Who: Charlotte Bobcats vs Boston Celtics
What: NBA Basketball – Bobcats Home Game
When: 7:00 PM ET
Where: Live at Time Warner Cable Arena, Charlotte, NC
|Charlotte||13-50||97.2 (29)||109.3 (30)||94.3 (14)|
|Boston||34-28||100.2 (22)||99.2 (5)||93.7 (19)|
Charlotte: Ramon Sessions (OUT)
Boston: Rajon Rondo (OUT), Jared Sullinger (OUT)
|PG||Kemba Walker||Avery Bradley|
|SG||Gerald Henderson||Courtney Lee|
|SF||Michael Kidd-Gilchrist||Paul Pierce|
|PF||Josh McRoberts||Brandon Bass|
|C||Bismack Biyombo||Kevin Garnett|
|6th Man||Ben Gordon||Jeff Green|
1- STATS: Generally, the Bobcats play better against teams that slow down the PACE like Boston. The Celtics are 19th in PACE (93.7) and just 22nd in Offensive Efficiency (100.2). Is Kemba due for a big game against a Celtics team will attempt to corral him in the half court?
Spencer: Avery Bradley has done wonders for the Celtics defensive since the Rondo injury, so my inclination is to say no. That being said, I do believe the Cats’ can get out in transition and generate some easy offense against Boston- it’s the strategy you must have against a stingy half court defense when you have a speedy PG like Kemba. Easiest way to beat a good half court defense is to not allow them to get set. Kemba isn’t shy to the idea of pushing the tempo and I believe that’ll be his main priority tonight. I’m going out on a limb and declaring that Kemba will get the better of Bradley tonight, posting a 20 point & 8 assist performance.
Greg: It probably depends on where his shots come from: if he’s taking it to the rack as opposed to settling for jumpers, he should do fine. Boston allows the lowest FG% in the league on mid-range shots, at 35.5%, but on shots in the restricted area, they’re around the middle of the pack. That’s likely where Kemba will need to focus if he wants to have the biggest impact.
Mathew: No. Two words. Avery Bradley. Since Rajon Rondo went down with his season-ending injury the Celtics have posted a 14-5 record. Much of their success has been due to defensive improvements, which Avery Bradley has contributed to significantly. Kemba may find it difficult to get into the lane tonight, which could in turn result in an ugly offensive performance for the Bobcats.
2- MISSING SESSIONS: In two games against Boston this season, one of which Ramon won with a jumper in the final seconds, he averaged 17.5 PPG on 50% from the field. How much will his absence be felt tonight?
Spencer: Ramon was good to have against the Celtics in the half court because of the fact that he was so willing to just put his head down and sprint at the rim, looking to draw contact. On the season Sessions has averaged 5.7 FTA/game, but in two games against Boston he was averaging 7 FTA/game. Executing offensively in the half court is going to be tougher against a defense like Boston without Sessions, for sure.
Greg: Ramon’s ability to draw fouls is useful against slow-paced, defense-focused teams, so they’ll definitely miss him in Boston. The team had 30 free throw attempts in their win against the Celtics, and eight of those came from Ramon. They’ll need agressive inside play from their guards if they hope to make up his production.
Mathew: Largely. Ramon is arguably the best offensive player on the Bobcats so his absence is certainly going to be felt. Ben Gordon will continue to attempt and fill the void but we all know how well that has gone this season. Get well soon, Ramon.
3- PICK IT: Celtics or Bobcats? History tells us this is a winnable game, as Charlotte has already defeated Boston once this season in the ‘Cable Box’.
Spencer: Celtics. Boston is now rolling without Rondo in the lineup and Doc Rivers seems to believe it’s because they are sharing the ball so much more. The Bobcats are a lost club. At this point in the season and Coach Dunlap still has no idea about his rotation- that’s a bad sign. 100-85 Celtics.
Greg: Celtics. As encouraging as that last win was, it featured Byron Mullens going off for 25 points on 10-of-16 shooting and grabbing 18 rebounds. They’ll be lucky if their entire frontcourt combines for that kind of production tonight.
Mathew: Celtics. The Bobcats are amidst a 10-game slide in which they’ve been outscored by a combined 215 points. Not good. The team historically gets up for big games at home but I’m going to side with recent events over past performance. We just witnessed what OKC did to the Bobcats at home this past Friday night.