The scene in Dallas was all too familiar Tuesday night when Dirk Nowitzki scored 14 of his 25 points in the fourth quarter to lift the Dallas Mavericks over the Charlotte Bobcats 89-82.
Despite a seven point lead at the beginning of the fourth quarter, Charlotte was unable to contain the scoring duo of Nowitzki and Monta Ellis. Dallas started the quarter on a 14-8 run before Nowitzki made a jumper with 4:26 left to give the Mavericks a 76-75 lead. With less than four minutes remaining, Ellis outscored the Bobcats with 10 of Dallas’ last 13 points.
Charlotte’s fourth quarter offense is the biggest factor in the team losing four of their last five games. The Bobcats allowed 39 points and blew a double digit fourth quarter lead to the Miami Heat Sunday. Charlotte is last in the league in fourth quarter point differential, an area they figured to improve in with the addition of Al Jefferson in the offseason.
Jefferson and Kemba Walker combined for just six points in the fourth quarter. Walker’s lone fourth quarter field goal came with 16 seconds left in the game.
Charlotte has the longest active streak of holding opponents to fewer than 100 points at 12 games. However, the accomplishment is negated by having a 15 game streak of scoring under 100 points. The Bobcats defense is doing enough to keep the game close and winnable, but the offense isn’t scoring the necessary points to close out against quality teams.
BOBCATS LOSE KIDD-GILCHRIST
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is out indefinitely with a fracture in his left hand.
Kidd-Gilchrist suffered the injury on a drive to the basket during the third quarter. He left the game and did not return. Following the game, Kidd-Gilchrist was seen with a cast on his left hand with his middle two fingers taped together.
Kidd-Gilchrist has started 18 games for the Bobcats this season. He was averaging 9.3 points, 5.4 rebounds and shooting above 50 percent from the field before Tuesday’s game.
While Kidd-Gilchrist’s offensive production hasn’t been great this season, the Bobcats are 5.3 points better per 100 possessions with him on the floor. The Bobcats are dependent on their defense to win games and Kidd-Gilchrist is the team’s best individual defender.
The injury likely means second-year forward Jeff Taylor will be inserted into the starting lineup. Taylor though only played three minutes in the loss to Dallas.
IN THE BONUS
- The Bobcats are 0-10 in Dallas and 1-17 all-time against the team.
- Ellis is enjoying a career year with the Mavericks so far. The nine-year veteran is averaging 21.9 points, 5.5 assists and shooting 47.5 percent from the field. Ellis signed a three-year contract with the Mavericks in free agency and looks like an all-star right now.
- Charlotte went 3 of 17 from the 3-point line, while Dallas went 8 of 21 for 38 percent. The Bobcats are now 27th in opponent 3-point percentage and the worst 3-point shooting team in the league.
- After going 1 of 5 from the field against Dallas, Cody Zeller is shooting 33 percent from the field in his first 19 games with the Bobcats.
- Gordon scored four points on 2 of 8 shooting in 13 minutes. Gordon did not look good in the fourth quarter for the Bobcats and had a few costly turnovers.
- Anthony Tolliver played 26 minutes, the most minutes of any Bobcat reserve Tuesday.
ABOVE THE RIM
- Rick Bonnell, Charlotte Observer: Over the past month, when you asked first-year coach Steve Clifford why this team has been so good, so quickly, on defense, here’s the reply: That wing players Kidd-Gilchrist, Taylor, and Gerald Henderson can all guard without needing much help. The dirty little secret is that they must be that good defensively. They’re sure not going to outscore many teams shooting 41 percent and averaging 89.2 points.
- Spencer Percy, Queen City Hoops: Taylor has obviously lost every ounce of confident in his shot and it resulted in Clifford going with Tolliver instead of Taylor down the stretch—for that matter, most of the game.
- Doyle Rader, Mavs Moneyball: The Bobcats were making a concerted effort early to get into the paint. They weren’t making many shots but they were drawing fouls. Dallas has a knack for sending opponents to the line. This kept the game close early despite Charlotte shooting a mere 18.2 percent at one point.
- Ben Swanson, Rufus on Fire: I wonder how Clifford’s surprisingly efficient defense will maintain its success without their main defensive anchor on the perimeter. It will likely be pretty horrific to watch until Kidd-Gilchrist comes back.