Another game and another loss for the Charlotte Bobcats. The losing streak has reached 16 games after Minnesota shook off the Bobcats with a late third quarter run and never looked back. Turnovers, poor shooting and ultimately a lack of talent doomed Charlotte once again.
The Bobcats got to see how dominant Kevin Love can be up close and personal on Wednesday night. Love was a hound on the boards grabbing 18 to go with 30 points. It wasn't just Love who was causing problems for the Bobcats though, Nikola Pekovic was a pain in the rear in the low post finishing with a double-double (21 points and 11 rebounds).
Charlotte got off to a strong start behind five Kemba Walker points and took a 15-6 lead. From there the Wolves battled back and the game was an up and down affair. Neither team was able to put together a stretch and seize momentum without the other team answering right back. The Bobcats held a five-point lead after the first quarter and would cling to a two-point lead heading into the locker room.
Easily the highlight of the first half was Boris Diaw's driving dunk that looked like it would end up being a simple layup, but instead the Frenchman channeled his inner Blake Griffin and threw down a thunderous dunk. OK, maybe it wasn't that great of a dunk but it was still pretty awesome to see.
Everything was going well for the Bobcats up until the final three minutes of the third quarter. Ricky Rubio nailed a jumper and was fouled, which would spark a 12-0 run to end the quarter. The final minutes of the quarter pretty much summed up Charlotte's season in a nutshell. There were turnovers, poor shooting and just an overall ineptitude displayed by the team.
For those that decided to turn off the TV after the third quarter you didn't miss much. The Wolves got the lead up to 19 twice and J.J. Barea nailed a 30-foot 3-pointer as the shot clock expired, which was the icing on the cake. What was so disappointing about the awful end to the third quarter, and the lackluster fourth quarter, was that through 33 minutes the game was quite enjoyable.
The pace was up and down and the quality of play was above average. Unfortunately, for the Bobcats, they let off the gas and the Wolves ran them out of the building. For those looking for positives you might want to look elsewhere.
Kevin Love: It's a joy to watch Love play basketball. He isn't flashy but he does all of the little things and is relentless rebounding the ball. The Wolves should feel fortunate to have this guy on their team for the next three years or so.
Kemba Walker: Walker isn't a pure point guard at this stage in his career and he may never be. But one thing he can do is score the basketball. He finished with 21 points on 9-of-17 shooting and made some things happen on the offensive end. It would be nice if he created more opportunities for his teammates, yet it's hard to blame him with talent level he is being asked to play with.
Nikola Pekovic: Not the biggest name in the NBA world, but Pekovic is a hard worker and had his way with Bismack Biyombo throughout the game. Pekovic does an excellent job of sealing his defender and establishing good position on the block. He may not be a double-double machine like Love, but he is rounding into a player.
Bismack Biyombo: Picking on Biyombo isn't fun for me but he didn't have a strong game. Pekovic and Love routinely overpowered him on the block and established great position. Throw in the fact that Biyombo missed four free throws and airballed a fadeaway jumper and you have a poor night.
Wes Johnson: Johnson has talent, yet his confidence level seems to get in the way of him playing well. He finished with nine points which is decent by his standards, although he missed all four of his 3-point attempts. If Johnson isn't going to make shots he doesn't add much to the game.
Byron Mullens: Mullens is so bad on defense that it makes me long for the days of Adam Morrison. The seven-foot center snared one rebound in 11 minutes of action and missed all four of his attempts. Need I say more?