Coming off a win that broke a streak of 18 straight losses, the Charlotte Bobcats are now able to turn the page on what was their third losing streak of at least 16 games in 2012, dating back to last season.
Now, the focus is on stringing together a winning streak for the first time since before Thanksgiving when the Bobcats host Cleveland Friday.
“We just want to not let that happen again,” point guard Kemba Walker said. “We want to continue what we did in Chicago. We played great defense so hopefully we can keep on playing great defense like that, staying together and hopefully we can rack up some more wins.”
The Bobcats (8-23) beat the Bulls 91-81 on Monday, holding the Bulls to the lowest point total of any opponent since Washington’s 76 points on Nov. 13.
Forward Gerald Henderson said lapses in team defense were partly to blame for the 18-game streak.
“There were a lot of games, most of those games, where we scored enough points to win,” he said. “But we had lapses on the defensive end, especially in the second (halves) of games. We had a lot of games up 15, 18 points and just kind of collapsed on the defensive end in the second half. The last game against Chicago we played pretty consistent defense throughout the game.”
Bobcats coach Mike Dunlap agreed, but said there were a number of factors to his team’s losing streak, including the inability to finish down the stretch. Seven of the 18 games were decided by six or fewer points.
No matter, the team’s psyche wasn’t affected, and a perceived upset win on the road for the Bobcats could serve as a boost, he said.
“I think (the team’s psyche) been good all the way through,” Dunlap said. “We’ve had no dust ups in the locker room. They’ve stayed the course in terms of playing the Lakers tough, then we come back and we played Orlando with a lead with four minutes to go. And we go into Chicago and I think most people would have thought we’d lose that game after a close loss to the Hornets.
“So, I mean we’ve been just been there, there, there and holding the line. But their attitude is great, their psyche is good. But it always helps to win on the road especially against the Bulls.”
Thomas close: Forward Tyrus Thomas practiced on Wednesday, and Dunlap said his return to the floor will be coming “very soon.”
Thomas played eight games before tearing a muscle in his left calf in mid-November and was slated to be out two months. Dunlap said he expects to have Thomas back in the rotation “in the next several games.”
“Tyrus has been a big part of what we’re doing,” Henderson said. “We missed him while he’s been out and we’re looking forward to him being back.
“Missing that time, he just needs to get himself in game shape, and he’ll get that in practices and we’ll see when he starts playing, but he’s looking pretty good.”
Kidd-Gilchrist Update: Dunlap did not say if rookie forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist would play Friday after missing the Chicago game with a scratched cornea.
Kidd-Gilchrist met with the medical staff Wednesday, and Dunlap said all of the initial tests were positive but he did not yet know the forward’s status.
Jeff Taylor and Jeff Adrian took Kidd-Gilchrist’s minutes against Chicago, with Adrian scoring nine points with 10 rebounds in 23 minutes off the bench.