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Bobcats @ Pacers Preview: 3-on-3 with 8p9s

Who: Indiana Pacers vs Charlotte Bobcats

What: NBA Basketball – Pacers Home Game

When: 7:00 PM ET

Where: Live at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN

The Matchup:

Record Offensive
Indiana 31-21 99.8 (25) 96.1 (1) 92.2 (26)
Charlotte 12-39 98.3 (29) 108.2 (29) 94.4 (13)

Previous Meetings:
2012/11/02 – 89-90 – RecapBoxscore

2013/01/12 – 96-88 – RecapBoxscore

2013/01/15 – 103-76 – RecapBoxscore

Indiana: Danny Granger (OUT), David West (Questionable)

Starting Lineups

Pacers Bobcats
PG George Hill Kemba Walker
SG Lance Stephenson Gerald Henderson
SF Paul George Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
PF David West Byron Mullens
C Roy Hibbert Bismack Biyombo
6th Man Danny Granger Ramon Sessions

3-on-3 TrueHoop Network 1- STATS: Indiana leads the league in Rebounding Rate (52.5), while Charlotte is dead last (47.8). The Bobcats competing on the glass tonight is the key to staying in this game, right?

Spencer: It is. The Pacers aren’t going to kill you with efficient offense or extremely high FG%, but they will pound with anyone in the paint and fighting for second chances on the glass. Saturday night, Charlotte got embarrassed on the glass by Phila, 60-40. If that trend repeats itself tonight, it’s going to be a blowout.

Brett: Yes, rebounding remains a weakness for the Bobcats – but also an important opportunity.  The Cats still aren’t a great shooting team, so Charlotte needs to grab a few offensive rebounds to get more opportunities to score.  The problem is similar, sort of, at the other:  Charlotte surrenders a high shooting percentage, so they can’t afford to give teams even more chances.  While this statement would have seen preposterous last season, Byron Mullens’ return should help the Bobcats perform better on the glass.

Jared Wade (8 Points, 9 Seconds): The Bobcats need to force the Pacers to miss shots. That is super basic, but even though Indiana is statistically the best defensive team in the NBA, they still need to make shots to get victories. In their 31 wins this year, for example, they have an eFG% of 48.3% compared to just 45.2% in losses. Now, 48.3% isn’t even league average, so that shows just how dominating they are on defense. In short, Indiana doesn’t even need to shoot well to win; they just have to not shoot terribly. And given how much Charlotte struggles to make shots (last in the NBA in eFG%), they seem unlikely to light up the scoreboard, so they will need to keep Indiana down below 45% (eFG) if they want to win.

2- BYRON MULLENS: Everyone to give me best-case/worst-case scenario for what Byron Mullens will evolve into. Fascinating talent to go along with extremely questionable decision making at times.

Spencer: Call me crazy, but I truly believe Mullens has the physical traits to become a player similar to Dirk Nowitzki. Problem is that Byron has no real go-to move except ‘catch, face & shoot’ and he doesn’t understand the concept of setting up his teammates. If and when Charlotte is able to play through Byron Mullens with him having an arsenal of offensive moves to get him quality shots/trips to foul line and finding his teammates by reading defenses, then he’ll begin the road to reaching his ceiling. Worst case, Byron always makes a slew of poor decisions within the course of a game, never consistently gives effort on the defensive end and forever remains the schizophrenic player he is now.

Brett: So, speaking of Byron…best case:  poor man’s Dirk Nowitzki.  It feels ridiculous to type that – but, if we’re talking best case, that’s the ceiling.  Byron has a decent jump shot, good hands, and the ability to score around the basket.  If he can continue to improve those skills, while improving his decision making and aggression (for one of the Bobcats best offensive options, he has a tendency to disappear for long stretches – that’s on him and the point guards, but still).

Worst case:  Boris Diaw.  Not in that he’ll over-pass and turn down open looks.   But in that he’ll never fully realize his potential.  Boris Diaw is a very talented basketball player who does not have the mindset to most effectively utilize those skills.  Byron has a very different skill set and physical attributes – but right now, he does not utilize those to their fullest.  Byron is a fairly mobile 7-footer who takes predominantly jump shots and does not influence games defensively.  He can – but if he never adjusts and learns, he’ll be another Boris Diaw, who was decent/good, but could have been even more.

Jared: I honestly can’t say I’ve watched enough of him to really inform readers of a Bobcats site, but I think he has promise. Though I believe that promise would increase three-fold if Charlotte fans start calling him B-Mulls.

3- PICK IT: Pacers, right?

Spencer: Pacers. Predictable matchup of a bunch of guys (Indiana) who will sell out on the glass and get tons of second chance points/points in the paint against a bunch of guys (Charlotte) who won’t be able to be physical enough to last 4 quarters. 90-80 Pacers.

Brett: Did the Pacers play a triple overtime game last night?  No?  Then, yeah – I’m taking the Pacers.

Jared: Indeed. Probably by a lot. The Pacers have lost their last two games, both at home, both in overtime. There is no way this team wants to head into the All-Star break on a three-game skid so the Bobcats could get run out of the gym if this team shows up firing on all cubes. (Why does it always have to be cylinders?) If Indiana puts on the defensive clamps and also starts burying threes, which they often do at home (they hit 39.6% from behind the arc in The Fieldhouse compared to a paltry 30.3% on the road), Charlotte may as well just pack their bags for the break at halftime.