Who is helping the Charlotte Bobcats weather the storm?
Following Saturday night’s loss to New Orleans, coach Mike Dunlap referred to his team’s 18-game losing streak as “a storm of losing.”
And while the road gets no easier Monday with a visit to the Chicago Bulls, Dunlap said his young team is finding help coping with the mounting losses.
“We’re getting quality leadership from our veterans. We haven’t had any disturbances whatsoever in the locker room,” Dunlap said. “They’ve been very, very good at looking to the positive
“Eventually, we’re our own solution. We can’t look external. We have to solve this issue.”
As one of the youngest teams in the NBA, veterans are not in abundance on the Bobcats’ roster.
Primarily, much of the veteran leadership comes from Brendan Haywood, Ben Gordon and Ramon Sessions. Of those three, Haywood has the most experience, now in his 12th NBA season.
All three, however, are in their first season with the Bobcats. Still, they at least have played against most of the league’s best players.
“I think we just try to talk to the young guys and make sure they always know their match-up,” said Haywood. “For some of us who have been in the league awhile, we know what (other players’) tendencies are.
“We remind them it’s a long season – where you start isn’t necessarily where you finish. We talk about remaining positive and anything from how to eat well to how to rest your body.”
Haywood said all of the Bobcats’ younger players respond well to veterans’ advice.
“It’s gotten tough on this losing streak because it seems like we’ve been finding different ways to lose,” he said.
“The loss (Saturday night) was tough because we probably should have won – we played well. If you looked at the stat sheet, you probably thought we won. We just didn’t close it out.”
Gordon, now in his ninth NBA season, said no one is hanging their head.
“At the end of the end day, we’ll start to win some of these close games. The effort is there – it’s not like we’re getting blown out every night,” he said.
“Normally when games are close, the difference is just a few things – mental errors, lapses at the end of games, poor shots. It’s things like that we have to get better at.”
The Bobcats certainly are no strangers to losing. They lost their final 23 games last season to finish an NBA-worse 7-59 under then-coach Paul Silas.
Yet even as the losses mount now, Gordon said he still sees a much different team from a season ago.
“We’re a young team with a first-year coach, so everybody is learning together,” he said. “We need to finally get over that hump of making the same mistakes.
“We’re trying to make those corrections but we’re just struggling at it.”
Injury update: Bobcats forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist suffered a scratched cornea in his right eye during the second quarter of Saturday night’s loss to New Orleans.
After receiving treatment at halftime, Kidd-Gilchrist returned during the third quarter wearing protective goggles. His availability for Monday’s game will be a game-time decision, team officials said.