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3-on-3 Preview: Bobcats @ Pacers

3-on-3 TrueHoop Network

1- FACT or FICTION. Tyrus Thomas and Byron Mullens will be in the starting lineup tonight for the Bobcats.

Brett Hainline: FICTION-ish.  I don’t think Silas changes the starting lineup this quickly, but both Tyrus and Byron are earning minutes.  I think they get starters time without the starter label.

Bryan Wendland: FACT. The Bobcats need to offset Roy Hibbert and David West with some size of their own tonight. Boris Diaw hasn’t been too effective on the offensive end this year, and Mullens is the team’s third leading scorer, so there shouldn’t be too much of a drop off in points for Charlotte. D.J. White has earned his starting spot, but the Bobcats need Thomas’s size on the floor tonight.

Spencer Percy: FACT. Mullens has certainly proved that he can be a starter on this team. He can stretch defenses with his shooting range and get up and down the floor quickly for 7-footer, but must become better rebounder and more physical post-presence. Thomas will get the nod at SF because of the simple fact that he’s a better option at just about every statistical category over Derrick Brown.

2- FACT or FICTION. Bobcats will continue to show the zone defense look with Kemba Walker and D.J. Augustin in the game together. Coach Silas’ hands are tied, he must play them together because lack of guards.

Brett Hainline: FACT.  The Bobcats will continue to show some zone, in an attempt to hide some of their defensive deficiencies.  I was intrigued by the Cats using Tyrus Thomas on Joe Johnson for stretches of last night, and the coaching staff will have to continue to tinker, with Gerald Henderson the only good defender among little DJ, Kemba, and Matt Carroll.

Bryan Wendland: FACT. Silas has no choice but to play Walker and Augustin together, and making one of them guard the opponent’s shooting guard is asking for trouble. Indiana’s starting two-guard, Paul George, is 6’8″. The Bobcats really don’t have any other choice but to play zone against most teams while Walker and Augustin are on the court.

Spencer Percy: FACT. There is no question that Kemba and Augustin must be on the floor together at times with the lack of true guard play and offense on this team right now. They also help get the ball up floor quicker which is exactly what Silas wants. In order for these two to be on floor together though, zone D must be implemented because of height disadvantage.

3- PREDICTION. Bobcats get their second straight road win tonight in Indiana?

Brett Hainline: FICTION.  This is a team still learning to play together, between the shortened preseason,new additions and various injuries. Indiana is a solid team playing at home and I think they’ll take care of the tired Bobcats.

Bryan Wendland: FACT. I actually like this matchup for Charlotte. No Pacer averages more than 15.1 points per game and they like to grind games out in the half court. If the Bobcats can keep up their intensity on the glass (ranked eighth overall) and get out in transition, they could knock Indiana off their game and steal one tonight.

Spencer Percy: Fiction. Canseco is traditionally not a tough place to get a win, but the Pacers are a different team this season. They’ve added depth in frontcourt and backcourt thanks to George Hill and David West, they’re solid defensively (7th overall in defensive efficiency), and they’re 2nd best in the league from beyond the arc (42%), which should carve up the Bobcats zone. Indiana takes care of business tonight.