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Bobcats @ Raptors Preview: 3-on-3 with Raptors Republic

Who: Toronto Raptors vs Charlotte Bobcats

What: NBA Basketball – Raptors Home Game

When: 7:00 PM ET

Where: Live at  Air Canada Centre

The Matchup:

Record Offensive
Toronto 13-22 102.6 (12) 104 (23) 92.8 (25)
Charlotte 9-25 99.2 (26) 108.1 (30) 95.1 (8)

Previous Meetings:
2012/11/21 – 97-98 – RecapBoxscore

Toronto: Terrence Ross (Probable), Andrea Bargnani (OUT), Linas Kleiza (OUT)
Charlotte: Byron Mullens (OUT)

Starting Lineups

Raptors Bobcats
PG Jose Calderon Kemba Walker
SG DeMar DeRozan Jeffery Taylor
SF Landry Fields Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
PF Ed Davis Hakim Warrick
C Amir Johnson Bismack Biyombo
6th Man Terrence Ross Ramon Sessions

3-on-3 TrueHoop Network 1- STATS: In the first meeting of the season between this two the Bobcats came out on top by 1. The two sides were nearly identical, statistically, back on November 21 of last year. At the current juncture in the season, both Charlotte and Toronto value the ball and both rank in the top-5 in the league in turnover ratio. The Bobcats have been much worse in that category as of late, so if they continue down that path will it be enough for the Raptors to even up the season series?

Greg: It wouldn’t help. The Raptors have been playing very well recently, and have a 9-7 home record, so Charlotte could use any edge they can get. That said, limiting their own turnovers doesn’t seem to have too strong of an effect on whether the Bobcats win or lose — they’ve turned the ball over more in their nine wins (14.8 per 48) than in their 25 losses (13.8 per 48). Forcing opponent giveaways (and defensive play in general) seems to have a bigger impact. Charlotte forces 16.2 turnovers per 48 in wins vs. 13.3 in their losses. Those opponent turnovers lead to easy buckets on the break, where the Bobcats thrive.

Brett: From HoopData.com, I’m just skimming over the Raptor’s recent games – and they’re winning by outscoring their opposition.  Duh, right?  Well, what I mean is they’re putting up points very efficiently to get their wins, they’re not locking teams down.  In their recent wins, they’ve posted offensive efficiencies of 102.3, 117.2,139.8, 107.2, 103.3, 118.3, 128.4…  Anything above 110 is an outstanding offensive performance – and they’ve been doing that semi-regularly.  Controlling turnovers has been part of that success, as the Raptors have posted a better turnover rate than their opponents in 13 of their last 15 outings.  So, if they keep their turnovers down tonight (and the offense stays sharp), the Raps get the win.

Blake Murphy (Raptors Republic): The biggest thing I remember from the first meeting is the no-call on the final possession that the NBA corrected after the fact. That aside, since that meeting the teams have gone on very different paths, with the Raptors improving and the Bobcats taking a step back. Turnover ratio will mostly play a part in the fact that the Raptors don’t want to let Charlotte, a strong open-court team, get to run. The Raptors rely a bit on forcing turnovers but not a great deal, so it’s more important for them to protect the ball then force turnovers.

2- OPINION: Terrence Ross vs Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. The two have both showed how valuable they can be in this league so far this season. MKG has proved that his motor will adapt to the NBA and scoring around the basket will always be one of his strengths. Toronto, on the other hand, has somewhat surprising top-10 pick Terrence Ross who has begun to find his stride a bit. Compare the two and give an assessment on who has the higher ceiling.

Greg: Both players have great height and athleticism for the wing, giving the teams versatility in their lineups. Ross has spent the majority of his minutes at shooting guard so far, but when he bulks up a bit, he should be able to slide over to the three. MKG can match up defensively with every position but center. In the long term, a lot depends on how they develop. Kidd-Gilchrist has a very clear edge right now; his rebounding and efficient shooting have easily translated from his college play to the pros. Ross, on the other hand, looks a little more like a rookie. He had a reputation as a good shooter coming out of school, but he’s only making 35 percent from mid-range and 33 percent on three pointers. If Ross develops that skill, he’ll have a chance to make the debate more interesting, but I’d still give the edge to MKG for his overall versatility.

Brett: The Raptors appear to have a solid shooting guard on their hands – and both Terrence and DeMar DeRozan have the size to play some at the 2.  But, Ross’ utility in Toronto is limited with him behind someone to whom the Raptors have committed significant money.  Ross so far has also shown limited abilities beyond his scoring – not much in rebounding or assists, and his defensive numbers aren’t great either.  MKG is a strong rebounder for a 3, an aggressive defender, and a passable passer at this stage – and he’s who I want the Cats to build around from the current roster.

Blake: MKG definitely has a higher ceiling. If everything breaks right, MKG could be a supercharged Gerald Wallace. Ross has great potential as a 3s-and-D man, but he’s not going to be an All Star, which MKG might eventually be. Right now, MKG has made better use of his body for rebounding and defense purposes, but you can definitely see the potential in that same regard for Ross. I LOVE what I’ve seen from Terrence and am much higher on him now than in June, but in terms of upside, there’s a reason MKG went 2nd overall.

3- PICK IT: Toronto is 9-3 in their past 12 games while the Bobcats continue to win a random game here and there. Optimistically think, Charlotte has won 2 straight road games — will they make it 3 tonight?

Greg: I actually think the Bobcats match up very well in this one. Toronto could struggle to take advantage of Charlotte’s weak spots: The Raptors don’t crash the offensive boards, ranking 25th in ORB%; they don’t shoot three-pointers very efficiently, averaging 34 percent and ranking 25th; and they tend to foul a lot, coming in at dead last in FT/FGA. Their improved play recently means those numbers are trending upwards, but I think Charlotte can still take an ugly one.

Brett: I take the Raptors, largely for what I covered in point 1.  They’re a good offense who has been playing ever better lately, and that’s something the Bobcats struggle against.  In the Bobcats favor, the Raptors are one of the best offensive squads Charlotte has gotten a win against, so it is possible.  But I’ll take the dinosaurs.

Blake: Nope, Raptors should clean this one up. While the schedule has been light, that 9-3 Raptors stretch has just one bad loss on it (to Sacramento, with the others coming to the Spurs and Thunder). They handled a stumbling Sixers team on Wednesday and should do the same to Charlotte Friday, I hope. Maybe it’s homerism, but the Raptors have lost very few of these “should win” games of late.