Frustrated by his team's inability to beat the Bobcats, Raptors guard Jerryd Bayless resorts to aggressive breakdancing.
The Charlotte Bobcats are widely acknowledged as the weakest team in the NBA. They have managed, as of today, only seven wins all season. And yet two of those wins have come against the Raptors. In fact, they have now beaten the Raptors six straight times. Ignoring for a moment the unpleasant thought of what it means when you can’t beat the league’s worst team, Saturday’s loss made me pause and forced me to try and analyze the bigger picture.
How is it that Charlotte manages to keep getting the best of us? How is it that 1983 dunk contest participant and compulsive traveller Corey Maggette is able to light us up for 21 points? How is it that name-of-the-year nominee Bismack Biyombo piles up 7 blocks against us? I’m tempted to say that it’s a simple case of “Rapception“, the phenomenon discussed previously on this blog. But I think there’s a simpler answer.
Why can’t the Raptors beat the Bobcats? Simple: karma.
To explain, we’ve got to travel back in time to March 24th, 1996, exactly 16 years ago this week, when this happened:
(Skip to 7:21 for the dramatic ending, when Michael Jordan hits a game-winning shot that gets waved off.)
That’s right: the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls, aka the greatest team of all-time, winners of 72 games in a single season, were beaten by the expansion Toronto Raptors. Michael Jordan hit the game-winner, but it didn’t count.
16 years later, guess who’s the majority owner of the Charlotte Bobcats?
That’s right: Michael Jordan.
It’s almost like a “Final Destination” thing. The Raptors had no business winning the game. Destiny wanted the Bulls to go 73-9 that season. Destiny wanted Jordan’s shot to count, but it was judged to have left his hands a split-second too late. And now, like all those poor saps who cheat death in the “Final Destination” movies, the Raptors continue to pay for that split-second all these years later.
So let’s take this as a good thing: it’s not Dwane Casey’s fault that Charlotte beat us again. It’s not Bargnani’s fault for shooting poorly, or James Johnson’s fault for playing like a zombie. The Raptors are powerless to beat Charlotte this season, until we find some way to break the MJ curse.
Stay tuned: the final installment in the Raptors-Bobcats 2012 trilogy is set for April 3rd, when the Bobcats bring their magical voodoo powers to the ACC.