Charlotte Bobcats playing for respect, not wins

June 20, 2012; Charlotte, NC, USA; Charlotte Bobcats new head coach Mike Dunlap addresses the media during his introduction press conference at Time Warner Cable Arena. Mandatory Credit: Sam Sharpe-US PRESSWIRE

When the Bobcats missed out on Anthony Davis, many critics wondered if the franchise could ever rise out of the bottom of the Eastern Conference.

Charlotte chose Mike Dunlap for the head coaching position instead of signing a bigger name, leaving analysts scratching their heads.

In the lockout-shortened 2011-12 season, the Charlotte Bobcats were 7-59, which was the lowest winning percentage in NBA history. But 12 games into the young NBA season, the Bobcats have already matched last season’s win total.

The Bobcats do not have a big three, let alone one superstar, but they are getting the job done by buying into Dunlap’s defensive philosophy.

Sure, Charlotte is allowing 99.6 points per game, but the Bobcats are ranked No. 1 in the league in blocked shots (8.8 per game) and they have forced 16.3 turnovers per game.

“We’re trying to go from the losingest organization in the history of the NBA to establishing where people have to respect us,” Mike Dunlap said. “I don’t know anything about wins. I do know about respect.”

The Bobcats are the most surprising team in the NBA by far, boasting a better record than the Chicago Bulls, Indiana Pacers and the Boston Celtics.

Charlotte is now 6-0 in contests decided by four points or fewer after beating the Washington Wizards 108-106 in double overtime on Saturday night.

This time Charlotte was led by Byron Mullens who scored 20 of his 27 points after halftime, but overall it was still a team effort by the Bobcats.

Six Bobcats scored in double figures, including Ramon Sessions and Ben Gordon who both came off the bench.

This past season the Bobcats would have found a way to lose the game, but with a new found attitude and a season based upon redemption, the Bobcats got the job done.

But in a conference dominated by superstars, can the Bobcats continue to win as a team and develop their young nucleus?

The Bobcats face their most daunting test of the season on Monday when they face off against the Oklahoma City Thunder on the road.

When the Bobcats step into Chesapeake Energy Arena they will be playing for more than just a win, they will be playing for respect around the league.

For more NBA news, follow Reginald on Twitter: @McIntyre_II

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