Well, this is starting to feel a lot like last season. Don’t get me wrong, we aren’t in the midst of a 23-game losing streak, and the team is much improved from last season, but when loss after loss mount up, even the best writers and the biggest fans have a hard time coming up with what to say. Overall, the Bobcats didn’t look too bad tonight. It has been stated that the first 12-15 games gives the NBA time to scout teams and figure out ways to outscore a team and how to defend it. This is specifically what is happening with our Bobcats. We lost tonight in what I felt was an opportunity to break the losing streak. Final score was 100-94. Clippers extend their win streak to 8.
So when I made mention of NBA teams being scouted, I am referring to watching game films on teams and look for patterns. For the Bobcats, I can point out that Sessions had been killing everyone with drives to the basket. Mullens had been lighting up mid-range jumpers and 3-pointers. Even Gordon had been coming off the bench and lighting up the scoreboard with minimal effort. Jeff Taylor has been playing stellar defense for a rookie. If you notice, though, most of that has come to a streaking halt. Sessions and Walker are getting all sorts of attention in the paint, and getting blocked for their effort. Taylor is getting into foul trouble early. Haywood can’t see to get anything going. Ben Gordon has someone on his hip the entire time he is on the floor. Open shots just are not coming as easily. That would be the result of good scouting. Coach Dunlap said that the key for us winning games would be that we would become a hard team to scout. Well, that would make a team be hard to beat, but unfortunately, what was working has been figured out and we’re sputtering to find another combination.
On a positive side, one of the options we have been using has been Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Bismack Biyombo. Both of these guys are learning every night and getting better. It couldn’t come at a better time, because as far as that hard to scout goes, Biz is getting starts and playing smarter, and MKG is gaining confidence and looking the part as becoming an elite NBA player. I’m not going to dwell on the guys too bad tonight because this was some of the best basketball I’ve seen them play in a while. It was against yet another tough west coast team. The worst part is that we have Atlanta tomorrow night. A home-away, back-to-back is never a good thing, but fortunately it is just down the street, so to speak.
For me, the way we play the Hawks tomorrow will reveal if we’re really slumping that bad, or if the Western Conference teams really are that strong. I have a hunch we may see a victory tomorrow night. We played the Hawks close…and without Henderson. With the team healthy and MKG more confident, tomorrow’s game will be a good one.
Trade Street Post’s Game-breaker award goes to this site’s good friend, Byron Mullens. This guy is really becoming something to see on the court. He’s becoming such a hustle guy and doing so much on the floor right now. It’s remarkable to see him play. Check out the stats for some of our guys below. Mullens’ numbers are something we need to keep seeing in order to start winning more games.
Mullens = 19pts/8rebs/ 2 assists/ 1 block
Walker = 17pts/6 assists/2rebs/1 steal/1 block (on Blake Griffin)
Henderson = 12pts/4rebs/2 assists
Kidd-Gilchrist = 11pts / 8rebs/2 assists/1 block
Sessions = 11pts/3 assists/1 steal
Biyombo = 10pts/9rebs/2 steals
Jeff Taylor Slumped tonight, but that was due in part to foul problems. Hopefully he just lets it roll off and he steps up tomorrow night. He’s too good of a player to let it affect his game.