"We just didn't have enough."
And already without former-Bobcat Gerald Wallace, this team needed more scoring. But after Stephen Jackson went out with a hamstring injury in the third quarter, it seemed nearly impossible for the Bobcats to have the firepower to make a comeback against the reigning champs.
While the Bobcats made a genuine effort to rally, even coming within 8 points in the fourth quarter, the Lakers held on and beat a struggling Charlotte team.
The game was just out of reach for the most part in the first half, though the Bobcats still had a good shot. Gerald Henderson played impressive defense on Kobe Bryant from the get-go and D.J. Augustin played his trademark fearless brand of basketball, with better decisions and results than the previous game.
Unfortunately, the Lakers tightened up their defense and forced the Bobcats into turnovers, which resulted in easy transition buckets.
[quick note: the Bobcats' starting five have terrible transition defense without Gerald Wallace. Unless the Cats outnumber their opponents on a fast break, who stops them? Gerald Henderson is the best bet with his athleticism, but Gerald Wallace always had that double threat of being able to sky for chase-down blocks or having the awareness to take a charge. That is no longer there. When Tyrus returns, they'll improve a lot on that end]
As Silas noted, the Bobcats did a good job contesting shots in the first half, holding the Lakers to 38.8% shooting in the first half. Unfortunately, so did the Lakers, keeping the Bobcats at a cringe-worthy 34% from the field.
As expected, the Bobcats struggled to find that other guy who could pour in points to help out. Henderson had some good looks but couldn't convert despite getting open through effective screens that were set for him. Boris Diaw was something completely terrible. I've stuck up for Diaw in the past, but his play as of recently pales in comparison to back then, by a mile. I don't think I've seen him worse. Yikes. Shaun Livingston and Joel Przybilla were excellent off the bench, which was great to see.
In the second half, the Bobcats returned without the same defensive effort and the Lakers waltzed to a 17-point lead, midway through the third quarter. The defense that had stifled Kobe so much in the first half was absent as Bryant dropped 11 points in the quarter.
Jackson got injured and left the game with 4:20 left in the third, leaving the Bobcats down 13 points. But have no fear, Kwame Brown is here! Kwame had 6 points on 3-3 shooting, with five rebounds, two assists and a steal in the quarter. I know Josh was definitely sitting with a smug smile on his face. Henderson showed some iffy decision-making, trying to take the ball inside against multiple defenders. And by multiple defenders, I mean Andrew Bynum and some other dudes. Bynum had five blocks in the third quarter alone.
The fourth quarter could simply be summed up by "Too little, too late." The Bobcats outscored the Lakers by four in the quarter and held the Lakers to 39% shooting. But the deficit was just too much to overcome, especially when your leaders on the offensive end in the quarter had to be Shaun Livingston and D.J. White while your team had to effectively defend the likes of Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom.
However, I was quite impressed with White. He was an excellent rebounder and showed a good shooting stroke. Definitely liked his play tonight. Livingston was fantastic as well. His mid-range shot, especially the pull-up jumper from the free throw line has basically become a given two points on the board every time.
Silas said something after the game that really worried me, and should definitely worry you as well: "He [Jack] is going to have to sit out until it gets better." So, Stephen Jackson could be out for a while. Ouch. We could be looking at an Augustin/Henderson/McGuire/Diaw/Kwame starting lineup.
TL; DR Version: Bobcats' lack of scoring ability, turnovers doom Charlotte against Lakers.
More from Silas:
Tonight the guys really battled hard. We just didn't have enough. Jack is not healthy and that's a big problem with it. When he's healthy, that means we can get the points on the board. I just didn't think that we had enough to get enough points out there. But we battled. I mean, Gerald Henderson battled Kobe tonight; you know ten for twenty-five, that's getting it. We just didn't have enough. I thought DJ White did terrific tonight. He really played well. This is so new to him and really played good. I thought Kwame played tougher in the second half. The first half, he didn't play as tough but he gave - we talked about it at halftime and he came and played a lot tougher in the second half. The guys tried, they really tried. Playing lesser teams than this, I think we'll have a chance to win. I thought we contested shots the first half - the second half, not as well but you know, it takes time for the players to get there. We need his (DJ's) scoring. Jack might be out for a little while now so we have to have his scoring. He [Jack] is going to have to sit out until it gets better.
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