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||11-39||98.2 (29)||108.3 (30)||94.5 (12)|
|Boston||27-23||100.4 (21)||99.5 (7)||93.7 (18)|
Boston: Rajon Rondo (OUT)
|PG||Kemba Walker||Avery Bradley|
|SG||Gerald Henderson||Courtney Lee|
|SF||Michael Kidd-Gilchrist||Paul Pierce|
|PF||Byron Mullens||Brandon Bass|
|C||Bismack Biyombo||Kevin Garnett|
|6th Man||Ramon Sessions||Jeff Green|
The Bobcats haven’t beaten the Celtics since March of 2011 in Boston. Tonight, the Celtics will show up in Charlotte with whatever legs they have left after last night’s dramatic 3 OT win over Denver. Opportunity for the Bobcats?
1- STATS: In the first meeting between these two in Boston Hakim Warrick was the leading scorer for the Bobcats, so clearly things are different now. 42-34 rebounding advantage to Boston seemed to turn the tide in their direction. Battle on the boards make the difference for either side tonight as well?
Spencer: Neither of these teams are good on the glass. In fact, they both rank bottom-3 in the entire league in Rebounding Rate. That being said, yes, I do believe that the glass is going to be a priority for both teams and always is. Boston will likely be tired and prone to giving up boards/loose balls they’d usually go after due to last night’s thrilling 3 OT win over the Nuggets. I do believe the rebounding is the key stat tonight and also believe Charlotte out-rebounds the Celtics tonight — it’ll give them A CHANCE to win this game in the 4th.
Brett: I’ll take turnovers, actually. The Bobcats need to create some easy offense for themselves, and nothing works better for that than transition opportunities. As the Celtics struggle with turnovers, the Bobcats need to capitalize to have a chance for the win.
Greg: I think how the Bobcats handle Boston’s attack will be the biggest factor. Charlotte tends to get blown out by teams with elite offenses, and the Celtics have been very hot since Rajon Rondo tore his ACL. They have an offensive rating of 106.0 in their last five games, which is a significant increase over their season average of 102.5. I wouldn’t argue that they’re “better” without Rondo, but they seem to be clicking right now in a way that doesn’t mean good things for the Bobcats.
2- KG: It’s rumor season and every team has them — Boston’s involve their 17 year veteran who has led them to the holy grail of NBA basketball. Garnett isn’t going anywhere, right?
Spencer: Right. I don’t really understand why another team would take a chance on Garnett, because it’s clear he only wants to be in Boston. The only rumored trade that makes some sense would be Garnett going to the Clippers due to the fact that he has a house in LA and apparently his wife is from there. Not to mention he’d be going to a title contending teams as well, but through all this, why would the Clippers give up DeAndre Jordan and Eric Bledsoe (two of the biggest young assets in league) for a 36-year old who ultimately wants to simply stay put in Boston?
Brett: Garnett isn’t going anywhere he doesn’t want to, thanks to his no-trade clause. Considering KG angled himself into a better situation in Boston, after stagnating in Minnesota, I don’t see a reason the team would take Garnett off the table, if trading him would improve their future positioning. As for the Celtics’ other veteran leader, Paul Pierce – I can’t see Boston moving The Truth unless he asks to be moved to a contending team. In reality, I think both KG and Pierce would prefer to stay where they are and try to prove they can still contend in place.
Greg: I think it would be hard to justify, considering they’ve won their last seven games. A move like that would have been easier if the team had gone into a tailspin after Rondo went down. They play six of their next seven on the road, though, and how they fare during that stretch could determine how they handle the trade deadline.
3- PICK IT: Everyone taking Boston?
Spencer: I am. It’s going to be a close game simply because Boston played in a 3 OT game last night, but the Bobcats give me absolutely no reason to believe they can pull out a win late in a game. 100-95 Boston.
Brett: Yes, I’m taking the Celtics. They’re not a better team without Rajon Rondo, even if they are playing at a very high level so far. But even without Rondo, they’re better than Charlotte. If Dunlap plays a small lineup, with one of the Bobcats smaller guards (Gordon, Sessions) trying to match up with Paul Pierce, Pierce will exploit the mismatch, similar to Kobe the other night. Since small ball has been the course of action in crunch time lately, I wouldn’t like the Bobcats ability to pull out a close one (and that’s optimistically assuming this stays close).
Greg: There’s potential for a trap game here, as the Celtics are on the second night of a back-to-back. They’ve handled those pretty well so far, though, with a 6-6 record in games with no rest. Charlotte tends to play to their opponent’s level, at least, so we can hope for a competitive game.