1: What is the most important adjustment for Bobcats to make in order to end losing streak tonight?
Brett Hainline: Limit the open 3s – it killed Charlotte against Miami, and then they let Daniel Gibson get a couple of wide open looks to put the game out of reach.
Spencer Percy: Play smarter on the defensive end of the floor. Uncontested layups and wide open 3’s are killing us right now. The half court defensive principles just aren’t sharp, a lot of guys getting out of position. A quick fix for that problem: start talking and communicating on that end of the court as a team.
Mathew Lewis: Give a better effort on the defensive end. The Bobcats currently rank last in the NBA in Turnover Rate (10.90), illustrating their lack of exertion defensively. The inability to cause turnovers also limits the number of fast-break opportunities for the Bobcats.
2: FACT or FICTION: Boris Diaw must break out of slump in order for bobcats to win tonight in MSG?
Brett Hainline: FACT. With Tyrus out, the Bobcats need even more out of Boris. A listless, foul-plagued night like Diaw put in against the Cavs would sink the Bobcats against the superior Knicks.
Spencer Percy: FACT. Amare Stoudemire will return tonight for the Knicks so Diaw will have his hands full on the glass going against Chandler and Amare. In the Bobcats first two games Diaw accounted for 27 rebounds, in the last three games he has only pulled down 13 total. Time to get physical on the glass again.
Mathew Lewis: FACT. The last two games have produced paltry results for Boris, who was held scoreless in last night’s loss at Cleveland. As I mentioned in the recap, what’s even more concerning is the lack of aggression he has show recently. The Bobcats will need Boris to be assertive in order to have a chance tonight.
3: FACT or FICTION: Stop Carmelo and you stop the Knicks?
Brett Hainline: FACT. Since joining the Knicks, Melo is averaging over 29 points on 49% shooting in their wins, and 23 points on 42% shooting in their losses. For comparison, Amare only sees a difference of about a point and a half in his average between wins and losses (though he goes from 54% to 46%).
Spencer Percy: FICTION. In five games this season Carmelo has taken an average of 3.3 more FG attempts/game when the Knicks lose (3 of 5 games). So, don’t let Carmelo necessarily get his, but no need to help on him- yet try to make him take long 2’s and keep him from getting easy position on the block. Maggette, this task is yours. Considering how badly the Bobcats have been beaten from behind the arc in the last two games, they probably can’t afford to play too much help defense on Melo.
Mathew Lewis: FACT. Sure, the Knicks have other options – namely Amare Stoudemire – but Carmelo is one of the most dangerous offensive weapons in the NBA and the straw that stirs the Knick’s drink. Limiting him will go a long way towards getting a much needed win on the road tonight.