Bobcats outplayed in lopsided loss to Bulls
FEB 22, 2013 8:48p ET
You didn't even have to look at the scoreboard, the one reading 105-75 in favor of the Chicago Bulls.
Forget their league-worst 42 percent field-goal shooting, too. Forget that Charlotte likely didn't start a single player that would have started for the Bulls, who sit fifth in the Eastern Conference.
All one had to do was look down the Charlotte bench, where $19.8 million of the Bobcats' $57 million salary cap sat in the form of Ben Gordon and Sagana Diop. Tyrus Thomas – another $8 million on the cap and owner of arguably the worst contract in the NBA – was inactive and has logged minutes in only 18 games this season.
Neither Diop nor Gordon played a minute. Not even in a 30-point blowout, the Bobcats' third 30-plus point loss of the season.
Diop is averaging 9.5 minutes per game in 19 games this season, but the DNP moniker was a new one for Gordon. The notoriously mercurial Gordon was thought to be on his way out of town before the trade deadline, but with $13.4 million owed to him next season and a dispute with coach Mike Dunlap in practice a week prior, the Bobcats couldn't find any suitors.
Dunlap refused to accept the notion that Gordon's lack of playing time might be a result of a little trade-deadline-influenced delayed punishment.
"We have some young guys that need some minutes, and so I wanted to get those young guys some minutes tonight," Dunlap said.
But is anyone actually buying that? No time for a guy who's averaged 22 minutes in a game that was largely over after the first quarter?
"It was more getting (Jeffery) Taylor and (Michael Kidd-Gilchrist) minutes on that for me because I wanted to get those guys more minutes. So that's not what drove it, no," Dunlap said. "But what drove it was to get our young guys minutes and whatever that appearance may be, that's what it is, but those guys did get more minutes."
Regardless of why Gordon ultimately sat, the game for the Bobcats was nearly as bad as their personnel decisions since going to the playoffs in 2010. The Bulls jumped out to a 32-17 lead with only 10:01 left in the second quarter, forcing Dunlap to snap off a quick timeout to stop the bleeding. Another followed just 90 seconds later as the Bulls' lead bloated to 19.
The hemorrhaging never stopped in perhaps the Bobcats' most lifeless effort of the season. At least their two previous 30-point drubbings came courtesy of the Spurs and Thunder.
"We put ourselves in a pretty bad situation," point guard Kemba Walker said. "We missed a lot of assignments on the defensive end. It was just a tough night for us. We couldn't really get the ball in the hole in the first half. Guys struggled. It was just one of those nights for us."
It wasn't just one player taking it to the Bobcats in a game in which the Bulls shot 51 percent and put eight guys in double figures a night removed from a 19-point home loss to the Heat in which they posted just 67 points.
"We came with the right mindset," Joakim Noah said. "It's always tough to come in and play back-to-back, but we came ready to play. It was a good team win."
If there was a bright spot for the Bobcats, it was Walker, putting up his third game in a row with 20-plus after a 27-point effort.
Still, Walker pointed the finger at himself, the floor general, saying that he had to do a better job of getting everyone going early.
"We can do better, and we've had better energy," Dunlap said. "The thing our team needs to understand is that the front door and the back door to our house is how hard we play, and it's been endearing to people and people have tolerated the losing because to this point we played incredibly hard."
With half their salary cap riding the pine or in the coach's doghouse, playing hard's about the only chance these Cats have got.
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