Charlotte Hornets

If Bobcats’ season were a prize fight, it would be over

Basketball is more popular than boxing. But boxing offers a quality basketball lacks. The referee can stop the fight.

No matter how bad the carnage on the court, officials have to allow the Charlotte Bobcats to play four quarters.

The boxing analogy is apt because Charlotte’s early-season fight is gone. The Bobcats might come back from the first left hook and even the second. But a beat-down is as inevitable as low lights during pregame introductions.

The Bobcats played a fine first half at home Wednesday against Brooklyn. In the second half the Nets outscored them by 31. The Nets won by 21.

The Bobcats lost their previous seven games – starting with the most recent and working back – by 17, 36, 30, 22, 14, 30 and six points.

If you’re a fan of the team or the sport, there still are reasons to come to Time Warner Cable Arena. You might get a surprise; the Bobcats won a thriller against Boston on Feb. 11.

And they are not without talent. I like Kemba Walker, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Ramon Sessions, kind of like Gerald Henderson and Byron Mullens, and would like to like Bismack Biyombo.

I’d also like a Porsche 911, preferably dark blue.

On Friday night fans will show up at the arena to watch Oklahoma City. Like San Antonio before it, the Thunder is the model for every NBA in a market Charlotte’s size.

The Thunder used the same trick the Spurs did: They drafted one of the league’s best players and packed talent around him.

All the Bobcats lack is one of the league’s best players and talent to pack around him.

Everybody above the age of 11 knew Charlotte would not be a world-beater this season. Last season it had the lowest NBA winning percentage of all time.

But on Nov. 25, not four years ago but four months ago, the Bobcats were 7-5. Remember? Twelve games into the season a major league team from Charlotte had more victories than losses. Remember the debate? Should we build statues or will a parade suffice?

Since then the Bobcats are 6-43.

If I said I understood coach Mike Dunlap’s rotation, I’d be lying. Veterans Ben Gordon, Brendan Haywood and Tyrus Thomas have been sent to the corner, which is at the end of the bench.

Of course the Bobcats favor their young players, players who theoretically will help them compete and eventually contend.

But don’t you want Haywood, an old-school prototype center, to join them? The Bobcats raved about Gordon, a fearless shooter and scorer, when they traded for him before the season. Thomas is perplexing. I loved his game once and still find myself pulling for him. I know not why.

Charlotte’s starting lineup against Brooklyn featured no player older than 25 and an average age of precisely 22. So the team is young. Call them the Young Bobcats. And realize that nobody cares.

The Bobcats play 10 home games after Oklahoma City. Among the guests are Boston, Miami and New York. Peripheral fans will show up for those glamor opponents, many wearing Boston, Miami and New York garb.

Hardcore fans will show up for Washington, Toronto, Detroit, Orlando, Philadelphia, Milwaukee and Cleveland.

Detroit comes to town March 23, a big night for the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.

Nobody wants to see a team quit.

But if the home team is down by 22 with 6 1/2 minutes to go, what if, instead of tossing a towel to a young Bobcat, somebody throws it onto the court.