Who: Houston Rockets vs Charlotte Bobcats
What: NBA Basketball – Rockets Home Game
When: 8:00 PM ET
Where: Live at Toyota Center
|Houston||25-23||105.2 (8)||103.6 (19)||98.8 (1)|
|Charlotte||11-34||98.5 (29)||108.1 (30)||94.5 (13)|
Charlotte: Byron Mullens (Game time decision), Tyrus Thomas (Game time decision)
|PG||Jeremy Lin||Kemba Walker|
|SG||James Harden||Gerald Henderson|
|SF||Chandler Parsons||Michael Kidd-Gilchrist|
|PF||Marcus Morris||Jeff Adrien|
|C||Omer Asik||Bismack Biyombo|
|6th Man||Patrick Patterson||Ramon Sessions|
1- STATS: Less than two weeks ago the Bobcats led the game against Houston through 3 quarters and seemingly had the game in control. Ah, but a story featuring a 4th quarter and a Charlotte lead never ends happily ever after. James Harden scored 12 points in the final period and went 10-10 from the line. Assume that the Bobcats are in good shape going into second half tomorrow. How do they corral Harden?
Spencer: It’s something called gap defense. I’ve mentioned it before when showing how badly the Bobcats defended Kyrie Irving in a late game situation. It consists of the idea that off the ball defenders are willing to jump into the driving lanes, or gaps, and stop dribble penetration. This is something that I would imagine Coach Dunlap stresses because of the fact that he has an over-helping style of defense that focuses on keeping the ball away from the rim. So, when Harden goes to throw himself towards the painted area tonight the Bobcats guards must be willing to jump to help on him. This will cause Charlotte to leave some open shooters, but that’s where quick defensive rotations and inspired closeouts come into play.
2- GREG SMITH: This is a 22-year old that has surprised quite a few since breaking onto the scene last year (8 games last season). He’s averaging 5.5 PPG & 4.1 RPG in just 14.1 MPG this season. Is this a player the Bobcats front office should have on the radar closing in on the trade deadline. What kind of deal could get him to Charlotte?
Spencer: Smith is absolutely the type of young piece that the Bobcats need to grab. In a 26 games while playing in the D-League last season he shot a ridiculous 66.8% from the field. There seem to be some question marks about his motor, but the kid can score the ball in the post and has an extremely wide frame. I think I’m probably just a sucker for the idea of Charlotte having an offensive minded 5, but a deal that included Biyombo for Smith and either a pick/cash considerations would be something I’d ponder on. To me, at this point, Biyombo has morphed into a trade asset for Charlotte. Could he be in a Charlotte for a long time? Absolutely, but I promise that Cho & Higgins will listen to just about any offer that starts with Biz’ name.
3- PICK IT: The Bobcats got Houston on a 7-game losing streak back on 1/21 in Charlotte and had every opportunity to make it 8 straight. The Rockets have gone 3-2 since then — any chance Bobcats make it 3-3 tonight?
Spencer: I like the Bobcats in this matchup because I think Kemba can get whatever he wants against Jeremy Lin. In fact, I don’t believe that Houston has anyone that can stay in front of Kemba. If Charlotte can limit how effective the Rockets are at shooting the 3, they have a good chance. Going out on a limb here — Bobcats take this one 105-102.