CHARLOTTE — Saturday’s 102-101 victory against the Minnesota Timberwolves was an outlier for the Charlotte Bobcats on several levels, but the biggest was it broke a 16-game home losing streak.
That wasn’t the only difference from recent patterns: It’s not often center Bismack Biyombo scores or power forward Tyrus Thomas plays.
Biyombo scored 10 points on 4-of-4 shooting from the field. That means he reached double figures for just the sixth time in the 41 games he’s played this season. To say Biyombo is limited is charitable. His range gets iffy if he can’t touch the rim and his ability to catch the ball in traffic is dubious.
That creates problems in that the opposing center can often roam defensively without any real fear Biyombo will score.
Coach Mike Dunlap thinks Biyombo’s offense is still fixable. He’s encouraged that Biyombo seems more comfortable this season at the foul line.
Biyombo being at least respectable at the foul line – he makes 52 percent of his attempts – is important because otherwise Dunlap has to keep subbing him out between offensive and defensive late-game situations. Subbing out Biyombo greatly reduces the Bobcats’ chances for an offensive rebound, particularly with Byron Mullens out with an ankle sprain.
Thomas played for just the third time in eight games when he got 18 minutes Saturday. He and Biyombo alternated as the center in a small-ball lineup that brought the Bobcats back from 18 points down. Thomas continues to shoot poorly (1 of 6 from the field Saturday), but he grabbed six rebounds, a good volume for the minutes he played.
Thomas has been so far out of the rotation he was sitting behind Jeff Adrien, a development-league call-up. The Bobcats still owe Thomas a bundle: Approximately $18 million total over the next two seasons.
Appreciate the crowd: Dunlap applauded the home crowd for its patience through the home losing streak; the last victory in Charlotte was Nov. 21. Had the Bobcats lost three more consecutive home games, they would have tied an NBA record set by the Dallas Mavericks in the 1990s.
“If you love the game and give effort, they’ll come back,” Dunlap said of Bobcats fans.