You could see this was coming. A Charlotte Bobcats team that lacks a consistent interior presence on the offensive and defensive end up against the Utah Jazz, a team the features two of the best traditional post players in the the NBA in Jefferson and Millsap. The final result was a 112-102 loss in a game that was never in doubt and not as close as the score suggests.
The story of the game was the drastic difference in talent between the Bobcats and Jazz in the frontcourt. Utah not only has two studs in Jefferson and Millsap, but they have two potential future studs in Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter. Charlotte on the other hand started Bismack Biyombo and Tyrus Thomas who were spelled by Brendan Haywood and Hakim Warrick. Let that sink in. While Biyombo has potential to become an effective player his youth showed as he was routinely schooled by Jefferson.
Despite turning the ball over five times in the first quarter the Jazz still managed to put up 27 points to the Bobcats' 20. Fifteen of the Jazz's 27 points came from Jefferson and Millsap. In contrast Thomas and Biyombo didn't record a single point on the night. At the 6:01 mark in the second quarter Ben Gordon brought the Bobcats to within one after a layup. The final six minutes of the half were where Charlotte fell apart. Gordon Hayward went bonkers hitting three treys and Utah had seven three-point plays to close the half. The Jazz took a 19-point edge into the locker room leading 63-44 as they shot 58.1 percent from the field.
Ball movement was noticeably different in the game. The Bobcats continued to play less like a team and more like a group of individuals while the Jazz worked the ball around until they got a good shot or an easy layup. Utah had 19 assists on its 25 first half field goals.
Charlotte was able to make a small dent into the lead in the third quarter getting it down to 14 on multiple occasions, but no one could stop Jefferson. Anytime it appeared the Bobcats had momentum switching to their side the Jazz would find Jefferson to thwart any attempt at a rally. Millsap didn't score in the quarter, but Big Al picked up the slack in a big way dropping 14 points.
Despite the big quarter from Jefferson the Bobcats were able to make a very small dent into the lead shaving off two points of the 19-point halftime deficit. The fourth quarter seemed to be all to typical for Charlotte. Twice in the final 12 minutes Gordon converted a three-point to bring the Bobcats to within 11 only to have Utah come down on the next possession and hit a three to stretch the lead back to 14. In the blink of an eye the Jazz stretched the lead to 20, which they would ride out to a comfortable win.
Outside of not being able to stop Utah inside what did Charlotte in was the lack of offense the starting five provided. Biyombo isn't expected to be a scorer, but there were plays near the basket that had he been able to hold on to the ball he could have provided some much needed offense. As for Thomas he only received 10 minutes after missing four shots. Jeff Taylor also didn't provide much as he finished with just six points on nine attempts. The two bright spots from the starters were Kemba Walker and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. The two combined for 29 points, although the Jazz did a nice job of making it tough on Walker and forcing him to be more of a distributor than scorer.
Ramon Sessions, Gerald Henderson and Gordon put up 48 points together off the bench with Gordon leading the way with 20 and the other two finishing with 12 apiece. Without those three playing well it would have gotten extremely ugly in Charlotte. The loss was the Bobcats' 12 straight at home, which is quite depressing (poor fans).
It's hard to say much of anything else about this one. The Bobcats simply got beat by a better team whose strengths happen to be in areas in which Charlotte struggles. Our favorite squad will hit the court again against the Toronto Raptors who are trying to climb back into the playoff picture after a dismal start.