The consensus from the Charlotte Bobcats' locker room Tuesday: Burn every record of the first half, and remember everything that made this a bit of a game in the second half.
The Bobcats had the worst start of this NBA season, going scoreless in the first 6 minutes, 40 seconds of a 100-83 loss to the Dallas Mavericks. But there was a sign or two of life, particularly a precise, aggressive game by rookie point guard D.J. Augustin.
He scored the Bobcats' first point well after much of the crowd headed off to the concession stands. And he kept on scoring, finishing with 21 points on 9-of-15 shooting, plus four assists and four rebounds.
“I think I just played tonight,” Augustin said. “Other nights I was thinking too much.”
Augustin meant over-thinking. Which is different from the scatter-brained way the starters looked during that gruesome opening 61/2 minutes.
Defaulting to quick jump shots, they failed to score off their first 12 possessions. The tally: 0-of-9 shooting from the field, 0-of-2 from the foul line (both by Emeka Okafor) and three turnovers.
It was semi-historic: The third-longest game-opening drought by an NBA team since the 2002-03 season. That spotted the Mavericks a 15-0 lead that they milked through the final three quarters.
“If I was us, I wouldn't even watch that film. I'd throw it away,” said forward Jared Dudley.
Forward Gerald Wallace said he'd throw the first-half video in the trash, but as for the second half, “this is a game you can learn a lot from: We were down 25-30 and came back.”
Actually, the Bobcats (3-7) trimmed a 25-point deficit to 11 late in the game, outscoring the Mavericks by three in the second half. But place that in perspective: Once an NBA team builds that big a lead, the objective is to tire the rotation players as little as possible.
“I think Rick (Carlisle, the Mavs' coach) was pretty generous in his substitutions,” said Bobcats coach Larry Brown. “We were down 15-0 and we could have been down 30-0 the way it was going.”
Brown said he's reluctant to make widespread lineup changes after a bad game like this, but it's clear power forward Sean May (no points and two rebounds in 121/2 minutes) could be headed back to the bench.
“It's obvious Sean is not ready to play,” Brown said. “(Dirk) Nowitzki (32 points, nine boards) is a handful for anybody, but (May) is just not ready to play.”
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