Once again, our “Men of Teal” did not play defense. Our offense had a much better game, even though our 3-point shooting is all but non-existent. Any team that can maintain a field goal percentage north of 55% will not lose a game. The Heat have been doing that very thing this entire series. It is amazing to me that we are playing this team so poorly when we have had a top-10 defense in the league all year, even with all of our injuries. I did my best to not write a game recap after the loss because emotion clouds the words that flow from my fingertips. Sadly, with the time that has elapsed, the emotions are still there, so I have to put out what I am feeling. Granted, there is a chance that the Hornets, that are currently 0-2, could stage a comeback from that deficit, and go on to win this series, however, the odds are NOT in our favor. Do I believe it can be done? Yes. I’m a stubborn fan that refuses to believe that we are going to get swept for the 3rd time in the history of this second coming of the NBA in Charlotte. We are just a better team than what we have seen so far. We are a better team than the national stage has gotten to see. I just can’t put together WHY, oh why, we are doing so poorly on defense, and we have completely abandoned our game style. Clifford keeps saying that we don’t need to alter the game plan and we need to stay focused and we need to execute the game plan, but I am struggling to see what that plan is. I’m not sure if it is to just try to keep scoring every time the Heat do, and just run and gun it to the final buzzer, or if it is to play possum, get them in Charlotte and make the world see how amazing the team is as they come from 0-2 to win it all. I just don’t get it. I can’t see the big picture.
My guess would be that Batum will be done for this series. He’ll definitely be unavailable tomorrow, and probably the next game. But when we push for the rest of the games to defeat the Heat in the series, he MAY be available. Perhaps we should just rest him until the second round. We’ll just need to see how it goes.
As for this team, less Batum, we will need to make some adjustments. Our assists number has been atrocious. We will need a ball distributor on the floor, and guys to make shots. So who do I think should be our starting 5 with Batum out?
G – Kemba Walker
G- Jeremy Lin
SF – Courtney Lee
PF – Cody Zeller
C – Al Jefferson
Rotations of subs in this game would be unique for me. Depending who catches fire first at guard, they would remain in. I would make substitutions early and often. For example, if Lin is in a groove at the 7 minute mark of the 1st and there’s a timeout, I sub in Troy Daniels for Kemba. Around 2 minutes, I sub in Kemba for Lin and Jeremy Lamb for Courtney Lee. I also have Spencer Hawes coming into this game at that 7 minute mark for Al, and Marv would be coming in for Cody. If Al is on fire, then I just sub in Marv for Cody. When Al looks winded, Cody can come back in at the 2-minute mark. At the start of the 2nd quarter, my guys on the floor would be, in this case, would be Kemba, Lamb, Lee, Cody, and Hawes.
The heat would just hate me because I would be throwing mix after mix at them. If Whiteside is in and he’s flirting with a 3rd foul at the half, Tyler Hansbrough is going to be in the game, getting under his skin. It’s pretty easy to see that you can get him frustrated pretty easy, and when he’s frustrated, he commits stupid fouls.
I think you all get where I’m going with this. In the playoffs, I believe that you need to see lineups and game plans that are nothing like what has been seen all season. In the 4th quarter of the last game, when we were down 6, for me it made no sense for Troy Daniels and Jeremy Lamb to be in the game. Troy is fast becoming a true threat off the bench, capable of hitting 3-pointers that are launched within a very narrow window of opportunity. We just had to get Gary Neal a while back, who because popular with the Spurs for doing exactly what Daniels is capable of. Daniels, like Neal, has to see the court in order to hit those shots. Lamb’s length makes him hard to guard, and I believe he needs to see court time. Anyone who doesn’t believe that tomorrow’s game is “must-win”…well…all I can say is that I’m sorry.
Why am I so ill about rotations and players on the court? I mean we did score 103 points, right? Wrong. We do not win games when our assists number is low. We had 9 assists in the last game. We outrebounded the Heat 39-35, but they out assisted us, 19 – 9. That can’t happen. We were 1-16 from the 3-point line. That can’t happen. We allowed the Heat to shoot 57.9% for the game. We allowed 72 points in the first half. None of this can happen if we plan on winning a game.
Being the eternal optimist, from game 1 to game 2, we figured out how to not turn the ball over and we started grabbing rebounds. That’s part of the puzzle. We can only hope, now, that we find our 3-point shot, and the defense that we were known for all season shows up in game 3. It’s time to swarm Charlotte. It’s now or never. Let’s defend the HIVE and get back into this series in a BIG way.
Let’s Go Hornets