When you commit turnovers all first half and miss shots all second half, you get embarrassed the way the Charlotte Bobcats were Wednesday.
The Indiana Pacers are a good defensive team. But this went beyond how the Pacers guarded. The Bobcats committed 11 turnovers before halftime, then shot 9-of-41 in the second half, accounting for a 101-77 loss at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
This was the third time in eight games the Bobcats failed to reach 80 points, which says a lot about why they have the worst record in the NBA (12-40) entering All-Star break.
The early turnovers cost them a halftime lead, because there was little else wrong with how they played before halftime. Then they were dreadful in the second half, outscored 52-31.
How bad were they offensively? The three big men who played – Byron Mullens, Bismack Biyombo and Brendan Haywood – combined to shoot 4-of-19 in the second half.
Indiana is best in the NBA in points allowed (90.1) and opponent field-goal percentage (.419). But this wasn’t all the Pacers’ doing.
“Sure, credit them,’’ said Bobcats coach Mike Dunlap. “But a lot of it was our own carelessness and we missed a lot of shots.’’
Dunlap was troubled by what he called his team’s passive approach to “50-50 balls’’ His team was outrebounded by 15 in the second half. One game after grabbing a career-high 18 rebounds, Mullens finished Wednesday with three boards in nearly 35 minutes.
When Dunlap mentioned his players should be striving for “consistency,’’ it wasn’t hard to guess Mullens. Before the game, Dunlap had said Mullens has the potential to average a double-double “but that takes a lot of grit.’’
Mullens did finish with 19 points, but he was outhustled much of the night by former North Carolina star Tyler Hansbrough. Filling in for David West (scratched cornea), Hansbrough made his first start of the season, finishing with 19 points and 10 boards.
Indiana small forward Paul George was all-around spectacular, with 23 points, 12 rebounds and 12 assists.
But again this was as much what the Bobcats failed to do as how the Pacers succeeded.
“We’re best when we get into transition; when we’re running and pressuring the ball. We didn’t do that much after halftime,’’ said captain Gerald Henderson (14 points). “Our shots weren’t falling but also we didn’t get the ball into the paint much.
“They really attacked, and that made the difference.’’