Kind of fitting isn’t it? The Bobcats are in a race for their playoff lives and tonight, against the holders of the 8th spot, is NASCAR Night at Time Warner Cable Arena. Against a team called the Pacers no less.
I love NASCAR night.
There I said it, and it’s not just because I am a fan of motorsport either. I know some die hard NBA/Bobcats fans think tonight is a gimmick and un-cool and wearing a checkered flag is totally gonna ruin any hipster street cred you may have amassed. I don’t see it like that. NASCAR fans are a loyal breed, evidenced by many wearing clothes otherwise suited for a billboard for the latest detergent. I see well over 100,000 people at every Lowes Motor Speedway main event, and if we’re being honest the Bobcats could use a little bit of both loyalty and attendance. Sitting in Charlotte and not tapping into this vast resource of fans would be a silly mistake, equivalent to sitting on an oil well in ANWR complaining about gas prices. The fact that the NASCAR Hall of Fame and Bobcats arena are a short walk from each other is a massive cross marketing dream. I encourage you to get downtown early tonight and check out the Hall if you get a chance. It’s hands on fun, mixed with some cool history and its attached to a Buffalo Wild Wings so you can get good and not sober before the biggest Bobcats game of the year.
The Indiana Pacers spent the last few weeks matching the Bobcats in ugly losses to keep about 3 teams still active in the playoff chase. Now after a 4-2 record over their last 6 games the Pacers stand a solid 2 games above the Bobcats and Milwaukee Bucks with only 11 games left. Charlotte has had plenty of time to rest and prepare for this game, but Stephen Jackson is still questionable and without him the team has struggled. My general feeling here isn’t a good one; the team hasn’t been playing playoff caliber ball, Jacks injury, and the last time they played the Pacers the referee’s “pulled a Donaghy” and decided the game themselves. It seems to me the universe doesn’t want us in the playoffs. Maybe that would be a blessing in disguise with a lottery pick on the line, but I for one can’t pull for a tank job. I fully believe that as long as there is even the slimmest sliver of hope you gotta try to make the playoffs. It really depends on whether or not the fans and much more importantly the team realize how big the game is. If they do, I have no doubt they can get a win and another game closer to the playoffs.
The game tonight is a massive one, if not the biggest game of the year for Charlotte. Momentum is up for grabs, and as we all know, Uncle Mo can carry you to some unexpected heights. Tonight isn’t the last lap of the playoff race and it’s not like we can clinch our spot with a win, but in the words of the great Ricky Bobby, slingshot… engaged.
-Bold prediction: The Bobcats show up with the checkered flag alternate jersey and steal one in the game’s waning moments. As a side note, I know most hate them, but I love the NASCAR alternate jersey. Sure it’s a bit kitschy with the pinstripes and checks, but I think it kind of works and its a nice little change of pace.
-Nic’s picks: Bobcats -1.5 and Under 191.5
Grab some tickets for tonights game here. It’ll be a fun time and proceeds go to charity. Bobcats v Pacers NASCAR Night tickets