Charlotte Bobcats power forward Byron Mullens has a sore right knee that caused coach Mike Dunlap to sit him for all but the first three minutes of Monday’s 122-105 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers.
Mullens said post-game he does not consider the injury a long-term concern. However it limited his mobility, which caused Dunlap to shut him down quickly in Monday’s game.
“It was sort of buckling. I could tell in warm-ups,” Mullens said. “I couldn’t get a good warm-up in because it felt weak. It led over to the game and I couldn’t move that well, couldn’t cut off of it.
“Coach made a decision to take me out. I never asked to come out.”
In Mullens’ absence, Jeff Adrien started the second half and Josh McRoberts got 23 minutes. McRoberts finished with nine points and eight rebounds.
“I do think it was the smart thing to do – come out, rest it,” said Mullens, who will be a restricted free agent this summer. “At this point in the season, rest it another day. I’ll get some stim (electric stimulation) and ice, and I’ll be fine.”
Some progress: Dunlap liked some of what he saw in Monday’s loss, which was more of an effort than the blowouts in Utah and Sacramento. The Bobcats outrebounded Portland 44-41, after being blown out on the boards of late. Also, Dunlap liked that on a bad shooting night (5-of-20 from the field), point guard Kemba Walker became more of a distributor with 11 assists.
Guard the post, give up 3s: Shooting guard Gerald Henderson made a good point that when Portland is making 3s (12-of-24 Monday) they are particularly tough to beat. The Bobcats’ first concern Monday was guarding the post against big men LaMarcus Aldridge (23 points and 14 rebounds) and J.J. Hickson (15 points and eight rebounds).
That left the perimeter open for small forward Nicolas Batum (4-of-6 from 3-point range) and shooting guard Wesley Matthews (4-of-7).
Notes: Rookie Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, who has struggled of late, had his best game in recent memory with 17 points and 10 rebounds. He seemed a little more confident with his mid-range jumper, which is crucial to him being a scorer. … The Bobcats used to do surprisingly well in cross-conference games. Not anymore. The Bobcats are winless in their past three true West Coast trips: 0-3 in the only one in the lockout-shortened 2011-12 season and 0-4 and 0-4 in the two trips this season. … Ben Gordon, who hasn’t played much lately, generated 14 points in 16 minutes.