Would maintenance please unseal the covers on the Charlotte Bobcats’ basket at Time Warner Cable Arena?
That essentially was co-captain Gerald Henderson’s description of a brutal second half, during which his team was outscored 56-25. That wiped out a 10-point halftime lead and led to a 99-78 victory for the Brooklyn Nets.
“It felt like a (expletive) lid was on the rim,” Henderson said of his team’s 10-of-40 shooting from the field, which included his 0-of-5 half.
How bad did this get? The Nets (35-26), who looked lethargic and thoroughly beatable at halftime, had more second-half rebounds (31) than the home team scored points.
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It wasn’t as if the wrong Bobcats were shooting. But the players who got it done during the first half and for much of the season – guards Henderson, Ben Gordon and Kemba Walker – were a combined 4-of-21 from the field with 12 second-half points.
“We were getting to the paint a lot more in the first half, whether that was putting it in off pick-and-rolls or in transition,” Henderson described. “There was nothing to get (in the second half). It’s not like we were just settling for jumpers.”
The statistics bear this out: The Bobcats scored 30 points in the lane during the first half to Brooklyn’s 10. In the second half, the Bobcats scored 12 lane points to Brooklyn’s 16.
It wasn’t as if the Nets’ interior players dominated. Center Brook Lopez had a quiet 16 points and ex-Bobcat Gerald Wallace made only one of seven shots from the field to score eight.
But the Nets clamped down defensively during the second half and consistently limited Charlotte to one shot per possession; the rebounding differential in the second half was 31-11, with the Bobcats scoring just two second-chance points.
Brooklyn’s backcourt of Deron Williams and Joe Johnson did the rest, combining for 29 second-half points with 11-of-17 shooting.
This dropped the Bobcats to 13-48. They have now lost eight in a row, with three of those by 30 or more.
If anything has gone right of late, it’s the improved play of rookie Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, the No. 2 overall pick. Following a 17-point, 10-rebound game Monday in Portland, Ore., Kidd-Gilchrist finished the Nets game with 17 points, five rebounds and two steals.
“He’s not thinking about playing as much (as in), ‘Do I do this? Do I not do that?’ ” said coach Mike Dunlap. “That allows him to play (again) the way Michael plays.”