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Bobcats vs Hawks Preview: QCH 3-on-3

Who: Charlotte Bobcats vs Atlanta Hawks

What: NBA Basketball – Bobcats Home Game

When: 7:00 PM ET

Where: Live at Time Warner Cable Arena

The Matchup:

Record Offensive
Charlotte 10-31 98.9 (27) 108.2 (29) 94.6 (11)
Atlanta 23-18 101.3 (17) 100.8 (9) 93.7 (20)

Previous Meetings:
2012/11/23 – 91-101 – Boxscore

2012/11/28 – 91-94 – Boxscore

2012/12/13 – 90-111 – Boxscore

Charlotte: Byron Mullens (OUT)
Atlanta: Devin Harris (Probable), DeShawn Stevenson (Questionable), Lou Williams (OUT)

Starting Lineups

Bobcats Hawks
PG Kemba Walker Jeff Teague
SG Gerald Henderson John Jenkins
SF Michael Kidd-Gilchrist Josh Smith
PF Hakim Warrick Al Horford
C Bismack Biyombo Zaza Pachulia
6th Man Ramon Sessions Kyle Korver

3-on-3 TrueHoop Network 1- STATS: The Bobcats have shot 39.9% and committed 15.3 Turnovers/game against the Hawks this season in 3 meetings. Atlanta has shot 49.8% from the field and 44.6% from 3 in this season against the Bobcats. It’s fairly obviously that the Hawks don’t have too much of an issue getting high quality shot against Charlotte — what defensive adjustments can the Bobcats make to change this?

Spencer: Kyle Korver and Devin Harris, combined, have made 15 3-pointers against the Bobcats in 3 games this season. Korver and Harris are the kind of players that will kill any momentum that you have with long range daggers — Charlotte has to know where these two are at all times tonight and play far less help D off these guys when they’re spaced on the weak side of the floor. If the Cats do elect to over help off these shooters, then close out with a purpose.

Brett: The Hawks size and skill in the post with Josh Smith and Al Horford is very difficult to counter.  The Bobcats like to collapse down on the paint to help and create a crowd, but that leaves the perimeter open on kick-outs.  That’s a problem against the Hawks, as they are 6th in the league in 3 point shooting, at 38%.  And their wing players are pretty much all good shooters, as they have Korver (45%), Morrow (38%), Stevenson (39%), and Teague (36.5%) shooting above the league average of 35.6%.  I guess what I’m saying to the Bobcats is don’t tell them to beat you from 3 – they will.

Greg: The Bobcats had some success last year against the Magic by sticking to the shooters and letting Biyombo handle Dwight Howard; they could employ similar man coverage here and let Biz and Warrick/Adrien chase the Hawks’ big men around. Focusing more on the trap and their high-pressure defense could pay off, too — the Hawks are 28th in the league in TOV%, and recently lost Lou Williams, their best ballhandler. If they can win the turnover battle by a significant margin, it would go a long way.

2- JOSH SMITH: The front office in Atlanta has been rumored to be shopping Josh Smith as this is the final year of his contract and the trade deadline approaches. That would seemingly be true if the organization doesn’t plan on trying to re-sign him after the season — just over a week ago, head coach Larry Drew had to kick Smith out of a practice and proceeded to suspend him for the Hawks next game. Is there any deal that Cho & Higgins could conjure up that would have you welcoming Smith to Charlotte with open arms?

Spencer: Not really. Unless they were willing to take Tyrus back and allow us to keep all of our youth — unlikely. All that aside, Josh Smith is not the kind of player that needs to come to Charlotte. He’s a great talent with an unlimited ceiling, but his attitude and work ethic have always been in serious question. He wouldn’t be happy in the Queen City and would likely make the rest of the franchise feel the pain with him. Smith, like DeMarcus Cousins, is the kind of talent that I believe the Bobcats should stay away from in this rebuilding effort.

Brett: A talented big who can impact the game at both the offensive and defensive ends?  And is still only 27?  I could be talked into him wearing a Bobcats jersey.  And the only players I’d be protecting in making the deal are MKG and Kemba.  Bismack, Diop, and the right to swap first round picks for Smith – the salaries work.  The Bobcats would want to verify with Smith that he’d re-sign here following the deal, and having the right to swap picks would keep the Bobcats in the draft, just at a lower spot.

Greg: I like Josh Smith quite a bit, but I don’t know that he’d be the best target for the team right now. His contract expires after this year, which means that Charlotte would have to pony up a significant contract to keep him around. He’d have a good chance of living up to a deal, but as good as Smith is, I don’t know that the Bobcats are ready to commit big money to anyone yet. He’d cap them out in 2014 and limit their flexibility for the next few years. If they did decide he was worth chasing? I’d probably build a deal around Biyombo, Gordon and the team’s extra draft picks. Expiring contracts likely wouldn’t appeal to Atlanta, as they only have 21 million on the books for next year. Gordon would help make up for the loss of Lou Williams, and Biyombo would replace some of Josh Smith’s shotblocking ability.

3- PICK IT: Atlanta goes for the season sweep of the Bobcats tonight in the Queen City. Will Charlotte salvage their pride against this bunch and take one this season?

Spencer: I like Atlanta to complete the sweep tonight. I see a serious rebounding discrepancy coming in this one — the trio of Horford, Smith and Pachulia will give the Cats fits on the boards leading to lots of second chances for the Hawks. Charlotte just isn’t good enough defensively to give teams second chances, but if they don’t make it a priority to check bodies when shot’s go up tonight, then they’ll do just that. Hawks 94-86.

Brett: The Bobcats have lost by 3, 10, and 23 to the Hawks – and in the game where they only lost by 3, Ben Gordon made 7 of 10 shots from long range.  The Hawks as currently constructed present a real challenge for the Bobcats and I expect that to be the case tonight.  Atlanta’s combination of offensive rebounding and 3-point shooting will be too much for Charlotte.

Greg: I don’t see the Bobcats standing much of a chance in this one. Horford has lit them up this year, averaging 18 points, nine rebounds and just under four assists. Add to that Atlanta’s very good three-point shooting, and it looks like another bad loss. Then again, I assumed Houston would run Charlotte out of the building on Monday, and that ended up being a close game. Optimism!