Who: Charlotte Bobcats vs Minnesota Timberwolves
What: NBA Basketball – Bobcats Home Game
When: 7 PM ET
Where: Live at Time Warner Cable Arena
|Charlotte||7-40||94.3 (30)||108.4 (30)||92.7 (18)|
|Minnesota||24-27||103.2 (14)||103.2 (16)||95.2 (5)|
Charlotte: Eduardo Najera- OUT, DeSagna Diop- PROBABLE
Minnesota: Ricky Rubio- OUT, Nikola Pekovic- OUT, J.J. Barea
|PG||D.J. Augustin||Luke Ridnour|
|SG||Gerald Henderson||Wesley Johnson|
|SF||Corey Maggette||Martell Webster|
|PF||Tyrus Thomas||Derrick Williams|
|C||Bismack Biyombo||Kevin Love|
|6th Man||Kemba Walker||Michael Beasley|
The Bobcats will look to snap their 4-game losing streak tonight against the T-Wolves, who are also struggling and have lost 6 of their last 8 games. In the first meeting between these two teams back in Feb, Charlotte was without Gerald Henderson. Considering the stellar play from Hendo as of late, will he be just what the Bobcats need tonight in order to pick up the win at home? Zach Harper, from ESPN.com and ‘A Wolf Among Wolves’ T-Wolves blog stops by to help us preview the game. Here we go.
1- In the first meeting between CHA-MIN earlier this season, K-Love had no problems dealing with Biyombo on the glass (18 REB). Love was then starting at PF, but now with the season ending injury to Pekovic, he’s Minnesota’s true anchor inside. Does he abuse Biyombo tonight for 20+ REB, or will Biz be able to compete with Love on the boards now that he should be matched up with him more?
Zach Harper (ESPN.com): I would be shocked if Biyombo gets to play a whole lot in this game, just because of Kevin Love’s ability to draw fouls this season. Love has taken the third most attempts in the league and he’s made the second most free throws. If he can’t get Biyombo into foul trouble early, then his head probably isn’t in the game. As far as keeping Love off the boards, he looked really slow rebounding the ball last night against Memphis. He did a lot of rebound watching on missed shots that ended up near him. It’s unlikely he does that two nights in a row, even if it is a back-to-back. I’d guess he goes for at least 17, just considering the experience of the guys across from him.
Mathew Lewis: Biyombo will make Love work for his rebounds tonight. That said, Love could still cash in for 20+ boards. Given the Bobcats’ proclivity for missing shots as well as the loss of fellow glass-eater Pekovic, he should have ample opportunity.
Bryan Wendland: Love can do whatever he wants to anyone in the NBA when it comes to rebounding, so Bismack is probably in for a long night. I’m more frightened at the prospect of Biyombo getting pulled all the way to the three-point line to guard Love, though. Tonight is definitely going to be a learning experience for the youngest player in the NBA.
2- D.J. Augustin has been in a real slump as of late and his past 5 games have been a testament to that- He’s down from his season averages in almost every statistical category (past 5 games: 8 PPG, 5.4 APG, 33.3 FG%). With Augustin in such a rut, will the matchup with J.J. Barea (Zach informed us of Barea injury) be a favorable one to get him back on track offensively, or will Barea only add to his struggles?
Zach: Barea actually did not make the road trip. He suffered a thigh contusion in the double overtime loss to OKC the other night and is out until Friday’s home game against Boston. With that said, Malcolm Lee is the backup PG right now and you can definitely burn him. He’s not a bad defender, but he’s only played 39 minutes in his career so far. Augustin should be able to use a few veteran moves to get Lee off balance and out of sorts. Although, Lee has shown an ability to recover and block shots in his brief time this season.
Mathew: Augustin may fight his way out of the slump tonight, but I don’t know if it will be due to the matchup with Barea. Augustin is unlikely to benefit from the height advantage because his offensive game does not feature aspects which he can use to take advantage of the discrepancy (post ups, etc.).
Bryan: I don’t know what it’s going to take to get Augustin going offensively. He better figure something out though, because the speedy Barea will probably be blowing by him all night on the other end.
3- Minnesota won the first matchup 102-90 back on Feb. 15. Statistically, the two teams were very even in just about every category. The one big difference- Charlotte was without Gerald Henderson. Considering how well Hendo has been playing as of late, will he push the Bobcats over the top in the second meeting with Minny?
Zach: Wolves are without Rubio, Pekovic and Barea tonight. If they can’t take advantage of this battered team and win a home game against the Wolves then I don’t think the injury excuses are valid anymore for Charlotte.
Mathew: Minnesota is banged up, but I still have to take them. Kevin Love is capable of putting together a 40/20 game, while the Bobcats don’t have anyone capable of even scoring 30. Dos Lobos take it.
Bryan: Well, Henderson might be playing some of his best basketball of the year, but with Augustin at his worst (he can’t get any worse, can he?) and Kemba playing quite erratically of late, I don’t think Hendo’s presence will be enough to push Charlotte to victory against the T-Wolves.