Cavaliers Outworked by the Bobcats: Bobcats 91, Cavaliers 88

Kirk LammersContributor IJanuary 4, 2010

The Cleveland Cavaliers had their 7-game win streak and 11-game home win streak snapped Sunday night at the hands of the Charlotte Bobcats. Coming into Sunday nights game, the Bobcats had never won in the Q, but a high energy effort from the Bobcats and a lackluster performance from the Cavaliers gave Larry Brown and the Bobcats their first W in the Q.

By the Numbers...

  • 63.6% - 63.6% is the percent of points LeBron James and Mo Williams contributed to the Cavaliers final score. The James/Williams tandem scored 56 total points; James finished with 29 points and Williams with 27 points.. 56 points is impressive, but only one other player scored in double-digits: O'Neal 10 points. The Cavaliers failed to get in the flow on the offensive end, and the stagnant offense was the demise of the Cavaliers in the 4th quarter.
  • 2 - 2 is the number of free-throws LeBron James was awarded the entire game. LBJ averaged 9 free ones a game. The refs took away LeBron's aggressiveness by not calling any fouls for him. LeBron did take the ball to the hole on a number of occasions with no whistle on contact. So, James resorted to long jumpers; #23 shot 6 3-pointers. Anytime the King shoots more 3-pointers than free-throws it is bad news for the Cavs. Eventhough James was not getting calls, he needed to continue attacking in the 4th the refs would have had to call something eventually. Instead, he let the refs and the bobcats off teh hook by taking long jumpers.
  • 5 - 5 is the number of shots Shaquille O'Neal took. Now, I am not a huge get Shaq the ball advocate, but the Cavaliers missed out on an opportunity here. Shaq made 4 of the 5 shots he took and was guarded by Boris Diaw for a majority of the game. The Cavs needed to take advantage of the miss matches inside and get Shaq more touches instead of  long jumpers from Jamario Moon and LBJ. Shaq also had the highest +/- on the team at +6.
  • 6 - 6 is the number of turnovers from starting point-guard Mo Williams. Not all of the turnovers were Mo's fault, but Mo did try to deliver some lazy passes. The one thing the Bobcats do well is defend the passing lanes, and Mo did the Bobcats some favors with his passes.
  • 12 - 12 is the number of bench points scored by the Cavs, and 12 is also the number of points the Bobcats bench outscored the Cavs bench by. The Cavs bench went a combined 4 for 23 from the field for a field-goal percentage of 17%. Moon and Z combined to go a combined 0 for 9 from the field. With the poor shooting performance of the bench, I felt that Mike Brown should have turned to Daniel Gibson. Boobie needed some minutes  in this game because it was obvious Cleveland trying shoot their way to victory, and besides Mo, Boobie has the purest shot on the team.
  • 9 - 9 is the amount of points the Cavaliers were up with 4:24 left in the 2nd quarter. Cleveland let Charlotte cut that lead to 1-point going into halftime. Failure to extend or keep the 9-point lead going into halftime is where the Cavs lost this game in my opinion. The Bobcats play hard and they play defense, but they are used to losing. If the Cavs kept that lead going into the half, The Bobcats could have been put to bed with a strong start tot he 3rd quarter. Instead, Cleveland was in battle the entire 2nd half and Cleveland did not have the firepower to battle with the Bobcats on this particular night.

4th Quarter Blunders - Despite Cleveland's  poor effort and execution, the Cavs still had a chance to win this game; however, a few mistakes and head scratching decisions stop the Cavaliers from claiming another grinded out victory.

  • Mismatch - There were at least 3 times in the 4th quarter either Shaq or Andy was switched out on Raymond Felton or D.J. Augustin. This was a crucial time to have such a poor mismatch for the Cavaliers. Felton and Augustin combined for 8 of the Bobcats 4th quarter points.
  • Long Range Malfunction - The Cavaliers took 19 shots in the 4th quarter; 10 of those shots were from 20+ feet. The Cavaliers only made 2 of those shots. Cleveland was 4 of 9 from inside 20 feet. It is not rocket science; the Cavs were cold from outside and were not running an effective offense to get many inside shots. Cleveland was taken out of their flow by Charlotte's half-court pressure which caused the Cavs to play with a short shot clock. There was a lot of standing around and last second long jumpers.
  • Failure to Foul Flip - With 9 seconds left, the Cavaliers got the lead down to 1 point and the Cavs had to foul. The Bobcats inbounded the ball and Flip Murry found the ball in hands. The Cavs failed to foul Flip and he got the ball cross court. The Bobcats got 7 seconds to come off the clock and sent one of their best free-throw shooters to the line with a 1-point lead and 2 seconds left. The Cavs failed to foul a 64.5% free-throw shooter and let this game slip through their finger tips.
  • Ugly Shot - All that needs to be said about the final shot the Cavaliers got was it was ugly. If that is the play Cleveland drew up, Mike Brown was wearing his moron cap. The Cavs three players (Mo, Boobie, Parker) I would rather have shoot a cold 3-pointer than LBJ take a turnaround corner 3.

goes to: J.J. Hickson. Hickson did not have a spectacular statistical night, but the energy he displayed in the 3rd quarter was about the only positive I take from this game. Hickson had a 2 minute span in the 3rd quarter where he blocked 2 shots, grabbed an offensive board and slammed it home. Hickson also logged 23 minutes which is the most minutes he has played in the last five games. Hickson has struggled to stay on the floor the past couple weeks because of his lack of effort; that was not the case in this game.

Team Grade: D-

Plain and simple, the Cavs did not take this game seriously. Cleveland the past couple weeks has thought they can just turn it on at the end of a game and win. Tonight, the Cavs were put in their place. The only thing that kept the Cavs out of the F grade was that they fought till the end, but it was still ugly as sin.

The Cavaliers have a couple much needed days off to rest up and get geared up for another revenge game. The Cavs try to avenge an early season loss against the Washington Wizards.


-J. V.