Game #44: Bobcats vs. Clippers 4-on-4 Preview « Queen City Hoops

Game #44: Bobcats vs. Clippers 4-on-4 Preview

Who: Charlotte Bobcats vs Los Angeles Clippers

What: NBA Basketball – Bobcats Home Game

When: 7:00 PM ET

Where: Live at Time Warner Cable Arena, Charlotte, NC

The Matchup:

Record Offensive
Efficiency
Defensive
Efficiency
Pace
Charlotte 18-25 98.0 (27) 101.0 (7) 95.0 (21)
Los Angeles Clippers 29-14 107.2 (5) 101.1 (8) 98.2 (7)

Previous Meetings:

1/1/14 — 112-85 Clippers (@ LAC)

Injuries:
Charlotte: Jeff Taylor (OUT), Brendan Haywood (OUT)
Los Angeles Clippers: Chris Paul (OUT)

Starting Lineups

Bobcats
PG Ramon Sessions Darren Collison
SG Gerald Henderson J.J. Redick
SF Michael Kidd-Gilchrist Matt Barnes
PF Josh McRoberts Blake Griffin
C Al Jefferson DeAndre Jordan
6th Man Anthony Tolliver Jamal Crawford

3-on-3 TrueHoop Network 1- STATS. Technically, 23.9% of the Clippers offensive possessions (per MySynergySports.com) are initiated through the pick-and-roll — is PnR coverage the most important aspect to Charlotte’s defense tonight?

Spencer: No question. With the dynamic rim-runners (Griffin & Jordan) that the Clippers have + Darren Collison, who can create off the bounce in more ways than one, you can count of LAC depending on the PnR offensively.

On top of the fact that 23.9% of the Clippers offense comes off the PnR, 17.6% come from spot-up shooting — open spot-up shooters also come from the PnR sequence, so containing the ball on the PnR is extremely important because if you can’t do it extra helpers will have to become detached from the shooters that are spacing the floor.

Greg: I think it’s less of a concern with Chris Paul out, as Darren Collison obviously doesn’t have Paul’s creativity. The biggest key might be avoiding fouls: The Clippers are terrific at drawing contact, ranking second in the league at FT/FGA, and they’re actually averaging more free throws since Paul went down. The Bobcats will need to play smart defense to avoid giving L.A. bonus points at the line.

Doug Branson (PodCats Show): Certainly because the Clippers use the PnR to open up a variety of different looks. It’s not as simple as big man cutting through the lane looking for a dish. They use the PnR to get open outside looks for Blake Griffin and to draw defenses in, opening up opportunities for their 47 three point threats (*give or take). It’s not so much that we have to play GREAT PnR defense to win this game we just have to play CONSISTENTLY throughout the game. We can’t let them pull ahead in one quarter if we expect to hang around.

Michael Kaskey-Blomain: To an extent, but not to as great of one as if Chris Paul were playing. Darren Collison is solid, and is doing a decent job of filling in for CP3, but he does not have the court vision or play-making ability of Paul, and does not run the high pick-and-roll quite as effectively. So, while the ‘Cats still need to prepare for it, it will not be as big of a weapon as it would have been if Paul were playing. I would seeing keeping the Clips off the lines, both free-throw and three-point, is equally important this game. The Clippers do a good job of getting to getting to the foul line, and they like to attempt a lot of three’s. If the Bobcats can minimize the Clippers’ trips to the line and open three-point attempts, they should give themselves a shot.

2- MCBOB. In Josh McRoberts last 5 games he’s shooting 12-20 (60%) from behind the arc — Is McBob going to be the key ‘shot in the arm’ offensive performance tonight in order for the Bobcats to keep up, or are you looking elsewhere for a big night?

