If head coach Mike Dunlap and the rest of his Charlotte Bobcats squad were to go see Santa Claus today, I’d be willing to bet that they would ask St. Nick for an easy schedule during the holiday season. Maybe that schedule would help get them out of the rut that their current 11-game losing streak has put them in.
The jolly-red gift-giver won’t be delivering that gift, though. Charlotte’s schedule for the rest of December is quite brutal. Only five of their eight remaining games in the month are against teams with records over .500. That doesn’t sound terrible in itself. However, it’s much worse than it sounds.
Of the five teams with winning records, one of them is the defending NBA-champion Miami Heat, a team that no struggling team would want as an opponent. Another is the Brooklyn Nets, who have been rolling through the first part of this season. The Bobcats also have to face the red-hot Golden State Warriors, who are not only playing well, but also play an inside-out game that exploits Charlotte’s defensive weaknesses.
Beyond just the teams with winning records, the team with losing records also can cause problems for the Bobcats. One of their opponents is the New Orleans Hornets. The Hornets are 11th in the NBA in three-point field goals made per game this season and rank fourth in three-point percentage. As Charlotte struggles mightily to defend the long-ball, that could spell trouble for the Bobcats against the Hornets, even if New Orleans is only 5-18 on the season.
Charlotte’s toughest opponent with a losing record is indubitably the 11-14 Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday night. The Lakers issues have been noted to sickening degrees. However, Los Angeles has won their last two contests and looked like they are working out some of their kinks. Even if that wasn’t so, is there any team more likely to give the Lakers some direction than a Bobcats team that comes limping into their game.
The Lakers are still working out their problems and there’s no denying that. But I don’t see any way that their vast advantages in talent and NBA-experience won’t spell a great deal of trouble for Charlotte.
I’m sure that the Bobcats would ideally like to finish up the month of December strongly, perhaps going 5-3 or 4-4 in their last eight games of the month. Looking at how tough their remaining schedule is, though, I don’t see that happening.