Some nights, you just don't have it. Some nights, you play well but the other team just plays better. Tonight was not one of those nights. The Bobcats were thoroughly outplayed.
For a team that's found success with motion offense and their bigs' passing ability, the Bobcats looked stagnant. They were too content settling for isolation jump shots. At times this season there's been success in giving the ball to Al Jefferson and getting out of his way. The threat of off ball movement kept defenders camped out and gave Jefferson space to work with. When the team isn't moving at all, defenders know they can put extra pressure on Jefferson.
Jefferson's had an amazing season. Some would say an All-Star season. But you don't have to split every single double team. It's cool when you do, but sometimes passing out and and swinging the ball around the perimeter is a better option. He wasn't playing selfishly, but he was trying to do too much and struggled as a result.
Along with the struggling offense was a struggling defense. While the Bobcats played a lot of isolation basketball and took too many contested shots, the Nets were making the extra pass and scoring regularly. They were looking for open shots and their players weren't just open, these were open players in their favorite spots.
Some of this was just the Nets exploiting weaknesses in the Bobcats scheme. There isn't much you can do about Kevin Garnett shooting midrange jump shots when that's a shot the Bobcats are willing to give up. The problem is that KG is very good at making that shot. It was way too easy for KG to get that shot a few times tonight. In fact, it was way too easy for a lot of shots. A pump fake here, a couple passes around the perimeter and bam, another wide open shot for the Nets.
All of the wide open shots and bad defense showed its ugly face during the third quarter and the Bobcats were outscored 35-19. This was when the Nets took control of the game -- and never gave it up. There was a point late in the third quarter where the Bobcats had to make a run if they wanted to stay in the game but that run never came, and the Nets gained the victory.
Bad game for Charlotte.