upset I went that far mocking professional basketball players, name ten current Bobcats – I’ll wait).
Dunlap kept his players inside the practice facility (picturing a McDonalds’ Play-Place) for, a franchise record, FOUR hours that Saturday. It is rumored that this was not a designed plan by Dunlap, but that four hours was how long it took for Bismack Biyombo to finally figure out how to perform a “lay-up” without smashing the ball off the glass.
Regarding the actual practice festivities, Matt Carroll told the Charlotte Observer, “The crazy part is I don’t remember standing around one time. He gets you thinking so much and you’re working so hard physically. You don’t realize it because mentally you’re trying so hard to keep up. So much is going on, you don’t realize the time that has gone by.’’
It is also fair to point out that the time may have flown by extra fast for Mr. Carroll as this was the first time he was allowed to play basketball for more than ten minutes this century.
The Bobcats will play the Oklahoma City Thunder next on Tuesday, and we will certainly be able to see if this practice time paid off within that game - and the four to follow, as every player on their squad believes that they can crack the regular season starting line-up – also a first in NBA history.
- Dave Hilts