Opponent: Dallas Mavericks (3-7)
Do not let the Mavericks' record fool you – they are better than they have shown. That can be seen to a degree in their efficiencies: A -1.8 does not matchup with a .300 Winning Percentage. On the flip side of that coin, the Bobcats' mark of -5.2 actually shows that they have been lucky to go through 3-6 so far. Enough on that though, here are some things to watch for:
Who wins the turnover battle? Dallas is strong with the ball, turning it over on only 12.3% of their possessions. Unfortunately for them, they still give more often than they receive, as they have only forced their opponents into turnovers on 11.3% of poss (the heart-warming motto of “it is more blessed to give than to receive” does not apply to basketball). The Bobcats also cough it up more often than they grab it back, but the margin is smaller, at 15.2% gives to 14.9% takes. Charlotte has played a more reckless style offensively and defensively, while the Mavericks have been more conservative: Which style will the game tonight lean towards?
Who guards Dirk?With Erick Dampier in the post, we will see more Nazr tonight, I expect. The question will be how well Emeka/Nazr/Sean/Gerald/Ajinca? can handle Nowitzki. Hedo Turkoglu proved a very difficult cover for the Cats against Orlando, and Dirk is, well, just better (in fact, if Alexis fancies himself a perimeter based big man, I hope he has a notepad with him on the bench tonight for learning from Dirk). The Bobcats best hope is probably the lucky break they caught against Orlando – get the man in trouble. So whoever Dirk guards, make him work, please.
Will Kidd be Jason or Ason tonight?It will take some pressure off the Bobcats's smallish points if this is not one of those random nights when Kidd can actually shoot.
Final note: I will be at this one in person. If you're there and see someone wearing a QueenCityHoops t-shirt, come up and say hi (do not worry, it will be me – this tee is still one of a kind (Shameless plug – visit the Store, linked at the top)).