CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The dreaded day for the Bobcats is fast approaching: When Charlotte could earn the dubious distinction of becoming the worst team in NBA history.
Guard Matt Carroll warned his teammates about it two weeks ago. He knew then if Charlotte didn’t win a game it would risk becoming an historic embarrassment.
If Charlotte loses its six remaining games the Bobcats will finish with the worst winning percentage in league history (.106), a dubious honor that’s currently held by the 1972-73 Philadelphia 76ers, who finished 9-73 (.110.)
“We are desperate to get a win,” Carroll said. “No one wants to be known as the worst team in NBA history. I’ve been talking about this with guys on the team for last two weeks telling them we at least need to get one more win. I think guys at first heard it but weren’t thinking it was going to happen.
“But now everybody is aware it could happen, so we better get a win.”
It won’t be easy.
The Bobcats (7-53) host Chicago on Wednesday.
After that they close this lockout-shortened season against Memphis, Sacramento, Washington, Orlando and New York.
On paper, Washington, which has the second-worst record in the league, would seem to be the best chance at a win. But the Wizards hammered the Bobcats by 28 points just last week in Charlotte.
The Bobcats, who are playing without leading scorer Corey Maggette, have shown no signs of being able to win a game and are mired in a franchise-record 17-game losing streak.
On Sunday they lost by 12 to the Boston Celtics even though they rested star players Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen. The following night the Bobcats lost to a New Orleans Hornets team that sat its top two scorers in Eric Gordon and Chris Kaman.
So Charlotte’s rallying call has become: Just win one, baby!
“I would love to get a win — that’s our goal,” coach Paul Silas said. “We can’t make open shots right now. We just have to keep fighting. You look at our roster and we are trying, but it’s awfully tough.
“It’s tough on the players, it’s tough on the coaches and it’s tough on the people upstairs” in management.
Silas said the record losers is a title nobody wants their name associated with.
“Nobody does but if it happens, it happens,” Silas said. “You do the best you can. Somebody has that record now and they didn’t want it either. But it happens. I just hope we’re not associated with it.”
Silas has tried to remain a positive, steadying force for the Bobcats.
He’s been around some other bad NBA teams before but has always seems to persevere.
“That’s just the way I am,” Silas said. “I’ve been through so many trying times in my life. To be where I am now it’s because you fight through it. If you become negative and cease to fight that’s when you’re going to lose — and I’m not going to lose. And I’m not going to let my players get to that point either.”
Carroll said team spirit is remarkably high considering the team’s struggles this season.
He said the difficult part is knowing the Bobcats let some games they should have won slip away, including a 75-67 loss to the Hornets on Monday night.
Although other teams are sure to rest their stars down the stretch, Charlotte’s best chance to win might have come against the Hornets.
“They’re a good team, but we look at them as similar to us,” said Bobcats guard Gerald Henderson. “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.”
And more frustration could be ahead.
The Bobcats, who’ve already clinched the worst record in the league this season, need to shoot better than 30 percent — as they did against the Hornets — to have a remote chance to win.
“The schedule is not going to get easier,” Carroll said. “We have to believe we’re going to get one game coming up. It sounds silly to think let’s win one game, but it’s kind of been that feeling all year. For us, it’s been hard to get one game all year.”
Getting one now is imperative to the Bobcats because the alternative is something they don’t want to think about.
“You never, ever, ever want that label of being the worst team,” Carroll said. “It’s just a bad thing.”