Another tough NBA fight, another difficult loss for Bobcats fans to swallow. Sure, Charlotte gave Houston a run for it’s money on Monday night, but in the end dropped their second straight game and (once again) started what could develop into another lengthy losing streak.
Despite forcing James Harden into difficult shots (he shot just 5-for-20 from the floor), Charlotte couldn’t figure him out defensively, as he penetrated at will and reached the charity stripe an incredible 21 times. When a player like that gets there that often and hits 19 of his tries, you know you’re in for a long day.
Fortunately, the Bobcats actually made a game of it, though, as point guard Kemba Walker abused Jeremy Lin and dropped a game-leading 35 points on the Rockets. In fact, he single-handedly kept the Bobcats within striking distance, as he hit 6-of-7 three balls to help Charlotte head into the final period with a seven-point lead.
Unfortunately, there’s that “unfortunately”. The Bobcats offense disappeared to nothingness in the fourth quarter, and they couldn’t stop Harden from getting to the line in crunch time, as they allowed Houston’s star guard to hit all 10 of his free throws in the final quarter.
The defense wasn’t good and only Ramon Sessions (19 points) really helped out in this one, but the most starling stat is that this loss weighs in as the Bobcats lost their 15th straight game at home. As bad as they looked earlier in the year with a dreadful 18-game losing streak, Charlotte fans might argue that losing 15 straight in the place they generally pay good money to see their hometown team play live is even more depressing.
At this point, though, it is what it is, and these Bobcats are who you thought they were.
Kemba Walker is a true bright spot, as he’s show the ability to take games over, and he’s progressing as a true point guard, decision-maker and leader. Few can be upset with the direction he’s headed.
This game was especially an example of that, as Walker added a solid stat line to go with his 35 points, as he grabbed three boards, one steal and dished out five assists on Monday night.
So, with Walker leading the way, improving, and consistently playing so well, why do the Bobcats keep losing?
It’s pretty simple. He’s just one guy.
Walker is a quality point guard who is very much on the rise, but he has little help around him, and it comes in consistent doses.
It was nice to see Bismack Biyombo show up as a defensive-stopper in this one (seven blocks!), but he’s a major liability on offense, and still isn’t that consistent force in the paint that you can depend on every single night. No Byron Mullens adds to the problems down low for Charlotte, as they’re relying too much on one guy to carry them, and the supporting cast just isn’t good enough to get it done on a regular basis.
The story is repetitive and Bobcats fans are likely getting tired of hearing it, but as many of this year’s games have gone, the Bobcats had the opponent where they wanted them, but simply couldn’t finish them off.
They were up at half-time in this one, and entered the final quarter with a decent lead. Then they proceeded to score just 13 points off of 4-of-19 shooting.
That’s abysmal and pathetic, and that’s putting it nicely.
But that’s what we’ve come to expect from a young team with a rookie head coach. And for now, all we can hope for is that this Charlotte squad doesn’t just mail it in, and takes the rest of this season to keep fighting in games like this, in order to learn how to finish them.
At 10-31, we all know the Bobcats are toast. The playoffs were a fun dream in October, but they’re out of the realm of possibility now.
Now it’s all about trying to get cohesive and trying to finish 2012-13 on a strong note – in a fashion unlike the way the Bobcats have been finishing most of their games for the majority of the season.