Who: Charlotte Bobcats vs Memphis Grizzlies
What: NBA Basketball – Bobcats Home Game
When: 7:30 PM ET
Where: Live at Time Warner Cable Arena
|Charlotte||4-3||100.7 (14)||102.9 (23)||95.3 (10)|
|Memphis||7-1||105.6 (5)||98.5 (10)||95.4 (9)|
Charlotte: Gerald Henderson (OUT)
Memphis: Darrell Arthur (OUT)
|PG||Kemba Walker||Mike Conley Jr.|
|SG||Jeffery Taylor||Tony Allen|
|SF||Michael Kidd-Gilchrist||Rudy Gay|
|PF||Byron Mullens||Zach Randolph|
|C||Brendan Haywood||Marc Gasol|
|6th Man||Ramon Sessions||Marreese Speights|
Tonight the Bobcats will face their toughest test so far this season when the 7-1 Memphis Grizzles come into town off a win over the previously undefeated New York Knicks last night. Charlotte certainly seems to be overmatched tonight against the monster frontcourt duo of Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph, to go along with the dynamic wing Rudy Gay. All three are having great seasons to this point. Good news for the Bobcats is that they’ll get the Grizzles tonight on the second night of a back-to-back, so is there some hope? Joshua Coleman, from ’3 Shades of Blue’ TrueHoop blog, and I preview it here for you.
1- STATS: Memphis ranks in the top-10 of the league in Defensive Efficiency, Offensive Efficiency, Turnover Rate, PACE and Rebounding Rate. Needless to say, the Grizzlies are solid across the board. Charlotte has the home court advantage tonight, but what else (Stats wise) will they have to exploit in order to compete tonight?
Spencer: It’s going to be very tough to prevent Memphis from finding their stride tonight because of the fact that they do so many things well. The Bobcats will need to press Memphis quite a bit tonight, preventing them from getting into their half court sets quickly and getting the ball into the post with Gasol and Randolph. Creating turnovers in the full court press will be a must for Charlotte to compete tonight.
Joshua Coleman (3SOB.com): Fastbreak points and three-point percentage will be two key stats to watch tonight. The Bobcats are young, talented, and athletic, so they will have to find a way to make the most of that by getting out ahead of the defense as much as possible to pile up as many fastbreak points as possible. Charlotte isn’t a good perimeter shooting team either, while Memphis has improved markedly in that area, so they need to close out on the Grizzlies’ shooters while knocking down the open looks they get for themselves. Another one to pay attention to is free throw attempts. The team that gets to the line more often in this game should have a good chance to secure the victory.
2- OPINION: Mike Conley vs. Kemba Walker. If you’re starting a franchise today, which guy are you taking as your PG. Obviously, consider the age difference and experience as a factor, but as you examine the stats, the two really aren’t so different. Conley (11.9 PPG, 5.4 APG, 2.8 RPG- career); Kemba (12.8 PPG, 4.5 APG, 3.6 RPG- career).
Spencer: Conley. It’s close, though. If Kemba continues to progress the way he has so far this season, he’s going to end up being a very special player. I love the headiness of Conley and the fact that he fits the mold of a true NBA PG. That’s something Kemba may never morph into, but his ability to score and get to the rim is undeniable.
Josh: I think it depends on what you want your point guard to do for you. Conley is the more traditional PG, while Kemba is the more prolific scorer. Certainly, I’ve watched every game Conley has played in, so I have seen him mature and evolve from a speedy, but timid player into a guy that has confidence and every skill needed to be a top-flight floor general. Most people would take Kemba Walker since he is a guy scoring nearly 20 ppg — and I wouldn’t fault them for that. Stats are a funny thing though, since Kemba is obviously the best player on his team, while Mike is usually the 4th option in Memphis. I like my point guard to be a distributor first and a scorer second, so I’d lean towards Conley and his pure point mentality, as well as his much better outside shot at this point in their respective careers.
3- PICK IT: Memphis enters tonight’s contest as the aforementioned best team in the NBA, but the Bobcats will get the Grizz on the back end of back-to-back. Does Charlotte have any chance tonight, or will Memphis cruise?
Spencer: Charlotte definitely has a chance tonight, but I’m going to base that only on the fact that Memphis will have tired legs tonight and the Bobcats come in on 3 days rest. Charlotte has to limit turnovers, at least compete on the glass and make it difficult for Memphis to get into their high-low post sets by making them work on short shot clocks. That asking a lot, but it’s what you have to do to defeat one of the better teams in the league. Haywood and Biyombo are going to be key for the Bobcats tonight to be physical defensively, use fouls wisely and REBOUND the basketball.
Josh: Actually, I think Charlotte has a very good shot of winning this game. Memphis is coming off a big, emotional win after toppling the Knicks from the ranks of the unbeaten last night. They had to travel late last night, and this will be a back-to-back game played on the road as a result, which could lead to them being physically and mentally tired. Add in Charlotte’s advantage in youth and athleticism, and you have all the hallmarks of an upset. They will need to limit turnovers through all 48 minutes and play smart, team basketball. If Mullens and Haywood can keep Z-Bo and Gasol from controlling the paint and grabbing every rebound, then I think the Bobcats have an excellent chance of extending their own winning streak.