Charlotte Bobcats Zeroing in on 2nd Playoff Appearance in Franchise History

Bleacher Report MilestonesB/R StaffMarch 18, 2014

Charlotte Bobcats' head coach Steve Clifford makes a point with player Josh McRoberts (11) against the Atlanta Hawks during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Charlotte, N.C., Monday, March 17, 2014. (AP Photo/Bob Leverone)
Bob Leverone/Associated Press

Sitting at 33-35 with just 14 games remaining, the Charlotte Bobcats are in excellent position to score the second postseason appearance in franchise history. Their middling record is good for seventh best in the soft Eastern Conference, with the eighth-place Atlanta Hawks (30-35) 1.5 games back and the ninth-place New York Knicks (27-40) 5.5 games out.

Looking further down the standings, the 10th-place Cleveland Cavaliers have no realistic chance to make up 6.5 games on Charlotte, particularly with star point guard Kyrie Irving sidelined for at least the next two weeks due to a biceps injury, per the Cavs' official website. The Detroit Pistons, meanwhile, have fallen seven games back of the Bobcats, thanks to a 2-8 record in their last 10 games.

This all adds up to the Bobcats being a near-lock for the playoffs, even with the Knicks looking a bit threatening in the midst of a schedule-aided, six-game winning streak.

In terms of their place in the franchise's very brief history, the 2013-14 Bobcats are quite clearly the second-best version of the team, bested only by the 2009-10 squad that went 44-38 to capture the lone playoff berth to date.

With just three wins in its final 14 games, Charlotte can capture the second-best regular-season record in team history, a mark currently held by the highly forgettable 2008-09 Bobcats, a squad that finished 35-47 in former coach Larry Brown's first year at the helm.

In order to match the 2009-10 team in terms of regular-season record, this year's Bobcats would need to finish 11-3, which is seemingly unattainable for such a mediocre team. However, the 2009-10 Charlotte squad was swept in the first round of the playoffs, so the 2013-14 Bobcats might have an argument as the franchise's greatest team, if they can pull off a game or two in the postseason.

A depressing argument, yes, but still a legitimate one.