Who: Miami Heat vs Charlotte Bobcats
What: NBA Basketball – Heat Home Game
When: 7:30 PM ET
Where: Live at American Airlines Arena
|Miami||30-14||109.1 (2)||101.5 (11)||93.2 (22)|
|Charlotte||11-35||98.5 (29)||108.2 (29)||94.5 (13)|
Charlotte: Byron Mullens (Probable), Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (OUT)
|PG||Mario Chalmers||Kemba Walker|
|SG||Dwyane Wade||Jeffery Taylor|
|SF||Shane Battier||Gerald Henderson|
|PF||LeBron James||Jeff Adrien|
|C||Chris Bosh||Bismack Biyombo|
|6th Man||Ray Allen||Ramon Sessions|
1- STATS: Lebron James and Dwayne Wade combined for 56 points, 21 rebounds & 13 assists back on 12/26 in Charlotte. The duo basically sunk the Bobcats on their own — how do the Cats’ at least limit one of the two?
Spencer: The Bobcats will be playing much smaller lineups now because of the MKG injury. I think that this will force Dunlap to play more zone defense, and against guys like Lebron & Wade, I’d try to run double teams at them out of the zone as much as possible. The Heat can spread the floor with shooters as good as any team in the league, but I’d rather get beat by their role players, opposed to allowing Lebron & Wade get whatever they want.
Brett: The Bobcats’ are going to be missing their best option for guarding LeBron, with MKG out. I’d actually like to see how Jeff Adrien’s long arms and strength worked against King James. As for Dwayne Wade – when Taylor and Henderson are playing the 2, the Cats have athletic guards who can try to hold him to jumpers…but when the Bobcats go to their offense-first lineups with two of Ramon/Kemba/Ben Gordon in the backcourt, Wade should have a field day.
Greg: I think they’ll have a better shot at limiting Wade than James, but forcing them into taking jump shots is probably the best strategy for either. Losing MKG hurts, but they still have plenty of long, rangy defenders they can at least try on them. Playing Taylor and Henderson on Wade should help.
2- MKG ABSENCE: It’s unclear as to how long Kidd-Gilchrist will be out following the concussion suffered in Houston on Saturday night, but it’s also safe to assume the Bobcats won’t rush it. How do you see the lineup being shuffled to make up for MKG’s absence?
Spencer: Jeff Taylor and Hendo will obviously both have to play much more SF now. Both of these guys will likely start with Taylor starting at SF. As if the Bobcats didn’t already struggle enough defensively with small lineups, it’s likely to only get worse now. Charlotte should play a lot more zone D without MKG, but when the Cats’ have tested out the zone defense this season it’s shown very mixed results. It’s just close to impossible to get stops when you have a player like Ben Gordon — he needs 20+ minutes a game because of the rate he can score, but he also plays as uninspired as any guy in the league on the defensive end.
Brett: The Bobcats will be forced to play small even more frequently than they already like to, moving Jeff Taylor and Gerald Henderson over to the 3 spot for extended minutes, and playing a small back court extensively. So, to compete, the guards will have to be making shots, because defensively, it can be a challenge.
Greg: Like Brett said, we’ll probably see Henderson and Taylor at the small forward spot. The Heat run a lot of small ball, so it theoretically shouldn’t hurt them too much. MKG is traveling to Miami to be with the team, so there’s a good chance that he won’t miss too much time.
3- PICK IT: Charlotte played the defending champs tough in the first meeting this season, pulling the game to a 2-point deficit late in the 3rd quarter. Tonight will spell a much different story for the Bobcats, right?
Spencer: I think so. It’s hard for me not to picture the Heat getting whatever they want offensively. MKG’s absence will glare in this game — against a team with two superstars, you need an above average defender. 115-95 Miami.
Brett: The good news for Charlotte is that the Heat will on occasion play down to their opponent – but as long as they engage before the latter portion of the 4th quarter, the Heat have this one. The Heat are a very good three point shooting team, and with MKG out, the Bobcats’ rotations will probably be even poorer to shooters.
Greg: The Bobcats played the Heat relatively close in their last game, but that mostly felt like they were being toyed with before Miami decided to close things out. I expect something similar tonight, with the game staying relatively competitive until the Big Three ice the game convincingly in the fourth quarter.