December 03, 2012
A postscript on Bobcats-Trail Blazers
Some post-game thoughts on a perplexing 18-point collapse by the Charlotte Bobcats to lose in overtime to the Portland Trail Blazers:
--Blowing an 18-point lead is far from unheard of in the NBA. However, blowing an 18-point lead at home, in the last five-plus minutes of the fourth quarter is – as Byron Mullens put it – an undeniable “choke.’’
--Coach Mike Dunlap was right Monday in saying protecting a big lead is “unfamiliar territory’’ for this team. They’re good at fourth-quarter comebacks. Not yet so good at protecting prosperity.
--There’s a tradeoff in this roster’s structure that was exploited Monday. The small-ball lineup (Usually Kemba Walker-Ben Gordon-Ramon Sessions all play at once) is the best shot at scoring with any potency. But playing that way invites the other team to get the ball in the lane and to get abundant put-backs. Other than Mullens, there’s no big man on this roster who is a reliable scorer. So for now, they’ll muddle along.
--Gordon did a convincing Vinnie Johnson imitation in the second half – 27 of his 29 points came after halftime. In that span he made nine of 13 from the field and eight of 11 from 3-point range.
On the other hand, Walker went ice cold from the field after halftime: 17 points on 9-of-11 in first two quarters, then 2-of-10 in the third and fourth quarters and overtime.
--That Mullens tomahawk over LaMarcus Aldridge in the first half was pretty
“I kind of surprised myself,’’ Mullens said. “I really thought it was going to be a charge.’’
Actually, Aldridge was in full back-pedal, trying not to get hurt.
Posted by Observer Sports on December 3, 2012 at 11:03 PM | Permalink
Substitution patterns cost us in this one. Dunlap is doing well with this bunch so I can live with it. Hopefully he learns from it.
Posted by: Spencer | Dec 4, 2012 7:46:56 AM
Liv and learn. Hopefully they won't be shell shocked against the knicks. We really need a big man that can score from the post. Haywood has that nice hook shot but he never posts up to use it.
Posted by: Nick | Dec 4, 2012 8:40:09 AM
We need someone to box out and get rebounds. As much as Mullens likes to shoot the 3, it leaves us with 0 rebounders underneath. He cant pull up from 3 at the end of the game we really need someone to bang down low
Posted by: Spaceman Mike | Dec 4, 2012 8:53:31 AM
I saw a sorry effort by Mullens trying to box out Aldridge! We need some toughness down low and will someone please tell Mullens to stop jacking up 3s !!!!!
Posted by: ACCW | Dec 4, 2012 9:11:52 AM
Mullens had nothing to do with this, he was left alone to battle down low against 2 ro 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.
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 half...you 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.
Posted by: RobC | Dec 4, 2012 9:32:02 AM
I admire the coach for assuming primary blame for this disaster. Adjustments should have been made in last few minutes to protect the rim and stop the jacking of long range shots. Probably the toughest loss this young (?) team has experienced and an early Christmas gift to the Blazers.
Posted by: eduardo | Dec 4, 2012 9:32:50 AM
^^ Agree 110%.
Posted by: David Stern has to go!! | Dec 4, 2012 9:38:06 AM
Watching the panthers lose, everybody sees what goes wrong except rivera. Watching the bobcats lose, dunlap walks up to the podium and points out exactly what he did wrong and his reasoning and also a few other factors that hurt.
Ultimately they lose the lead because he didn't trust bismack on the free throw line. That was an error. 1 because biz would have made enough to win and stopped them at the other end. You had mkg on aldridge. Calling that a mismatch is an understatement.
Mullens DID get beat pretty badly by aldridge, freeland, and then babbit but it wasn't just on him and as rob pointed out, he was alone out there. He was setup to fail there. Offensively they rushed wayy to much. From 2nd quarter on, portland dictated the tempo of the game. We ran when they wanted to run and slowed down when they wanted to.
Henderson looked good in his return. These guys played well. They didn't close. But they continue to progress.
The complaints about mullens shooting 3's is annoying when he goes 2 for 6 and all of the misses except the airball are rattling in and out. He has to shoot to get better. He had 9 2pt field goal attempts. 2 drives for dunks, some put backs, some post ups. He IS playing a well rounded game. He has to continue to get touches and shoot to get better. Same with kemba. You see 1st half what he can be and 2nd half what he is now. We have to be patient. That's our 1-2 right there.
Game was fun as hell to watch. Tough loss. It matters not. Learning experience.
Posted by: charlottean | Dec 4, 2012 12:52:14 PM
Dunlap has shown that he will make adjustments to his game-plan so far, can't think he is boneheaded enough to continue making the same mistakes. Next time we have a big lead down the stretch, you'll see the defensive unit out there.
Watching the Blazers telecast, even they were flabbergasted by the way the Bobcats handled the game during the last five minutes. Their commentator literally screamed "Why are the Bobcats jacking up shots with 14 seconds left on the shot clock? All they need to do is run the shot clock down 4 times and this game is over!"
This is a scenario Dunlap is going to have to go over in practice. Football teams practice last five minute scenarios, perhaps he hasn't had the time to dig this far deep into his team and staff yet...How to play with a lead.
Posted by: Ocracoma | Dec 4, 2012 1:03:38 PM
So full disclosure I'm a blazer fan (we smallish market teams gotta stick together, right?) but this line you wrote just needs to be corrected. "Actually, Aldridge was in full back-pedal, trying not to get hurt."
That's not even a little true. Aldridge stands his ground, at or outside restricted area as mullens dunks into him. I'm of the opinion that dunks like this get a pass for charges anyway but to pretend like Aldridge did anything but stand firm is to exaggerate a dunk that needs no exaggeration. It was a sick jam, made even sicker that it was over a fully upright Aldridge. I just don't know how you can watch the video and come away seeing Aldridge back pedaling, that just didn't happen. Props to Byron don't call me BJ mullens for the slam tho.
Posted by: Theo | Dec 4, 2012 1:44:10 PM
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