In case you turned off the game, the Hornets bench went on a 28-16 run in the fourth quarter and managed to close the gap to 9 points in the last minute, before finally losing to the Lakers 110-99. There’s about a minute left. The Hornets foul. I thought nothing of it– it’s a perfectly reasonable thing to be doing. It’s under ten, you have timeouts, things can happen. We’ve already seen one game this year (the Dallas overtime win) where it did happen. Clock runs down. Hornets foul again. There’s 4 seconds left and they have the ball. It wasn’t really until then that I notice the crowd is booing. CST does a close-up on the Hornets bench, and it’s Posey (you might have known he’d be behind something like this) and Armstrong hollering at the rookies to go, go, go. Collison throws up a shot that doesn’t make it, game ends.
What’s the fuss? Apparently the Lakers fans have some sort of taco promotion if they score over 100 and hold their opponent to less than 100. It wouldn’t have annoyed me so much if I hadn’t seen fans of two other teams, the Raptors and the Blazers, complaining on Twitter earlier in the night about the exact same thing: fans who cheer at the wrong times because they want free food. We’ve got one of those food promotions too, for Popeyes, only luckily ours is fairly new and people don’t usually make a huge deal over it. I think it’s tacky.
But then I check Twitter and see several people in my feed making fun of the Hornets bench for trying, and man, that got me fired up. “If they had played that hard the whole game they wouldn’t have been down 20!” “Lakers fans shouldn’t be embarrassed because they cheer louder for tacos than the game– the Hornets should be embarrassed for losing!” “The Hornets are poor sports for not rolling over!” (I made sure to bookmark that one for days when I need a good laugh.) Etc. One of these people was an ESPN writer, which is kind of inexplicable to me.
You people did notice that this wasn’t exactly the lineup that lost the game? The Hornets had three guards out there under 6-4, and were playing 6-9 Darius Songaila at center. I mean, that’s not exactly an NBA lineup. That’s serious small ball, and they were pushing the pace.
Two of those guys were rookies. Three of them were under the age of 23. Four of them have been in the league three years or less. Darren Collison is a rookie. Marcus Thornton is a rookie, who was 0-4 in the first three quarters, and is fighting for a spot in the starting lineup, while trying hard to get out of a three game shooting slump. Bobby Brown, who didn’t meet a three ball 4 seconds into the shot clock he didn’t like all evening, has to prove he shouldn’t be glued to the bench forever when Chris Paul gets back. Julian Wright is playing to get back in the rotation. Darius Songaila was trying because he is a bench vet who always tries. They’re playing for minutes. They’re playing for their careers.
It’s embarrassing the Hornets bench tried to erase a lead?
I’m sorry, have we met? I’m Ticktock6, I’m a Hornets fan. I was sitting in the stands all forty-eight minutes of a 58 point home playoff blowout, for which I did not receive free food. A blowout in which a bunch of veteran bench players managed to turn a thirty point deficit into almost a sixty point hole by completely giving up. That’s embarrassing. The point of this isn’t to get into a game of “who’s a better fan,” but some people last night on Twitter were trying to tell me the meaning of embarrassing.
You know what? I don’t play basketball. I wasn’t on the floor in LA last night. The bottom line is, I don’t have to live with giving up at the end of a blowout. The five guys on the floor do.