Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports
I'm getting far too used to losing
Welpity welp welp. The Bobcats had a chance at ending their streak tonight but they just welped all over the place and couldn't do it. It wan't a terrible loss -- far from it -- but it wasn't exactly super-encouraging.
The first half was a mix of awful interior defense and mediocre interior defense from the Bobcats. Mostly, it was bad defense. Orlando just plain forced their way into the paint in the first half. Whether it was Glen Davis or Nikola Vucevic or Andrew Nicholson, the Magic found shots near the hoop, in the post and by slashing to the rim.
The Bobcats cut into the double-digit lead on the play of Kemba Walker and Gerald Henderson and ball movement that left few stones unturned.
Unfortunately, little changed in the second half. Kemba Walker had to push his way into the paint and make tough shots to keep the Bobcats in the game. Make no mistake, Charlotte got a handful of buckets from Byron Mullens, Ramon Sessions, Henderson and others, but Walker really forced the hand to not fall behind. He made some threes, finished at the rim, had 7 assists. He did what he could, but the failings tonight fell more upon the defense than the offense.
The Bobcats' defensive rotations have long been madness with little method to them. It just looks like players closing on shooter after shooter they're not accountable for, but just to try to contest the shot in case of emergency. Sometimes they get lucky and the oppornent misses a wide open shot. But often the result is the opposite. But the problem with this, as you may have seen tonight, is that the Bobcats interior defense doesn't match up well some nights. Brendan Haywood is not mobile. Byron Mullens doesn't defend the pick and roll very well, and often gets beat inside by the cutting big man. Such is the calamity the Bobcats face with playing NBA teams that can shoot over the zone and beat the Bobcats man v man.
Still, the game was close late. Walker had 10 fourth-quarter points, helping him to a career-high 32 points on the night (on 20 FGA). Unfortunately, the Magic capitalized on some late possessions cutting past the perimeter defense. Charlotte, finding their long shots not very efficient, tried to collapse the deficit, but failed. Their shot selection was not great, and seemed like so many late game possessions by the Bobcats in prior nights: hurried and focused on one player. The magic easily collapsed their defense and blocked shots or forced poor opportunities and the Bobcats were felled once again.
Charlotte is now on an 11-game losing streak. Thankfully, the next game is much more winnable. a classic clash against the lowly Los Angeles Lakers.