The thing that defined the Charlotte Bobcats in their recent winning streak was an ability to close out tight games.
The thing defining the current five-game losing streak is just the opposite.
One game after they blew an 18-point fourth-quarter lead, the Bobcats committed turnovers on four of their last five possessions Wednesday. That set up Knicks swingman J.R. Smith for a buzzer-beating 18-footer and a 100-98 New York Knicks victory.
Wednesday wasnt the collapse that was Mondays overtime loss to the Portland Trail Blazers. But what happened Wednesday was self-inflicted.
From the 2-minute, 10-second mark, with the Bobcats clinging to a 2-point lead, they committed a shot-clock violation, a five-second inbound violation, a walk and a bad pass.
Surprisingly, veteran Ben Gordon, an exceptional sharpshooter of late, was responsible for both the 5-second violation and the walk. The last turnover was by rookie Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.
Those mistakes hurt
Hes young, were young. Things like that happen, Kemba Walker (25 points) said of teammate Kidd-Gilchrist. Weve just got to get better with late-game situations. Weve been pretty good with that stuff. But those mistakes hurt.
Earlier this season the Bobcats were a perfect 5-0 in games decided by 4 points or less. That close-out precision has eroded of late, dropping the Bobcats to 7-10.
Slowing Carmelo Anthony
The late-game mistakes negated an otherwise impressive second half against a 13-4 Knicks team in contention to win the Eastern Conference. After New York star Carmelo Anthony torched the Bobcats for 20 first-half points, Anthony shot 1-of-11 in the second half for 3 points.
Some of that was Anthony missing shots he normally makes. But much of it was solid defense by Gerald Henderson, Jeff Taylor and Kidd-Gilchrist. Two games back from a foot sprain, Henderson was effective limiting Anthonys post-ups.
Henderson outscored Anthony in the second half 13-3, which Bobcats coach Mike Dunlap will take any day.
Dunlap, who once coached Anthony as a Denver Nuggets assistant, thought those three broke Anthonys rhythm.
He didnt make some of the (easy shots) he usually does, Dunlap said.
Relentlessly positive post-game, Dunlap didnt linger on the late-game turnovers.
Were talking about a young group going through some things, Dunlap said.
I know its going to come. Were a good team. And those guys know were going to be a really good team.
fourth quarter with Gerald Henderson and Bismack Biyombo blocking back-to-back Anthony shots. After that second block, Biyombo ran down court wagging his finger, imitating how former NBA great Dikembe Mutombo celebrated blocks.