Monday, December 3, 2012

How is it possible to blow an 18-point lead in 5 minutes? Bobcats show us how

How do you blow an 18-point lead in the last five minutes of an NBA game?

The Bobcats showed us all how Monday night, losing a 97-79 lead in regulation in the final five minutes and ultimately losing, 118-112 in overtime.

In those last five minutes, the Bobcats kept jacking up difficult shots and couldn’t get a single rebound. They never got to the foul line, while Portland did a lot by driving the ball, slowing the game down and then grabbing offensive rebounds on its (rare) misses.

It was remarkable, really, to see the Bobcats fritter it away in person. They did so much good work. Byron Mullens slammed home the most spectacular dunk of his NBA career – a vicious one-hander from the free-throw line to posterize LaMarcus Aldridge. If you saw it, you won’t soon forget it. Ben Gordon had a rare four-point play as part of his 29 points. Walker scored more points in the first half (17) than his season average (16.3).

And still, the Bobcats messed it up.

The defeat also means that the unfettered feel-good era of these 2012-13 Bobcats is over. It lasted a month, which was enough time for the Bobcats to win as many games as they did all of last season.

But now reality has intruded. Once 7-5, the Bobcats are now 7-9 with two more likely home losses on tap for this week (the New York Knicks and San Antonio) unless they start playing a lot better.

That 7-9 mark is still far better than 7-59 – their mark from a season ago that set a new NBA standard for futility. The Bobcats could lose 49 more games in a row and still not get there.

But even with all the new players in the rotation, these Bobcats aren’t a .500 team. They are destined to slip further below that line of demarcation as the season progresses. They are a young team that is all over the place, closing games like a champ on one night and giving up huge leads the next. Eighteen points in five minutes? That’s a hard lead to lose even if you were trying to lose it, and the Bobcats weren’t. But they also weren’t the same team – almost complacent until the last couple of minutes, when they got jittery.

“We got sort of calm once we got the big lead,” guard Ramon Sessions said, “instead of attacking like we did to get the lead in the first place.”

Kemba Walker said Portland “out-toughed” the Bobcats late, which sounds about right. Aldridge (25 points, 13 rebounds) was dominant on the glass, and the Bobcats were as fragile as glass, and in the end they got handed one of those losses that is going to sting for quite awhile.


Anonymous said...

Losing a huge lead like that in such a short timeframe is 100% on the coach. There is no excuse why you shouldn't be able to stop the run - be it by slowing your offense down, working the ball down low or just selling out and putting your bigs in to grab rebounds.

Tiptop said...

If you could only find a way to turn that insight to the Panthers and that horrible product we have been getting served for years!!!

Anonymous said...

As much as I love Dunlap and I really think he is doing a great job with this team....he was the only reason the Bobcats lost the last two games.

He continues to live and die with that SUPER small lineup of Walker, Sessions and Gordon. When he did it vs the Hawks, it made sense because the Hawks had Teague, Harris and Stevenson, none of them too tall nor long.

But he did it with the Sixers (Holiday, Richardson and Turner) and it was a clear disadvantage for the Bobcats. Then he did it yesterday again vs Portland (Lillard, Matthews and Batum), and I cannot believe how he didn't see the clear damage that was done.

I understand those three guys can create and score...but they cannot defend together. How good is it for them to score 25 in a quarter if they give up 35 to the other team. The biggest leadt this team built last night, was playing MKG or Taylor at SF, Mullens at PF and Biyombo at C. as soon as he took MKG/Taylor and put in the Walker/Session/Gordon backcourt, everything went south in heartbeat.

The only thing I can really think of, is that they are showcasing Gordon as the capable and huge scorer he is, and infalting his stats, in order to trade him for some expiring contracts at the trade deadline. My other options are that the Bobcats are tanking or that he is indeed a bad coach - none of these I believe is the case.

Coach Dunlap, please give up on the idea of playing Walker/Sessions/Gordon for 20 minutes of every second should be able to see by now (after 3 losses) that it doesn't work. That can be good for 5-8 minutes, but not for most of the second half.

Also, for many out there who talk about Mullens, he had nothing to do with this, he was left alone to battle down low against 2 or sometimes three guys. That's what happens when you have 3 undersized guards on the court at the same time. Mullens played solid last night and was rebounding fine, until he was left alone to battle against Aldridge, Babbit and Batum, all by himself. It is way unfair to say he lacked effort...effort was about the only thing he had left in the 4th quarter.

Anonymous said...

Scott - you're an idiot, not to mention the biggest indecisive bandwagon cheerleader or pessimist this town has ever had.

The corner that this team has turned so early in the season is nothing short of remarkable and if the trend continues we are looking at the beginning of what is going to be a fine program that will win the fans back with its consistent deep playoff runs.

Unknown said...

Does Ron Rivera coach the Bobcats too?