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Take two – Bobcats squander large lead vs. Lakers

Los Angeles Lakers 100 Final

Recap | Box Score

93 Charlotte Bobcats
Bismack Biyombo, PF 33 MIN | 4-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 10 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 8 PTS | +5

Not a bad job defensively on Dwight Howard, as the Bobcats allowed Biyombo to try his hand straight-up on the Lakers’ big man from time to time. Showed better hands around the basket on a couple of catch and finishes, while even shuffling off a nice give-and-go to Henderson for a basket. Double-digit rebounds as well, which you love.

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, SF 25 MIN | 1-5 FG | 2-4 FT | 10 REB | 2 AST | 2 STL | 1 BLK | 3 TO | 4 PTS | -1

A shaky return from the field for the rookie, though he chipped in majorly on the boards. Great to see him healthy and back on the court.

Byron Mullens, C 39 MIN | 8-18 FG | 3-3 FT | 12 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 3 TO | 20 PTS | +1

Byron did some very nice things tonight outside of the attractive stat line. Besides of a few quick shots from the wing, I thought he did a very nice job with his shot selection. I particularly liked when he took Earl Clark down into the post and finished with a moving jump-hook after beginning the possession on the wing. I can more than live with tonight’s version of Byron Mullens.

Kemba Walker, PG 38 MIN | 7-15 FG | 3-4 FT | 1 REB | 8 AST | 2 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 18 PTS | +6

Got off to a fast start as the Lakers basically decided to alternate field goal attempts and turnovers each possession throughout the first several minutes. This allowed Kemba to cash in on the break. Distributed and took care of the ball well, pacing the Bobcats to a 3 to 1 assist/turnover ratio.

Gerald Henderson, SG 39 MIN | 8-17 FG | 4-6 FT | 10 REB | 3 AST | 3 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 20 PTS | -2

Solid output on the offensive end considering he was called to check Kobe for most of the night. Although much of Kobe’s lack of production through three quarters was due to his lack of assertiveness, Henderson is due some credit. To Henderson’s chagrin, Kobe woke up in the fourth quarter, going 4-7 from the field and hitting on all six of his free-throw attempts. A tough end to a pretty good night for Henderson.

Ramon Sessions, PG 29 MIN | 5-12 FG | 1-2 FT | 2 REB | 7 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 12 PTS | -19

Made a few plays versus his previous employer, though he was unable to get to the line with as much frequency as normal. In turn, all in all it was not a very efficient shooting night for Ramon.

Jeffery Taylor, SG 12 MIN | 1-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 2 PTS | -11

Flew through the air for an alley-oop dunk.

Ben Gordon, SG 24 MIN | 4-13 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 7 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 9 PTS | -11

Seven assists. Let that sink in. Maybe the Bobcats should engage in trade talks for him before every game. But more on that later. In addition to his normal barrage of outside shots (he did shoot an ineffective 4-13 from the field), Gordon was able to get into the lane on more than one occasion, leading to a handful of those seven assists.

Four Things We Saw

  1. A tale of turnovers – The Lakers committed 11 turnovers in the first half, with the Bobcats taking a 53-41 lead into break. Although the lead quickly ballooned to 20 points, the Lakers slowly crept back into the game by way of protecting the ball (2 TO in the 2nd half). The lack of fast break opportunities forced the Bobcats to operate out of the half court, particularly in the fourth quarter. The offense bogged down and the result was a comeback victory for Los Angeles.
  2. Old Kobe comes alive in the fourth – As touched upon in Henderson’s recap above, Kobe decided to take an ultra-passive approach to the game through the first half, taking only two shots and remarkably failing to score a single point in the first 24 minutes. The second half was a different story, however. He picked up the aggressiveness in the third quarter after the Bobcats pushed the lead to 20 points, helping the Lakers cut the deficit to eight at the end of three. It was vintage Kobe in the fourth, as Nash simply fed the ball to him in the post nearly every trip up the floor. Bryant worked Henderson in the post on multiple occasions, while also getting to the line for 6 attempts (converting all six). He would tally 14 points in final quarter, in which he virtually willed the Lakers to victory.
  3. Repeat performance. The loss was eerily similar to one suffered back in December, with the Bobcats relinquishing large double-digit leads in both contests. This young team simply doesn’t know how to put away games like this yet.
  4. According to ESPN The Magazine’s Chris Broussard, the Bobcats and Nets have engaged in discussions regarding a trade that would send Ben Gordon to the Nets in exchange for power forward Kris Humphries. If you remember, the Bobcats courted the Nets power forward in the offseason, offering him a 3-year deal worth a reported $28 million. The swap works from a financial perspective, as both Gordon and Humphries make roughly $12 million this season. However, the trade would presumably save the Bobcats $1.2 million next season as Gordon has a player option worth $13.2 million. On the court, Humphries would provide the Bobcats with much needed help on the front line.