Thursday, April 26, 2012

Post for McAlester News-Capital

New York Knicks @ Charlotte Bobcats

Bobcats Set NBA Record for Futility in 104-84 Loss

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – History was made Thursday night in Charlotte, but it was not the history anyone desires to make.

The Charlotte Bobcats fell to the New York Knicks 104-84 Thursday, stamping their place in history as the team with the worst winning percentage ever.

The Bobcats finished the season with a 7-59 record and a .106 winning percentage, sinking slightly lower than the 1973 Philadelphia 76ers, who went 9-73 with a .110 winning percentage.

Knicks guard J.R. Smith scored a game high 22 points, and forward Amare Stoudemire added 21, including a vicious dunk over Charlotte forward Tyrus Thomas, as the Knicks dealt the Bobcats their 23rd consecutive loss.

The Knicks outscored the Bobcats 58-40 in the second half, despite holding starters Baron Davis, Carmelo Anthony, and Tyson Chandler out of action.

Stoudemire only played 24 minutes in the game.

The win, combined with Philadelphia’s loss at Detroit, gave the Knicks the No. 7 seed in the Eastern Conference for the playoffs. The Knicks will face Miami in the first round, with game one on Saturday.

Forward Gerald Henderson scored 21 points for the Bobcats, who shot 43.2 percent for the game. New York shot 51.8 percent.

Despite the Bobcats’  abysmal season, there was a decent crowd on hand to witness the last game of the regular season for both teams, although many in the crowd sported Knicks gear.

The Bobcats have been in the national spotlight for all the wrong reasons, first for their terrible season, but more recently for comments made by former head coach, and current SMU head coach Larry Brown, criticizing majority owner Michael Jordan for his operation of the franchise.

Wednesday, Brown appeared on the Dan Patrick Show, and said Jordan was surrounded by people, “who don’t have a clue.”

Jordan responded in an interview with the Charlotte Observer that appeared on Thursday.

“My success will be judged differently,” Jordan said. “I’ve come to accept I’ll be scrutinized more than any other owner.

“I know now that I have to have a tough skin about these things.”

The first half was a back and forth affair, as neither team led by more than five points. The Knicks led 41-36 late in the second quarter, but the Bobcats quickly erased that deficit behind an Augustin three-pointer and a Henderson layup.

Smith was the star for the Knicks in the first half, scoring 15 points overall, and 13 in the second quarter alone.

Knicks rookie Jerome Jordan reached a career high in points in the first half alone, scoring eight points, and pulling down four rebounds. Jordan finished the game with 13 points.

Another rookie, former Kentucky Wildcat Josh Harrellson, racked up 18 points for the Knicks. 

The Bobcats were down just two at halftime, but New York slowly pulled away in the third quarter behind the inside play of Stoudemire and Harrellson, and the outside shooting of Smith, outscoring the Bobcats, 30-19.

Bobcats rookie Kemba Walker scored 13 points for Charlotte, while D. J. Augustin scored 12, and D.J. White, 11.

While the Knicks move on to the playoffs, the Bobcats will look ahead to the NBA Draft Lottery, where they hope to gain the No. 1 pick in this summer’s draft.