Bobcats Insider: Terrible third quarters
There's something about the third quarter that becomes the Bobcats' undoing this season.
They often emerge from halftime listless and careless and tend to sacrifice leads or amplify deficits. The numerical difference isn't big -- the Bobcats average about 3.4 fewer points in the third than their collective opponents -- but the players say this has been the problem area all season.
"That's been our biggest struggle -- getting through the third quarter," said D.J. Augustin, after the Bobcats blew all of a 14-point lead in the third quarter of a 102-94 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
This time the problem was at the foul line, where the Bobcats made just four of 10 free throws in that period. But it's also about lacking energy and sloppy passing and turning down open shots.
"The third quarter has held us back all season," said Gerald Henderson. "They're a good team, but there were a lot of things we could have done better."
The Bobcats aren't talented enough to get through the holes they dig for themselves in these third quarters. Until that changes, there's no reason to think the record will improve.
The Bobcats play at the Orlando Magic Tuesday in what will be their seventh game in nine days.
--Orlando is no place for the Bobcats to get well. The Bobcats are 2-12 all-time in road games against the Magic, including a 4-0 sweep in the first round of the 2009 playoffs. The combination of Dwight Howard's size and the Magic's spacing with strong shooters make this a miserable matchup for a small team not strong at center.
--Bobcats coach Paul Silas told a story Monday about meeting Dr. Martin Luther King when Silas was playing college ball at Creighton. Silas had King sign a placard marked "The Greatest" that Muhammad Ali gave him. Silas lost that placard over the years.
F Bismack Biyombo, the seventh overall pick, did not play for the first time in his rookie career against the Cavaliers. D.J. White is so completely out-producing Biyombo that there really aren't minutes to throw Biyombo's way.
F D.J. White might be offered a contract extension by the Bobcats. White makes about $2 million this season, then would become a restricted free agent if he's not extended before then.
G Kemba Walker shot just 6-of-21 from the field versus the Cavaliers. His shot selection can be dubious, but coach Paul Silas is reluctant to rein Walker back on a team so full or reluctant shooters.
C-F Boris Diaw had four points and four rebounds off the bench, playing mostly center. Diaw is available in trade, but the Bobcats would be reluctant to take back a bad contract to make a deal, considering Diaw's contract ends after this season.
G-F Reggie Williams (torn meniscus left knee) is likely out the month of January.
F Eduardo Najera (torn cartilage left knee) likely won't return until sometime in February.
F Corey Maggette (left hamstring strain) is away until late January to mid-February.
C Gana Diop (inflamed right knee) missed the last three games but should be available Tuesday versus the Magic's Dwight Howard.
QUOTE TO NOTE
"I want him to play, I want him to do well, but it's up to him." -- Coach Paul Silas on Tyrus Thomas' one-point, one-rebound non-performance against the Cavaliers.