ATLANTA — This is becoming monotonous.
Until the Charlotte Bobcats stop letting opponents turn turnovers into dunks, until they start staying close on rebounds, they will continue to give up 100-plus points.
That means they’ll continue this losing streak and continue invoking memories of last season.
The 7-15 Bobcats lost their 10th in a row Thursday, falling to the Atlanta Hawks 113-90 at Philips Arena. Not coincidentally, this was the 11th time in 12 games they have given up 100 or more points.
Points allowed isn’t the perfect measure of defense, since it can be affected by tempo. But when you give up 113 points and 57 percent shooting, nothing about your night says, “Stopper.”
“Our defense is struggling. We just can’t come up with any consistent stops,” said Charlotte captain Gerald Henderson. “We’ve got to come together as a group.”
This started when the Hawks (14-6) scored four of their first five baskets at the rim. The Bobcats helped Atlanta along by making some particularly egregious turnovers at midcourt.
“Right off the bat, they were at the rim – three layups. And some of that was off turnovers,” coach Mike Dunlap confirmed. “And we did a poor job of rebounding.”
The Bobcats were beaten on the boards 41-31, and that was hardly an outlier: They entered this game with the worst defensive rebound percentage in the NBA. Defensive rebound percentage is based on how many opponent misses it retrieves; Charlotte was last at 69.4percent.
“Just block out and get the ball,” Henderson said of his team’s rebounding struggles. “That’s frustrating. We’re not the biggest team, but we’re also not the smallest. We should be better at that.”
Another trend during this losing streak: The Bobcats give up big first quarters, then spend the rest of the game just hoping to get even. The Bobcats gave up 30, 30 and 31 points during the first three quarters, trailing by as many as 28 points in the second half.
The constant stress of playing from behind seems to be wearing down this young team.
“When you give up 30 points right off the bat, it’s awfully hard to get back in the game,” said rookie shooting guard Jeff Taylor. “We’ve got to stop doing that. I know we’re a young team. Hopefully we’ll get this straightened out.”
Saturday would be a prime chance. The Orlando Magic has its own problems at 8-13, and if the Bobcats don’t beat the Magic, the losing streak will drag into four games in five nights out west.