Remember when the Bobcats looked like they were turning the corner defensively under head coach Mike Dunlap? It does seem like ages ago as we approach 19 games into the regular season. After matching last season’s win total on November 24 against the Wizards, the Bobcats have dropped six in a row. What’s the common trend? The atrocious defense.
Dunlap is hoping his lineup changes will help with the defensive effort tonight, as DeSagana Diop and Bismack Biyombo will both start against the Spurs tonight.
The Bobcats are 1-9 this season when giving up 100 points or more. Entering the season most of us figured the team would need to win games defensively to have a chance, since the offense doesn’t have the personel to beat you. It’s weird when you start to wonder whether this team has the defensive personel now to beat you too.
Of course there’s Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Bismack Biyombo, and Kemba Walker is no slouch either. But if you know anything about defense, it’s a team effort. And today the Bobcats get to face a team that’s been the model of team defense over the past 10 or so years, in the San Antonio Spurs.
The Spurs enter today 16-4, getting MVP-caliber play from future hall of famer Tim Duncan and all-star production from Tony Parker. The Spurs are one of the most balanced teams in the league, ranking top-10 in opp. PPG and points per game. The Spurs also play at one of the fastest paces in the league.
Gregg Popovich has done a remarkable job adding to the Spurs defensive image by getting the pieces in place for a dynamic offense as well. It’s an understatement to say how big of a test tonight will be for the Bobcats. I usually give a bunch of keys for the game in my previews, but it’d end up in one big rant about defense and commitment.
There’s a lot of mystery about tonight’s game from the lineup changes to how this team is going to play against the veteran Spurs. Most are predicting a lopsided game here, and they could be right. I’m unsure if the Bobcats will tonight, but I do think they would serve themselves well playing with a bit of desperation to avoid a slide early in the season.
The Bobcats have a lot of tough opponents coming up on the schedule for the remainder of this month. The Clippers, Heat, Lakers, Warriors, Hawks, Bulls and Nets are all on the horizon. The following weeks will legitimately test the composure of this year’s team compared to last seasons.