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Bobcats @ Celtics: 3-on-3 preview

3-on-3 TrueHoop NetworkThe Bobcats actually competed for four quarters on Saturday night in Phoenix- will it carry over to tonight in Boston? Our QCH panel helps sort everything out here.

1- Kemba Walker and Reggie Williams contributed for 43 points combined Saturday night in Phoenix, but just 4 points combined in the final quarter when the Suns rallied to win. Will Kemba and Williams both need big offensive games again to give Charlotte a chance tonight?

Brett Hainline: Unless Byron Mullens re-finds his shooting stroke and drops in 15+ points, then the Bobcats will need 40 or so from Kemba and Reggie to have a chance.  With Henderson and Maggette out, there just isn’t much offense left – especially when Biyombo, Diaw and Thomas are starting – that’s 45 points on a really good night.

Bryan Wendland: I think at least another 40 combined points is a must if Charlotte is going to have a chance in this one. If that happens and Boris Diaw can find it within himself to not look completely lost on offense, this game might actually be pretty close.

Jenn Kimbal: Walker and Williams both don’t need to have a strong night offensively, but they will need support from Biyombo and Diaw to secure the win.

2- In Bismack Biyombo’s first career start at Phoenix he recorded a double-double (11 PTS, 12 REB). Will he get the starting nod again tonight in Boston and should we expect similar production as his last game?

Brett Hainline: I expect Biyombo to be in the starting five again tonight, since the Celtics don’t have a center who necessitates sending Diop out to bang with.  As for production – I’m wary to predict another double-double for Bismack, as Kevin Garnett may teach him a few veteran tricks tonight.

Bryan Wendland: He better get the start. Honestly, who would you want defending Boston’s bigs more? Byron Mullens? Gana Diop? Give me Bismack and give him to me all day for his second straight double-double. #FreeBismack.

Jenn Kimbal: Yes, given the other starting contenders, Biyombo is the clear choice.  I would be surprised to see him replicate his success against Phoenix tonight, but given his age and inexperience, a performance anywhere near that of Saturday is icing on the cake.

3- The Bobcats have won the last two meetings with the Celtics, but making it three in a row for Charlotte seems to be a tall task. Do the Bobcats have any hope tonight? If so, what must they do well?

Brett Hainline: The first 3 quarters of the Phoenix game gave me hope again for this squad, and while Boston is a better team than the Suns, I’ll be optimistic and say the Bobcats compete for a chunk of this one as well, but I won’t predict a victory as Boston still has talented veterans in Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, and KG to close out the game.

Bryan Wendland: They have hope. Boston turns the ball over a ton and they’re not particularly impressive on offense. Keep them out of transition, force turnovers and muster up a gutsy defensive performance for once. If all that happens the ‘Cats certainly have a chance.

Jenn Kimbal: The Bobcats showed significant promise on Saturday, but a win tonight seems unlikely.  Given the age and relative decline of the Big 3, the biggest threat will be from Rondo.  The Bobcats success will be contingent on their ability to limit Rondo’s penetration and to force a significant number of turnovers.

Game Notes

  • Paul Pierce needs only 9 points to pass Larry Bird for second on the all-time scoring list in Celtics history.
  • The Celtics are second in the league in scoring defense, allowing only 86.7 PPG to their opponents.
  • The Celtics come into tonight’s contest winners of four straight and eight of nine dating back to 1/22.