The Microscope is your recurring look at the NBA's small-scale developments—the rotational curiosities, skill showcases, coaching decisions, notable performances and changes in approach that make the league go 'round.
Superlatives for the Charlotte Bobcats
The Charlotte Bobcats continue to impress. Rarely have we seen a team so deeply committed to losing; they've done so in every form and fashion imaginable, in arenas all over the country and to opponents of all types. Even their more winnable games are sure losses; Monday brought the Bobcats' second game against the Washington Wizards in just a few weeks' time, and in those two contests the Bobcats lost by a total of 56 points.
Honestly, what more need be said? The Wizards have many struggles of their own, and yet they've proven over the course of those two games to be several tiers above the lowly Bobcats. Every year brings its lottery-bound clubs and cellar-dwellers, but Charlotte is truly carving out a unique place for itself in the greater realm of NBA failure with its shot at the all-time worst win percentage as a mere formality. These Bobcats are uniquely and horribly bad, and whether or not they do wind up securing their place in the history books, we can feel safe in dubbing them — through ineptitude, through injury and through their own doing — the worst of an era.
Wesley Matthews, shoving into overdrive
Perhaps this is making something out of nothing, but at the very least this struck me as a bit curious: in a 35-point loss to the San Antonio Spurs, Portland Trail Blazers interim head coach Kaleb Canales played Wesley Matthews for 45 minutes. The Blazers don't have anything to play for at this point, and beyond the first few minutes, didn't have much of a competitive chance in this particular game. Yet Matthews only subbed out for minute-and-a-half bursts in the middle of the second quarter and at the end of the third, with no hot hand to lean on, nor slim comeback hopes to nurture.
Matthews doesn't have any reason to rest, strictly speaking, because the Blazers' season will be over soon enough. Yet seeing a rotation player get that kind of burn in what was a blowout from the opening frame is certainly rare, if nothing else.
Beauty in balance for Sixers and Grizz
The Memphis Grizzlies and Philadelphia 76ers didn't exactly face the stiffest competition on Monday night, but it's still incredibly easy to fawn over their balance. With Philadelphia, six players scored between 11 and 15 points in an easy win over the New Jersey Nets. With Memphis, six players scored between 12 and 17 points in a victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers.
That's been the look for the Sixers — when their offense has clicked, anyway — all season long. But it may still surprise some to see a Grizzlies team that was previously so reliant on Zach Randolph's elite production to drift toward diversification even after his return. Rudy Gay truly changes the dynamic of this team; Randolph is still essential, but isn't relied on to provide the same gaudy statistical totals.
Memphis has another capable shot-creator to fill minutes and complete lineups, and although Gay may be a bit less steady than a dialed-in Randolph, he provides an outlet for the diffusion of scoring responsibility.