Bobcats lose 15th straight at home
The Charlotte Bobcats started off hot with eight points off guard Gerald Henderson and seven more coming in from forward Jeffery Taylor to put them 30-22 by the end of the first quarter. But later on, the Charlotte Bobcats blew an 11 point first half lead, much of which came down to the team’s inability to find a third leading scorer in a the fourth quarter in response to a few changes in the Houston Rockets’ lineup and scheme.
Guard Kemba Walker, who carried the bulk of Charlotte Bobcats’ offense and had a career-high 35 points Monday night, and Ramon Sessions (19 points) were neutralized by Houston Rockets in the fourth quarter so that they were limited to only seven and six points respectively. That summed up the Charlotte Bobcats’ score in the fourth quarter as the Houston Rockets also did an excellent job of covering everyone else on the floor as well.
Houston Rockets coach Kevin McHale decided to bench guard Jemery Lin at the end of the third quarter after he was abused by Kemba Walker during the first two periods of the game. The margin was 35-4 in points at the time as Kemba Walker shots 12-of-21 from the field and responded to tightened up defense by going 6-of-7 seven beyond the arc.
“When Lin backed off me (to not give up constant layups) I was confident and I made them,” Kemba Walker of his scoring from the 3-pointer line.
Kevin McHale’s incorporated changes also included directives toward trapping the ball out of Kemba Walkers’ hands to inhibit his ability to score or set up his teammates for shots. Kemba Walker was limited to 2-of-5 shooting and zero assists in the final 10 minutes of the game.
“It’s on me. I’ve got to do a better job against the trap,” said Kemba Walker after Monday’s loss. “I’ve got to make better decisions; if I can’t find my shot then I’ve got to make better plays” for others.
But the Charlotte Bobcats’ offense doesn’t feature a rich passing game as they only score 17 of 34 baskets on assists against the Houston Rockets. And their search for another scoring threat remained futile as neither Gerald Henderson nor Ben Gordon successfully rose to the occasion. Forward Hakim Warrick was the only other Charlotte Bobcats player to hit double digits (10 points), and he too missed a couple of what could have been decisive shots in the fourth quarter.
The other key factor towards Monday’s upset was the scoring difference from the foul-line. Houston Rockets guard James Harden banked on his ability to draw contact and get to the foul line shooting19-of-21 on free throws.
“That was the difference in this game, Their free throws versus ours,” Charlotte Bobcats coach Mike Dunlap said after the Houston Rockets beat them by a margin of seven points from the foul line.