Spencer: McBob’s success offensively lately has definitely been a bi-product of this teams offensive resurgence, but to me it’s a combination of two other guys really stepping up to pick up the slack of missing Kemba — Anthony Tolliver & Jannero Pargo. If these two guys can manufacture 20 points off the bench tonight and in the next few weeks the Bobcats have a chance to win some games in Kemba’s absence.

Greg: McRoberts is most effective when he’s taking and making threes, and the Clippers have been good at defending that shot. They rank 16th in opponent 3PA and second in opponent 3P%. I think it’s more likely Al Jefferson has a big game: The Clippers give up a lot of attempts in the paint, and they’re just outside the bottom five in opponent FG% in the restricted area. With Kemba out, I’m expecting Al to take a lot of shots, and he should get pretty good looks.

Doug: McBob’s three point shooting has been the cherry on top but the big banana in this sundae has been Big Al Jefferson. He struggled last time out against this Clippers squad and DeAndre Jordan’s tough one on one defense. Big Al will have to make Jordan think early by opening some plays early for cutters like Ramon and Gerald if he expects to have a big night like he did against the Raptors. Also, Gerald will HAVE to shoot better than 4/11 from the field if we have any shot.

Michael: I’m looking elsewhere for a big night offensively. While McRoberts has been shooting the ball well from beyond recently, I wouldn’t rely on his steady production from long-range to win many games for this team. I would like to see Michael Kidd-Gilchrist step up and take a bigger share of the offensive load in Kemba’s absence, as it would be nice to see him attacking a Clippers’ defense that has some holes. A lot of the scoring load will likely come down to big Al Jefferson again however, who will have to use his craftiness to get some points in the paint against the Clips’ frontcourt.

3- BONUS. What’s up with Charlotte’s offensive explosion in the past 5 games? They’re better in just about every aspect of the game on the offensive end — shooting 47.7% (+3.6 net avg.), 41.5 3FG% (+6.7), getting to the foul line 30 times/game (+4.6) and averaging 26 assists/game (+5.9). What are you guys seeing differently?

Spencer: There’s a part of this success that’s a bit of an anomaly, but this roster is simply playing with confidence right now. When you factor in what McBob + Tolliver have done from behind the arc in the past 5 games — 20-38 (52.6%) — it’s easy to see how this could free up other guys and stretch the defense.

Greg: As you pointed out, McRoberts has been a help, and the team in general shot seven percent above its three-point average. Al Jefferson has been on fire, too, scoring 26.6 points on 58 percent shooting and grabbing 13 rebounds a game. Ball movement looks improved, with the team averaging 26 assists over that stretch vs. 20 for the year. A lot of good things happening at once, with a little bit of randomness thrown in there.

Doug: Guys seem to be finally understanding the inside-out offensive game plan that Clifford has put together. We’re seeing significantly less pull-up jump shots on the early side of the shot clock and much more movement around the baseline and off-ball screens. We don’t do it consistently, but it’s a start. It’s nice to see this Bobcats team resemble a professional basketball offense.

Michael: The frontcourt has stepped up a bit, with McRoberts shooting exceptionally well recently, and Al Jefferson continuing to pile in the points from the post. The offensive hasn’t seemed quite as stagnant, as the ball movement has been better, leading in turn to more assists and better opportunities. We will have to wait and see if the improvement is sustainable, but the Bobcats’ offense certainly has looked a little better as of late.

4- PICK IT. An opportunity for a statement win without Kemba in the lineup – can the ‘Cats do it?

Spencer: This game is winnable for Charlotte, but it’s going to take a near perfect performance. The Clippers can beat you in so many different ways, and without the floor general Kemba Walker, it’s obvious that some guys on this team are going to have to step up on both ends. To me, the key matchup in this game is Sessions vs. Collison – can Ramon will himself to play harder on the defensive end and limit LAC action going to the rim – that action is initiated through Collison putting the ball on the floor.

I’ll take the Clippers 102-96.

