Bobcats miss opportunity, lose 98-91 to the Suns

I know, Al. Nobody liked all the fouls. Or the turnovers. - Streeter Lecka

The Bobcats couldn't stay out of their way to take advantage of a sloppy performance by the Suns and let one get away at home.

Let me preface this with a statement: Nobody was out to get the Bobcats tonight. From the get-go the officials called a tight game, which I'm fine with as long as it's called consistently both ways like it was, but it hindered the flow of the game. The Bobcats and Suns combined for 53 personal fouls and 71 free throw attempts. If that sounds like a lot, that's because 53 fouls in 48 minutes means that we had a foul called an average of once per minute. To make matters worse, the Bobcats made 72.7 percent of their attempts and the Suns a lowly 57.9 percent. As you might imagine this did not make for a fun and free-flowing game. Again, the officials were involved, but they showed no favor toward either team tonight.

To make matters even worse, the two teams combined for 39 turnovers on top of all of the whistles. The Suns came in averaging over 18 turnovers per game and finished with 21; Charlotte contributed the other 18. Committing 18 turnovers is one thing, but when you allow the other team to turn them into quick points, it's even worse. Consequently, the transition defense was suspect and the Suns finished with 28 points off turnovers to the Bobcats' 17. If you're reaching to delete this game off of your DVR, I couldn't blame you since it wasn't pretty.

The Bobcats even managed to keep the rebounding battle even and beat the Suns in the paint 48-26. Yes, tonight was so sloppy that forcing 21 turnovers, having your opponent miss nearly half of their free throws and outscoring them in the paint while keeping the rebound battle even was not enough.

But the score was so close, I don't get it!

Actually, Gerald Henderson's 10 first quarter points helped get them off to a strong start despite losing going into the second. In the second quarter, the Suns showed why they have been a top-10 defensive team so far this season by forcing the Bobcats to take as many midrange jumpers and long-twos as possible. On the other end of the floor, Channing Frye hit some big threes and Phoenix took an 11-point lead at halftime. The two teams would go on to trudge through 19-point quarters and the Suns would see their lead balloon to as much as 21.

As soon as Kemba Walker broke through the Suns' blockade and began to attack the basket, the Suns got careless and the Bobcats were able to trim the lead hitting easy shots. This begs the question: should they have lost this game? Probably not had they tightened things up a bit. Late in the game, the Bobcats came within six of the lead, but Markieff Morris and P.J. Tucker free throws would put the game away for good.

During the game I tweeted that the Suns kept running ahead of the Bobcats to hold the door open for them, but the Bobcats would run up behind them and slam the door shut. It's true: they couldn't stay out of their own way. If you force as many turnovers and missed free throws and dominate in the paint like they did, you should win at least 80 percent of the time. Yet, they didn't and the Bobcats will have some good food for thought as they head to Milwaukee for a back-to-back tomorrow night.

Notes/Comment Fodder:

  • Bismack Biyombo received a DNP-CD tonight as Steve Clifford opted for Cody Zeller, Jeff Adrien and Anthony Tolliver off the bench.
  • Speaking of Zeller, he looked a little lost at times in the offense. The Bobcats would run him plays where he would receive the ball near the key or in the high post, and looked like he was not confident enough to shoot the jumper or take his man off of the dribble. Off of the ball, he looked timid as a screener and usually looked like he didn't always know exactly where to go on a given possession. Things like confidence will come in time, so this is just an observation, but when Zeller does figure out the proper spacing his passing could one day be an asset to the Bobcats.
  • Gerald Henderson led the Bobcats with 17 points, four rebounds and three assists. Josh McRoberts overcame a slow shooting start to finish with 10 points, six rebounds and five assists. Kemba Walker overcame a slow first half to finish with a solid game and Ramon Sessions contributed off of the bench as well.
  • Channing Frye poured in 20 points for the Suns and P.J. Tucker added 17 points as well. Together the pair combined to torch the Bobcats from beyond the arc going 8-for-10.
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