Forget about how the Charlotte Bobcats start games.
It was how they ended it Saturday night that cost them in a 98-95 defeat to the New Orleans Hornets at Time Warner Cable Arena.
The Bobcats certainly produced a stat sheet worthy of a win.
Charlotte outscored New Orleans 27-0 in fast break points, out-rebounded the Hornets (42-38) and shot better from the field (49.4 percent to 42.7 percent).
Yet, when Charlottes offense cooled in the second half so did the teams commitment to the defensive effort which helped the Bobcats to a 57-40 halftime advantage.
The result was a loss to one of the two teams in the NBA who began the day with fewer wins than the Bobcats and an extension of Charlottes losing streak to 18 in a row.
Charlotte coach Mike Dunlap said he emphasized three positives after the game.
We found a zone we can use in greater increments. Two, when we play with energy, were a different team and (Friday night) that was not the case to that was marked improvement, he said.
The third thing is we used the motion game tonight and the ball moved more freely. Those three things all made a difference.
They did in the first half.
Unlike some of their recent outings, the Bobcats didnt have to fight from behind much of the night.
Charlotte took a 25-22 lead after the first quarter and then started the second with a 10-0 run with four different players scoring.
Behind 12 points in the second quarter from Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, the Bobcats built a 21-point lead, going up 54-33 with 2 minutes, 57 seconds left in the first half.
Charlotte entered the second half with uncertainly as Kidd-Gilchrist was involved in a collision fighting for a loose ball late in the second quarter which left him with a scratched cornea.
Kidd-Gilchrist used protective goggles the remainder of the game and scored only four points the rest of the way.
We werent as aggressive in the second half as we were in the first and thats what happened to all of us, he said. We werent attacking enough.
The rookie from Kentucky said his eye affected him a little bit in the second half, but Dunlap indicated that was more to it than that.
I still think in the second half he was different, Dunlap said. It happens. Its part of the game.
The thing that was incredible and typical for MKG (Kidd-Gilchrist) is he just played through it. He gave us what he had in the second half and a lot of that was sheer will power.
A 3-pointer from Ryan Anderson gave New Orleans its first lead, 82-81, with 5:44 left.
The Hornets built their lead to as many as nine but the Bobcats forced a turnover with 12.9 seconds left that gave them the ball, trailing by three, 98-95.
Both Ben Gordon and Ramon Sessions got decent looks in the final six seconds on potential game-tying 3-pointers, but neither found the mark.