The Suns ball movement, three-point shooting and spread attack gave the Bobcats trouble when they defeated them in November. In Phoenix, the story was much of the same.
Phoenix shot 61% from three, and finished with a season high 121 points to defeat the Bobcats 121-104. Six Suns players hit double digits, including Shannon Brown, who continued his torture of the Bobcats with 26 points tonight.
The Suns don’t have a #1 option on their team, and with Steve Nash gone, they’ve been going with an offense by committee. Each night they feed the hot hand, and tonight Brown had it going. Other teams that play a similar style have given the Bobcats trouble with their ball movement, spacing, and shooting ability.
Goran Dragic and Jared Dudley combined for 41 points, as the Suns shot 55% from the field and had 31 assists. Dudley was the player to watch for the Suns, and continued his hot shooting month, going 4-8 from three as the Suns their win streak to four.
Entering tonight’s game the Bobcats were 30th in points allowed, and quickly lived up to the billing against Phoenix. The Bobcats defense had trouble stopping penetration and again did a poor job of rotating to shooters. The team is now 1-15 when giving up 100 points or more and just doesn’t look like they have a clue on defense.
Kemba Walker was the Bobcats player to watch for tonight. He once again led the Bobcats in scoring, with 27 points on 9-14 shooting. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist had one of his best games of the season, finishing with 25 points, 12 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals and a block.
The big question going into the game was whether the Bobcats could play effectively after an emotional loss last night to the Lakers. The team played well in the first quarter, but the Suns dominated the rest of the way and never looked back. It’s a tough test to ask for any young team like the Bobcats, but playing against a team in Phoenix that isn’t equipped with many veterans either should’ve been more of a winnable game.
Some might attribute this loss to this being a tough back-to-back, but the Bobcats defense just hasn’t done any favors whether it’s been on a back-to-back or three days off. The team frankly isn’t committed to that side of the ball. I’m not sure if it will change at all this season, but the habits, effort and body language just look very poor. If it wasn’t, each team the Bobcats face wouldn’t be getting clean looks each possession and outworking them on both sides of the ball.
Kemba Walker’s scoring has been entertaining to watch on top of that, as well as Kidd-Gilchrist’s development, but the main goal this season was to show signs of putting together a defensive culture. 25 games in…it hasn’t happened.
Friday, the Bobcats will head to the Bay Area to play one of the NBA’s most surprising teams in the Golden State Warriors.
The Warriors defeated the Bobcats on December 10, with the strong play of David Lee and Stephen Curry. The Warriors are 7-3 at home this season, and will look to use their three-point shooting and spacing in a similar way as the Suns did tonight. The Warriors though will defend much better than the Suns, especially at home where they’re giving up just 96.8ppg.