MILWAUKEE To use Charlotte Bobcats coach Mike Dunlaps term, now the chairs are hot.
Translation: Hes considering performance-based lineup changes following Fridays 108-93 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks. He already switched it up at halftime, starting Gana Diop and Bismack Biyombo as his big men, rather than Byron Mullens and Brendan Haywood.
Dunlap also could reinsert Gerald Henderson as a starter, after Henderson spent his first two games back from a foot sprain as a reserve.
This was the kind of game that would make a coach reconsider his options: The Bobcats trailed by as much as 26 to a team that had lost four of its past five. This never felt like a game the 7-11 Bobcats could win; the final margin was mostly about the Bucks emptying their bench over the last five minutes.
Dunlap believes in defense first. He didnt get it. The Bobcats gave up 52 points in the lane and allowed the Bucks to grab 23 offensive rebounds. The overall rebounding differential was Milwaukee 59, Charlotte 45.
Dunlap has been relentlessly patient and positive throughout this six-game losing streak. He sounded a bit more scolding Friday when he said post-game Weve got to do better.
It didnt help that rookie Jeff Taylor, who replaced Henderson as a starter following Hendersons injury in early November, shot 1 of 10 from the field. It didnt help that fellow rookie Michael Kidd-Gilchrist was in constant foul trouble. It didnt help that Mullens and Haywood were such non-factors defensively in the first half.
Dunlaps biggest concern entering this game was the way Milwaukees guards Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis could break down defenses. Neither of those guys had huge games a combined 28 points on 8-of-27 shooting. But forwards Ersan Ilyasova (21 points off the bench) and Marquis Daniels (18 as a starter) melted down whatever defense the Bobcats pitched up.
If there was anything positive from this one, it was the play of Henderson (19 points on 6-of-10 shooting) and the surprising effectiveness of little-used center Diop. He clogged up the lane defensively, grabbed five rebounds and was even a factor offensively (3 of 4 from the field for six points).
Dunlap said before the game he had no firm plans yet about when Henderson should return to the starting lineup.
But between how well Henderson played and how poorly some other Bobcats performed, change seemed in the air post-game.
Like Dunlap said, the chairs are hot and this team has to do better.