The Charlotte Bobcats appear to be a collision course with NBA futility.
The Bobcats lost a franchise-record 17th straight game 75-67 to New Orleans on Monday night and took a step closer to finishing the season with the worst winning percentage in league history.
If the Bobcats fail to win any of their remaining games they’ll finish with a .106 winning percentage, which would be worse than the 1972-73 Philadelphia 76ers, who finished 9-73 for a winning percentage of .110.
It would seem Charlotte’s best shot at a win is next Monday at Washington, the second-worst team in the league. However, that same Wizards team just throttled the Bobcats by 28 points in Charlotte last week, so the reality is Monday night might have been their best chance to win a game.
”The whole year has been frustrating but this game was more frustrating because we really got ourselves up for this one,” said Gerald Henderson, who finished with a game-high 27 points. ”It was a close game the whole game but we couldn’t score. It was a struggle to score.”
Henderson seemed to be the only one who could score for the Bobcats, who shot 30 percent from the field.
Stephen Silas, who stepped in again to coach the Bobcats for his father Paul, said he went through the entire playbook looking for something that would work.
”The only thing that seemed to work was handing the ball to Gerald Henderson to try to get in the paint,” Stephen Silas said.
The loss assured the Bobcats (7-53) of the worst record in the league, giving them a 25 percent chance of landing the No. 1 pick in the NBA lottery on May 30. The Bobcats and the rest of the NBA will learn Tuesday if potential top pick Anthony Davis will enter the draft as a news conference in scheduled in Lexington, Ky.
If the Bobcats can land him, it would be an immediate help to a team that has struggled both offensively and defensively this season.
The Hornets won despite playing without leading scorers Eric Gordon and Chris Kaman and shooting just 34 percent from the floor. Gordon was given the night off to rest, but no reason was given as to why Kaman was held out of action.
Greivis Vasquez picked up the slack scoring 20 points, while Carl Landry added 14 points and 12 rebounds off the bench for New Orleans.
It was the second-lowest scoring NBA game this season.
”It wasn’t pretty,” Hornets coach Monty Williams said.
For a while, the teams flirted with a different kind of NBA futility.
The league record for fewest points scored in a game was set on Feb. 27, 1955 when the Milwaukee Hawks and Boston Celtics combined for 119.
This score was tied at 47 after three quarters.
The Bobcats trailed by as many as eight in the second quarter but closed the half on an 18-6 run to take a 39-35 lead at the break as Kemba Walker provided a spark with seven points during the stretch. The teams combined to shoot 37 percent in the first half.
Things got progressively worst in the third quarter as they combined to score just 20 points — the lowest in the league in a quarter this season and the fewest since 2004 — on 15-percent shooting (6 for 40).
The Hornets put a run together to start the fourth quarter and built their lead to seven after Marco Belinelli knocked down a 3-pointer from the top of the key. The Bobcats would claw back to close the gap to two after Henderson got hot, but Vazquez hit a runner in the lane to make it a two-possession game.
The Bobcats couldn’t get any closer after that.
Williams was not thrilled with his team’s shot selection after the game.
”(We) missed some shots early but they have to keep taking them,” Williams said. ”Guys have to play with confidence. We don’t want guys thinking about missing shots, especially when you don’t have to look over your shoulder. It’s not like I’m going to put somebody else in the game to take your spot.”
The Hornets only played nine guys.
Henderson said the goal from here on out is to get a win and avoid setting the dubious NBA record.
”Absolutely,” Henderson said. ”The Hornets are a good team, but we look at them as similar to us. This is a game we wanted to win. You look on the schedule and we felt like this was one we could really get. That’s why it’s even more frustrating.”
NOTES: NASCAR driver Denny Hamlin took in the game from courtside. … The Bobcats’ 23 field goals and .303 shooting percentage was their worst this season. …Belinelli scored in double figures for the 41st time this season.