I wasn't at all unhappy to see that the Charlotte Bobcats blew a home game Monday night against Toronto, 103-101.
Why? Because I am hoping that the Bobcats end up in the playoffs as the No.8 seed, and that loss made it a little more likely that they would do just that. The Bobcats still lead Toronto by two games with nine to go in the current NBA standings for the No.7 spot, but if the two teams tie, Toronto now would win the tiebreaker.
Here's my reasoning for why eight is great. First of all, I think it would be fun for the Bobcats to make the playoffs -- as a sports columnist, it gives me more to write about. And I would like their first-round playoff series to be competitive. That would be most likely, I believe, if a No.8 Bobcats team faced the best team in the Eastern Conference -- Cleveland, which will be the No.1 seed.
Plus, there's the LeBron James factor. LeBron is so magnetic that the series would be elevated another couple of notches just because of his presence. I'm not sure a Hawks-Bobcats playoff game would sell out around here, but two LeBron-Bobcats playoff games in uptown Charlotte (and there would be at least two) would bring the scalpers out in droves.
If the Bobcats make it, they would play one of four teams in the playoffs -- Cleveland, Orlando, Atlanta or Boston. Courtesy of the Bobcats' fine PR staff, here is how the Bobcats have done against those four teams this season and in Larry Brown's two seasons as Charlotte's coach.
1. Cleveland: Charlotte is a stunning 3-1 vs. the Cavs this season (and 3-4 overall under Brown). Charlotte is the only team to have beaten Cleveland more than once in the Eastern Conference this season. It's weird, but it isn't a fluke. Charlotte knows how to play the Cavs.
2. Orlando (the most likely current opponent for Charlotte): 1-3 vs. Orlando this season and 1-7 overall under Larry Brown. The Bobcats did just win the teams' most recent matchup two weeks ago in Orlando, but facing Dwight Howard for a whole series?! Ouch.
3. Boston: 0-3 vs. the Celtics this season and 1-5 overall under Brown. The Bobcats have lost four straight to the Celtics. Like Orlando, the Celtics seem to be a really bad matchup for Charlotte.
4. Atlanta: 1-2 vs. the Hawks this season (with one game left); 2-5 overall under Larry Brown.
So bring on the Cavs. Obviously, the Bobcats won't lose on purpose over the final two weeks of the regular season -- once you get on that sort of roll, you might never stop, and Charlotte could get passed entirely by Chicago (currently three games behind the Bobcats) for the No.8 spot.
But if the roulette wheel stops on a 1-8 matchup pitting Cleveland and Charlotte starting in mid-April, I think we're in for a great time.
5 weeks ago