The post-game chatter was as much about what the Charlotte Bobcats lost – small forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist – as how they lost in an 89-82 fall to the Dallas Mavericks.

For the second straight game they blew a double-digit second-half lead. More importantly going forward, they have likely lost Kidd-Gilchrist – arguably the best defender – probably for weeks.

Kidd-Gilchrist was diagnosed with a fractured left hand he suffered in the second half. He’ll be re-evaluated in Charlotte Wednesday, but he left American Airlines Center in a cast, his middle two fingers taped together.

Kidd-Gilchrist indicated it’s the ring finger on his left hand that was injured.

“I looked down at my finger and it was (pointing) the wrong way,” said Kidd-Gilchrist, adding he isn’t sure just when or how he hurt himself.

This is the fourth broken hand in about a week’s time in the NBA. New Orleans’ Anthony Davis, Kidd-Gilchrist’s Kentucky teammate and close friend, has the same injury as do the Clippers’ J.J. Redick and the Nets’ Paul Pierce.

The Bobcats have one of the NBA’s best defenses – this was the 11th straight time they’ve held an opponent under 100 points, best in the league – and Kidd-Gilchrist plays a huge role in that. Coach Steve Clifford has often said his team’s great strength is that wing players Kidd-Gilchrist, Jeff Taylor and Gerald Henderson can guard effectively without needing much help from teammates.

“That’s a big hit,” Clifford said. “Foul trouble has limited his minutes some lately, but he’s been really good.

“If you watched him from the summer to now, there’s been a lot of progress since Vegas (summer league). He can be an elite defender in this league. He’s very bright.”

Taylor, who never played in the second half despite Kidd-Gilchrist’s injury, likely becomes the starter at small forward. Anthony Tolliver played a lot of small forward Tuesday, but that was a function of the Mavericks playing primarily Shawn Marion at that position. Tolliver, built more like a power forward, isn’t effective chasing around small, quick forwards.

Tuesday’s loss, which dropped the Bobcats to 8-11, was similar to a one-point loss in Miami Sunday in that the Bobcats gave up a sizeable lead (14 to the defending-champion Heat).