(Photo Courtesy Eric Gay – AP)
It was fun while it lasted. The Bobcats were on a 4-game win streak as they went into tonight’s game against the San Antonio Spurs. Would a 5-day rest be just what the doctor ordered, would it allow rust to form on our streaking Bobcats? We added 2 players at the trade deadline, so the break would allow the team to get used to the guys and the guys used to the team, but it could be a momentum killer. As the title states, we didn’t win, but why? Read on my friends…
The Bobcats and the Spurs both looked pretty rough on the court in the first quarter. Neither team was doing a very good job on offense. The Bobcats were able to scrap together a better quarter, however, by wrapping the 1st up with a 25 – 14 edge. Games like this sting for me when we lose, because I fully believe that we are going to win. I believe we are going to win them all, but obviously that isn’t realistic…and some of my fandom is taking over my common sense. The game was kind of downhill from the 1st quarter on. The Spurs remembered who they were and the barrage began. They outscored us for the rest of the quarters, and basically reminded us of what an incredible team they are. With a final score of 92 – 82, the Bobcats held yet another team to under 100 points.
The Bobcats have nothing to hang their heads about in this game. They played pretty well, and are learning how to use the new guys on the roster. Tonight was just one of those nights that we weren’t quite certain who should do the scoring. Big Al had 20, but it was a hard earned 20 points. Behind him, Gary Neal had 15. Hendo had 12, Kemba had 11, Zeller had 10, Tolliver had 8, McRoberts had 4, and Ridnour had 2. It was just one of those nights where we learn from mistakes and move on to the next one. I make it a point to not watch Stephanie Ready talk to Coach Clifford because I want to always formulate MY opinion of what we could have done differently. If Coach and I are on the same page, that’s cool. If we aren’t, maybe the employees that comb the Internet for “Blog Site” articles will see it and they may believe that I may be on to something as well. At any rate, here is my opinion on why we lost tonight:
First off, we allowed 9 3-pointers and we made only 3. That can’t happen. Second, we shot a woeful 36.7% from the floor. That’s just plain bad. In shooting that percentage, there were many forced jumpers in the mix there. By forced shots, there were 8 blocks by the Spurs tonight. 8 blocks! I’ll cover a way to fix that in a moment. There were rushed shots because the shot clock was on our backs, and you just can’t do that. Lastly, we were terrible on our 3-point defense. Our defensive rotations got sloppier as the game progressed. Way too many open 3-point shots. When they shot 45% from 3 to our 17%. Bad things, man. Bad things.
I said I had a way to fix the blocked shots in the game tonight. We made a trade at the NBA deadline to get a guy that is known to be a 3-point specialist. We didn’t use him right at all tonight. Gary Neal is a very versatile player, and it definitely showed tonight. He was the second leading scorer, and he was rather creative at getting buckets. Most of his buckets, however, came from him slashing and driving. For some reason, I believed that the addition of Neal would open up the lanes for the likes of MKG and Hendo to slash to the basket for dunks, lay-ups, and foul shots. Instead, Neal was doing the slashing. From this, no spacing was created for Al. If Jefferson got the ball in the post, Neal was slashing back and forth, and was seldom on the same side of the court for an open 3-pointer. I know the team and coaching staff will figure this out, but tonight was just frustrating for me. I expected a win tonight and after 5 days to figure out how to use our pieces, I just think we used them wrong. Hendo was 6-15 and Neal was 6-13. It just so happens that Neal hit a 3 and made both of his foul shots. I’m not hinting that Neal should start, but I believe that in the 4th quarter, we should have seen a lot more Neal, and a lot more 3 point attempts. McRoberts missed all 4 of his 3s, Hendo missed all 3 of his, but Kemba, Neal, and Tolliver each hit 1. That would be 50%, 33%, and 25% respectively. Honestly, McRoberts had an off night with only 4 points and 10 assists. Cody and MKG each had 8 rebounds, but Gilchrist didn’t even score.
I still think big things are coming for the Bobcats. They had not had a night this cold in a few games, so better to get it out of the way and move on to the next one. It may take a game or FEW to get the pieces to fit together, but they will get it together and we’ll see a great stretch of basketball. Just stay with us Bobcats/Hornets fans. The best is yet to come.
Let’s Go Cats!