The Charlotte Bobcats had lost 18 games in a row.
Until they met the Chicago Bulls on New Year’s Eve.
The Bulls played like they were thinking about where they were going to be at midnight — or like they started the party the night before — and the Bobcats played like a team that didn’t want to lose 19 in a row.
Charlotte opened the fourth quarter of a tied game with a 10-0 run and held on to beat Chicago 91-81. That is eight wins on the season for Charlotte. It snaps the Bobcats losing streak and gives Chicago a new low point for the season.
This was all about the Bobcats backcourt outplaying a Bulls backcourt (the one that still awaits Derrick Rose). Kemba Walker had a team-high 18 points, Gerald Henderson added 16, and both Ramon Sessions and Ben Gordon each had 15 points. The Bobcats backcourt had 63 points, the Bulls just 28.
Usually the Bulls try to make that up in the paint, but Joakim Noah might as well have stayed home. He moved at the speed of a three-toed sloth and had two points, four rebounds and two assists for the game.
But it wasn’t just Noah, the Bulls bad offense was a team effort — Chicago shot 35.1 percent for the game and was 4-of-16 from three. In the end, the Bulls had an offensive rating of 82.7 points per 100 possessions, which is just epically poor. They were good on defense but the rules of the game still dictate that you have to score to win. The Bulls didn’t bother.
Charlotte got their win without Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, who is out with an eye injury.
It’s just one game of 82, it doesn’t tell us anything we didn’t already know — that the Bulls struggle without Derrick Rose in the lineup. And the Bobcats still have some NBA players on the roster that can get it done if they need to.
Andre Drummond is a terrible free-throw shooter…except, apparently, when he’s shooting from the other free-throw line. Monday night against the Raptors, Drummond cut Detroit’s deficit to five at the end of the third quarter with this three-quarter-court heave at the buzzer:
Now, if only he could work on his accuracy from his own free-throw line.
Not a lot has gone right for the Nets this season, but an impressive clutch shot by seven-time All-Star Joe Johnson gave them their 14th win of the season on Monday. With time expiring, Johnson banked in a long three-pointer to put Brooklyn up 105-104 over Denver and secure the victory:
Johnson had 12 points on the night.
For about a week, word has circulated throughout the NBA that George Karl’s days in Sacramento were numbered. They’ve lost eight of their last 10 games, and players have more or less checked out on him. Remember, it’s only been a year since the Kings unceremoniously ousted interim head coach Ty Corbin to bring Karl in, which came on the heels of their puzzling dismissal of Mike Malone in December 2014.
Now, ESPN.com’s Marc Stein reports that the Kings have made the decision to let Karl go:
The decision itself isn’t surprising—it always seemed to be a matter of “when,” not “if” Karl would be fired. But the optics here are not good. If everybody knows it’s coming, it makes no sense to leak that the change is going to happen hours or even days before it’s made official.
The report of the Kings’ decision on Karl comes on the heels of a concerning bombshell Rajon Rondo dropped following Sacramento’s 120-100 loss to the Cavaliers on Monday night.
Via the Sacramento Bee‘s Jason Jones:
Sports Illustrated‘s Jake Fischer further reported that only three players indeed showed up on Monday morning:
That’s a bad look for everybody involved. An optional shootaround is more or less unheard of in the NBA, and if only three players bothered to come, that’s an unignorable sign that the team has quit on Karl.
Since he came into the league, Karl-Anthony Towns‘ offensive footwork has been unusually advanced for a rookie. He showed off his impressive moves again on Monday night, getting to the basket around Luke Babbitt with this spin: