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How to lose to the Cleveland Cavs

Facial Hair

First things first: The Bobcats were thoroughly overmatched against the Cavs this evening. Their best lineup has a chance against Cleveland's best lineup, but they lose ground rapidly when the benches come into play.

If we learned anything from this loss, which was totally expected, it's that Larry Brown hasn't learned from the past. First, DJ Augustin played 25 minutes, which is okay, I suppose, except that a significant chunk of those minutes were shared with Raymond Felton, and some of those were shared with Matt Carroll at the 3. Forget about matchups. This should never happen. Daniel Gibson lit up the Cats in the first half partly because they had trouble keeping up with him coming off screens, and partly because even when Augustin was able to stay with him, Gibson simply shot over him. Such is the life of a 5-10 point guard. With a 6-1 off guard in Felton, there was no way the Bobcats were going to have any sort of advantage on any combination of Cavs' guards. Again, 5-10 guards are few and far between because their defense is always an issue.

Where Wally Szczerbiak's terrible defense earned him a spot on the bench and only 7 minutes playing time. Augustin's terrible defense went seemingly unnoticed. It was only after Gerald Wallace got into serious foul trouble that Jared Dudley saw any extended playing time, even though he's the second best candidate after Wallace to guard LeBron, and damned if Dudley didn't get 4 boards in his 8 minutes.

So LeBron played a LeBron game in only 30 minutes, Daniel Gibson went off, and that was that. The big men played well, but G-Force had a tough time adjusting between LBJ, Varejao, and Ben Wallace. With Richardson taking it inside more than last season, that meant there was no one offering a long range threat, so while the big men looked pretty good, especially Okafor, and with the notable exception of Sean May, the Cavs didn't respect the Bobcats' shooters, so they were able to collapse inside more easily.

There were two bright spots. Richardson played a complete game that frustrated LeBron away from the basket when he guarded him, and also put the ball to the floor and attacked the Cleveland D. The other bright spot was Adam Morrison's all-around play. He still looks mechanical when dribbling, but he was still a competent offensive player and didn't embarrass himself on defense.