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Bobcats @ Trail Blazers Preview: QCH 2-on-2

Who: Portland Trail Blazers vs Charlotte Bobcats

What: NBA Basketball – Home Game

When: Monday, March 4, 10 p.m. ET

Where: Live at the Rose Garden, Portland, Ore.

The Matchup:

Record Offensive
Portland Trail Blazers 27-31 105.0 (15) 107.8 (24) 91.4(18)
Charlotte Bobcats 13-46 100.5 (29) 111.3 (29) 91.8 (15)

Previous Meetings:
Monday, Dec. 3: 118-112, OT

Portland Trail Blazers: Elliot Williams, OUT

1- FORGET STATS: What’s been the hardest part about watching Charlotte play in these past two games and what must change in order to stop the bleeding?

Greg: Even when the effort is there, it’s sobering to see just how far along the rebuild is. Nuking the team and building from the bottom up is the path the Bobcats decided to take, and its one I still agree with. But it’s easy to think in terms of the best-case scenario, and ignore the reality of a plan like that. A youth movement rarely brings immediate success; even Oklahoma City, which had as close to the best-case scenario as you can find, went 43-121 over the first two years of the Durant era.

As far as making changes, I’m not sure that there’s anything major they can do at this point. The blowouts have been hard to take, but they have some easier stretches in March. Play the young guys, stay positive, and keep an eye on the future.

Mathew: Abuse of the front court. If you weren’t already aware, the past two games proved just how deficient the Bobcats front court is. To be physically man-handled on the boards is akin to a football team simply lining up and running it down an opponent’s throat. They’re probably the two most frustrating things to witness in each sport. Coach Dunlap tried his hand at allotting more minutes to McRoberts and Diop against the Kings, but it was all for naught. How to improve? There may be slight strategic adjustments to be made, but any improvement will most likely come by way of increased effort. The Bobcats are by no means a formidable rebounding club; however, the effort put forth the past two games has simply been unacceptable.

2- INDIVIDUAL: Who’s been the most frustrating Bobcat to watch in the last two 30+ point losses?

Greg: Can I give a group award? Like Mathew pointed out, the frontcourt as a whole has been abysmal. The Bobcats have been outrebounded 122-55 over the past two games. There’s been a real lack of effort to box out, defend in the post, or work for better shots. No one player has seen enough minutes to be singled out, since the team gets into such big holes early.

Mathew: Biyombo. He logged only six minutes last night after an eighteen minute effort against Utah, all the while managing to pull down only a pedestrian three rebounds. Not to mention his inactivity on the offensive end (two field-goal attempts). I don’t want to hear about him being on the Bobcats untouchable list anymore.

3- COMPETE: Will the Bobcats keep this one within a 20-point margin?

Greg: I’ll be optimistic and say yes. They took the Blazers to overtime in their last meeting, and Kemba’s 22 points and seven assists were a big part of that. Damian Lillard has been amazing on the offensive end, but his defense is still lacking and Walker should be able to take advantage. If the rest of the team shows up, I think the blowout streak ends tonight. (Note: “Blowout streak” might be the most depressing phrase I’ve written this year.)

Mathew: Yes. After the past two performances I would like to think so. The gap between the Blazers and the Bobcats is not twenty-plus points so if the team fails to keep it close you can only point to effort.