Greg: It’d be nice, but I doubt it. Charlotte doesn’t have anyone that matches up well with Blake Griffin, though it’ll be interesting to see if MKG gets a shot. The Clippers take a ton of threes, as well, even though they aren’t good at them. Recent play aside, I don’t think Charlotte has the offensive horsepower to keep up.

Doug: CAN THEY?! Absolutely, but it will take out of body performances from Big Al, Gerald Henderson and Ramon Sessions. Expect to see a lot of the starters tonight unless it gets out of hand. This Clippers team is firing on all cylinders offensively and now defensively so they will make life very difficult for this young offense. The key to this game will be all five guys…untying Jared Dudley’s shoes whenever possible. CLIPPERS WIN. Sorry.

Michael: It would be a nice victory, but I don’t see the Bobcats being able to keep up offensively. Maybe if MK-G steps up and has a big game, and the defense is able to limit the Clippers’ three-point and foul-shot attempts than Charlotte will have a shot. But, Blake Griffin might have a big evening with no real Cats’ counterpart, and realistically, without Kemba, the Bobcats may have a hard time keeping up.

9 comments to Game #44: Bobcats vs. Clippers 4-on-4 Preview

  • charlottean

    zeller needs to be going head to head with guys like griffin and love and aldridge. they are wasting that kid so badly.

  • NCTony

    Did you read todays newspaper article about Zeller, and how the coach wants to handle him?

  • charlottean

    yep…..i would love to see clifford teach someone how to swim without water. write without a pencil. read without a book.

    what is the number one way people learn how to do things and improve in them?

    and seriously…….the gap between mcroberts and zeller is marginal at best. the biggest difference is the foul trouble thing. that has a lot to do with refs lighting up rookies constantly.

  • Spencer/SDS

    So what??? Does Clifford expect Zeller to gain 30 lbs??? Then give him a chance to learn how to post up (which he was the best player in the nation ad doing in Indiana) after a yr of not doing that??? He’s learning how to develop a mid rand 3 pt range shot over the season?? (which is a good idea) But, is required to NOT get any rhythm or play within himself and to his best assets??? (posting up). Seriously Anthony Davis got these chances to post up and was even smaller then Zeller, why do we have a coach that doesn’t give the rookies (and youngens) their own chances???

    He wants them to prove themselves in practice…sadly practice as Iverson said (although in an hilarious and somewhat inappropriate way) that it doesn’t mean squat when in game…you need to develop in game, and Clifford is giving NONE of our youngens that possibility, as he liked old bastards (basketball wise) to get the chances instead for whatever reason…Its funny you rarely see draft picks turn into busts that actually get 30+ minutes per game, but you almost always see busts that get less then 20 minutes per game for the 1st and especially 2nd-3rd seasons…Reasoning??? Coaches don’t like what they see in practice, and never let the kids develop their game in game…how are they supposed to impress you if you never give them a chance??? seriously…

  • Dave Walshy

    Remember all the talk during training camp about how impressed Clifford was with Zeller and how he didnt want to hold him back lol. Wtf happened… Dude changed his mind hard…

  • charlottean

    clifford is such an idiot. there’s just no sugar coating it. he’s not a bright guy at all.

  • NCTony

    Why is Clifford an idiot? Please explain your reasons what he should have done tonight and when?

    I just don’t understand any of you guys logic.
    Zeller gets tossed around like a rag doll every game. They should keep a stat on him many times he gets thrown to the hardwood, he probably leads NBA in that category.He has hard time jumping in traffic. He doest score inside or outside. Looked great vs summer league level competition, But of course the real NBA is not summer league.

    He contributed tonight with some boards and hustle play. Biyombo contributed positive minutes. Maybe Biyombo turns into a Deandre Jordon type with 4 and 20 boards… Someday.. Maybe.

    Al consistently gets you a double double.. But you’d rather play the youngsters and lose or tank. And then we draft another project like Zeller or MKG or Biyombo.

    I see you guys rhetoric coach is an idiot, AL is a liability….

