NEW ORLEANS Inexcusable.
Thats the word power forward Josh McRoberts used to describe the Charlotte Bobcats showing in a 105-84 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans. The man had a point.
The shooting, by any description, was bad. The defense was a major step back from Fridays victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers. But it was the focus and intensity particularly from the starters in the first and third periods that made this a stinker.
The Pelicans punked the Bobcats and no one among the core players fought back.
You just need to be ready. There are no numbers, no film to learn from, said shooting guard Gerald Henderson. Youve got to know what youre doing and come with the right mindset to the game.
I take it a lot on myself, Henderson continued. Im a leader on this team. Ive got to make it happen on both ends.
Henderson was bad Saturday: 3-of-10 from the field for seven points, two rebounds and four fouls. But he had plenty of company. It took eight minutes for any Bobcat except point guard Kemba Walker to score. By the end of the first quarter the Pelicans led 33-15.
This was a ticked-off New Orleans team. They were beaten by 20 by the Magic in Orlando Friday. Their coach, Monty Williams, pretty much called them out during pre-game media availability.
We looked like a team trying to identify who does what, Williams said of the Orlando loss.
There was no lack of aggression Saturday. The Pelicans set a franchise record with 18 shots blocked. They shot 49 percent from the field (compared to the 43 percent the Bobcats allowed in their first two games). They held the Bobcats to 38 percent from the field.
And power forward Anthony Davis, the player the Bobcats missed out on when New Orleans won the 2012 draft lottery, was magnificent. He finished with 25 points, eight rebounds, six blocks and six steals.
Physically they just took it to us from the start and we didnt respond, said McRoberts. We knew theyd come ready to play (after the embarrassment in Orlando) and we didnt match their intensity.
Bad as the first quarter was, the Bobcats trimmed a 22-point deficit to 15 at the half.
Coach Steve Clifford thought his starters would come out fired up and sharp in the third quarter. Just the opposite. In the first two minutes of the second half the Bobcats committed a shot-clock violation and a 5-second inbounds violation. Clifford responded by subbing out all five starters simultaneously.
I was really disappointed in the beginning of the third quarter, Clifford said. I thought wed have a different energy level.
I think were a good team with enough talent to play well. But we have to be at or near the top of our intensity level to play well enough to win.
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