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Bobcats vs Clippers Preview: 2-on-2 style with ClipperBlog

When: 7 PM ET

Where: Live at Time Warner Cable Arena

The Matchup:

Record Offensive
Charlotte 7-13 98.2 (26) 105.9 (27) 95.8 (8)
Los Angeles Clippers 15-6 107.2 (4) 99.1 (7) 94.6 (15)

Previous Meetings:

Charlotte: Tyrus Thomas (OUT)
Los Angeles Clippers: Chauncey Billups (OUT)

Starting Lineups

Bobcats Clippers
PG Kemba Walker Chris Paul
SG Ramon Sessions Jamal Crawford
SF Michael Kidd-Gilchrist Matt Barnes
PF Byron Mullens Blake Griffin
C Brendan Haywood DeAndre Jordan
6th Man Jeffery Taylor Caron Butler

3-on-3 TrueHoop Network Fred Katz (Twitter- @FredKatz) of TrueHoop blog ‘ClipperBlog‘ joins me to preview tonight’s game between the Cats and Clips in Charlotte. These two teams couldn’t enter tonight’s tilt going in more opposite directions. The Bobcats come into tonight losers of eight straight games while the Clippers are currently riding a seven game winning streak. Katz and I go 2-on-2 and try to break this one down.

1- STATS: The Bobcats rank in the bottom five of the league in both offensive and defensive efficiency. The Clips are top-10 in both of those categories. Without reading too much in between the lines, the Clippers are a much more efficient team than Charlotte. How can the Bobcats turn the ship and get more out of their offensive possessions against a solid Clippers defense and how can LAC continue to limit their opponents effectiveness?

Spencer: The Bobcats are allowing teams to pull down more offensive rebounds than any other team in the league. 12.9% of defensive rebound opportunities are ending in offensive rebounds for Charlotte’s opponents (per NBA.com). This simply puts more pressure on the defense to get another stop and forces exertion of more energy in getting that stop. On this same idea, the Bobcats are forcing teams to take a lot of 3-pointers- 24/48 min played, to be exact. That’s second only to Miami. What this tells us is that the Bobcats are forcing teams to settle for outside shots because of their overloading help defense style, but are getting beat to long rebounds and loose balls. The way Charlotte stays in this game tonight is to win the hustle factor- want the basketball more than the Clippers when it comes off the rim. Sometimes, it actually can be that simple- just want it more than your opponent. So, the answer to the question is that Charlotte can add more value to their offensive success by limiting their opponents’ second chances.

Fred Katz (ClipperBlog.com): They need to make threes. The Clippers’ defense has struggled on the perimeter of late. If guys like Ben Gordon and Byron (or is it B.J.?) Mullens starting raining in the long-range shots, it may be enough to keep the Bobcats in the game.

2- OPINION: Where does the key performance have to come from if the Bobcats expect to pull the upset tonight? From the Clips?

Spencer: Ramon Sessions. His minutes have been down in the past 5 games (22.4 MPG), but that’s probably because he has been far less effective when on the floor. Sessions is shooting just 33.3% in the past 5 and averaging 10.2 PPG. For as much as the Bobcats use Ramon on the offensive end, he has to be somewhat effective in order for Charlotte to find more efficiency scoring the ball. I think if Sessions can break out of his shooting slump tonight, the Bobcats can be right in it come the 4th.

Fred: The Clippers tend to go as their bench goes. When Jamal Crawford is hitting his shots and Eric Bledsoe is wreaking havoc in the backcourt, this team can appear unstoppable. But when Crawford is having one of his high-volume, low-efficiency nights and Bledsoe is heavy on turnovers and light on minutes, guys like Ronny Turiaf, Lamar Odom, and Ryan Hollins become more exposed.

3- PICK IT: The Bobcats stare their 9th straight loss in the face tonight, as the Clippers look to make it 8 wins in a row. Everyone is taking LAC here, right?

Spencer: Yes, Clippers. Charlotte has clearly regressed to the mean and is now showing the NBA world more of what they probably really are. That being said, this is still a much better team than one year ago and I do expect them to compete with a very good Clippers team. Going back to what I said in the first question- Charlotte HAS TO LIMIT the Clips second chances on the offensive end if they expect to have any chance. 105-95 Clippers.

Fred: I’ve got to take the Clippers. Even though they are playing in a road back-to-back and their fourth game in five nights, they should be plenty rested considering no starter played more than 30 minutes in either of their two previous games before winning in Chicago last night. Pair that with Blake Griffin’s recent hot streak (25.7 points per 36 minutes on 61.3 percent shooting over his past five games) and L.A. looks in good shape for this one.