    Do you really think these guys could play 40 mins- right now at this point in their career? Look at Paul George he played 20 mins rookie year, averaged 7 pts. I am not implying that Zeller will be even 25% the player Georgd is, but that’s how you develop players, unless you have a star, which we don’t. & they foul too much, neither guy can shoot. Can’t create their own shot. It’s so obvious, to me…

    But as I’ve said before you are entitled your opinion, even if it’s wrong.

  • Dave Walshy

    I don’t think he is an idiot. I think he is actually a good coach overrall (great at defense, time will tell on offense) but I think the front office needs to tell him to stop trying to squeak out every possible win by playing guys like Tolliver and McBob and instead focus on developing the young players so we don’t lose our draft pick and are in a much better situation going forward. We have absolutely nothing to gain by being an 8 seed this year and getting swept and it would mean losing our draft pick, which is honestly arguably the most valuable asset we have if we are able to keep it. The fact that he is able to squeak out wins with those guys says a lot for his ability to coach in-game but being in maximum win now mode this season is kind of idiotic really. I don’t know if its coming from him or the front office or both but it is something that could cost this team a chance at real relevancy. Why would we be necessarily drafting another project if we get a top ten pick in this draft? There will be ready contributors available and if we did draft a project it would be for someone with tons of upside (assuming we pick correctly). We could also possibly move the pick up since we’ll have two other first rounders as well. Some luck in the lottery and/or possible trades could land us a star in this draft. Even if we don’t get lucky or trade we can get someone really good picking 8-10. We could potentially be one of the best young up and coming teams next year but apparently some people want to see us get swept by Indiana very badly. If we lose our pick this year I feel like we are just going to be back to struggling to make the playoffs next year and with not much to help us improve going forward. This team could very easily be back in full on rebuild mode in 2-3 years.

    I’m not completely against Al. I just don’t think we should really build a team around him. That just makes it all the more likely we will end up stuck again. Even though I think he brings a lot to the table there isn’t any reason to believe AJ is going to take us anywhere. I honestly think Zeller has looked like garbage so far but he has potential so we might as well do what we can to find out if he can reach it. I think Biyombo should just be playing more because he has already shown what he can do in this system when he gets minutes and there is still a chance he could end up being an absolute monster on D. I think Kemba is pretty clearly the best player on the team already and MKG is already kind of a beast at age 20 so I think the team should be more about that right now.

  • charlottean

    he is not a HORRIBLE coach. but he also isn’t a very smart guy. he’s a lot like ron rivera in that regard. rivera can coach a team and motivate guys and get guys to do what he wants execution wise. but he’s not a smart guy and that leads to poor decision making.

    clifford has made tons of decisions regarding personnel that have just been baffling (tolliver on lebron, adrien playing over biz based on a flawed interpretation of 1 statistical measure with too many variables, etc)

    the guy gives everybody credit for the defense except MKG yet conveniently, he complained about the defense the entire time dude was out, dude comes back and the defense looks drastically improved. it’s night and day between he and tolliver. most people will overlook how big a deal it is to have 2 blocks and 2 steals in 25 minutes. that’s major impact in addition to the plays that don’t show up on paper.

    i wasn’t speaking about clifford specifically regarding the game against the clips. i’m talking in general.

    if they’re thinking play zeller less than 20 this year, 30ish next year and more the following……fine. but that doesn’t apply to biz and mkg.

    you think biz could one day be deandre jordan? he’s already deandre jordan. he rebounds at the rate that would lead to a bunch of 20 rebound games. he blocks shots. he converts dunks and post ups at a high rate. that’s the whole point…..you see the guy that can’t score like al and you look around the league at all the winning teams and they have a guy that biz would look like if he was given 35 mpg. you just can’t hide jefferson on defense. griffin was going right at him. when mcroberts was on him, there was no help. there never is. and that’s why his teams will never contend.