While Coach Dunlap’s rotation has been marred by inconsistency this season, the Bobcats have consistently lost, regardless of whomever has been out on the court. Both trends continued last night as the Bobcats lost on the road to the Toronto Raptors 92-78. Dunlap’s small lineups against the Raptors worked effectively throughout the first three quarters, but the strategy backfired on both ends of the floor in the fourth, when the Bobcats were outscored 23-10.
Bismack Biyombo played 23 minutes; Byron Mullens played eight minutes; Jeff Adrien played one minute; and Tyrus Thomas and Brendan Haywood were inactive
Trailing by one heading into the fourth quarter, any hope for a two-game win streak was quickly slashed. Dunlap’s small lineups could not stop the Raptors from infiltrating the paint on offensive; the Cats also struggled to get open looks on offense. On many possessions, they hoisted contested, desperation shots with the shot clock expiring.
Raptors Power Forward Amir Johnson took advantage of the undersized lineups, posting 12 points and a career-high 21 rebounds (8 offensive and 13 defensive) in 44 minutes of action.
With 2:30 left in fourth and down by seven, the Cats expelled their last gasp for a comeback. After a miss, Johnson grabbed the offensive rebound and made the putback, increasing the lead to nine and effectively shutting the door on the Cats.
Gerald Henderson followed up his career-night against the Celtics with a solid performance, pacing the Cats with 22 points, adding seven boards and three steals in the losing effort. Kemba added 20 points and four assists. Josh McRoberts started his second consecutive game, adding 10 points and nine boards.
With McRoberts’ recent emergence, Byron Mullens’ lower-back strain injury has not had as much of a blow to the team as was expected.
The rookie struggles for Michael Kidd-Gilchrist continued with a 2-12 shooting performance and foul trouble.
His poor shooting was indicative of the team’s performance as a whole. The Cats shot 32.5 percent from the floor and 69 percent from the foul line. With a limited post presence, the Cats simply failed to get easy shots, settling for difficult jump shots. With long jump shots, come long rebounds, and the Cats did not have the personnel to contest for second chance opportunities.
In spite of their struggles in the half-court offense, the Cats did have an advantage early in the fourth as the Raptors found themselves in foul trouble, committing three fouls within the first 1:10 of the quarter.
While their offense struggled the most, the Cats only made one of their first four free throws, further contributing to their pitiful 10-point output in the quarter.
Although the score does not reflect how close the first three quarters were, the Cats’ play down the stretch once again proved how one bad quarter will keep this team from winning.
With a game at Boston tomorrow, the Celtics will look to avenge their loss against the Cats earlier this week. Avery Bradley has already promised that Henderson will not repeat his breakout performance, when he posted a career-high 35 points. Adding in Paul Pierce’s presence for this upcoming game, it may be an uphill battle for the Cats.