The Bobcats found themselves at the wrong end of a beat down Friday night by the Timberwolves 119-92; suffering their sixth loss in seven games.
The Bobcats (15-22) started the game off well, trailing 29-28 to the Timberwolves at the end of the first quarter, but as soon as the second quarter started the game might as well have been over. The Timberwolves went on a 20-6 run in the second, highlighted by a block on Kemba Walker by Dante Cunningham that led to a quick transition dunk by Alexey Shved.
Although the Bobcats have played well on the offensive end as of late; averaging 95.4 points per game in their last ten, compared to their 92.9 season average, their defense has slipped. They’ve allowed 105.3 points per game in that same ten game stretch.
“As our offense improved, it feels like we’re less intense on defense. For us, that’s not going to work,” said coach Steve Clifford.
The Bobcats just don’t have the type of player that can go shot for shot against another opponent, and man did the Timberwolves make that clear last night. Kevin Love and Nik Pekovic were just too much too handle for the Bobcats. By the end of the first half, Love already put up his NBA leading 31st triple double of the season and Pekovic scored a game high 26 points in just 27 minutes of play. The Timberwolves also found some extra help from their bench, outscoring the Bobcats bench 43-35.
The Cats just couldn’t keep up, especially while Al Jefferson had one of his worst games of the season (8 points, 7 rebounds).
“Basically just kicked our butts,” Jefferson said.
The Bobcats now find themselves a spot lower in the Eastern Conference, sitting in the 8th seed as Brooklyn passes them for the 7th seed. For the first time this season it seems like the Bobcats may not be as ready to make a run at the playoffs as some had though after their surprising start this season. Its also likely that many of the underachieving teams in the east have begun to pick up steam, as the Pistons and knicks sit right behind the Cats in their search for a play off berth.
One thing is certain, the Bobcats have to get back to their stingy defensive ways. With Michael Kidd-Gilchrist on the way back there is hope, but one player can’t change a mindset.
“You have to have a team game that’s together where everybody knows what your game is, then understand that and they play it. We were doing that three weeks ago. We’re not doing that right now,” Clifford said.
The Bobcats next head to Chicago to take on the Bulls tonight at 8:00 P.M. ET.