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Bobcats vs Heat Preview: One burning question

Who: Charlotte Bobcats vs Miami Heat

What: NBA Basketball – Bobcats Home Game

When: 8:00 PM ET — ESPN

Where: Live at Time Warner Cable Arena

The Matchup:

Record Offensive
Charlotte 18-57 98.1 (28) 109.3 (30) 94.2 (15)
Miami 58-16 110.5 (1) 100.7 (8) 93.0 (22)

Previous Meetings:
2012/12/26 – 92-105 – RecapBoxscore

Charlotte: Byron Mullens (OUT), Ramon Sessions (OUT)
Miami: Mario Chalmers (Game-time decision), Lebron James (OUT), Dwayne Wade (OUT), Ray Allen (OUT)

Starting Lineups

Bobcats Heat
PG Kemba Walker Norris Cole
SG Gerald Henderson Mike Miller
SF Michael Kidd-Gilchrist Rashard Lewis
PF Josh McRoberts Udonis Haslem
C Bismack Biyombo Chris Bosh
6th Man Ben Gordon Shane Battier

— Lebron James, Dwayne Wade and Ray Allen are all expected to sit tonight for Miami. Vegas has the line at Even, but does the absence of so many vital Heat members make this a realistic opportunity for the Bobcats to beat Miami for the first time since March 9th, 2010?

QCH Panel–

Spencer: Absolutely. Charlotte seems to really be getting into a groove on the offensive end — the Bobcats have an offensive rating of 104.7 (+6.6 of season avg.) in the past 5 games and have a 56.2% total shooting % (+5.7% of season avg.). Henderson’s offensive outburst as of late has helped and you have to like his chances again tonight going up against Mike Miller, although Battier could give him a run for his money in spurts. The other matchup that they Bobcats can take advantage of is Kemba vs. Norris Cole. Cole doesn’t have one advantage over Kemba — not height, speed, quickness or shooting. I would look for a huge night from Kemba.

Charlotte biggest challenge tonight will be containing Chris Bosh. Everyone needs to remember that Miami won in San Antonio just a few nights ago without James & Wade, so this is still an extremely good team without the duo. Charlotte will likely guard Bosh by committee. I would expect Dunlap to start McRoberts on Bosh and then change it up on him for the rest of the game with a mix of Biz and Adrien.

Prediction — 102-99 Bobcats.

Greg: Charlotte will obviously have a solid chance, but Vegas sounds about right. It feels like a toss-up. The Heat, even without all the players listed above, are stocked with professional vets that know how to compete. They should be fired up, as well, considering all those guys take pride in their play and that it’s a nationally televised game.

One thing working in the Bobcats’ favor is that its a home game. Even though they’ve won five of their last 12 games, a (depressingly) big improvement over their total record, none of those victories came on the road. In fact, their last win away from Charlotte came Feb. 19 at Orlando. They’ve only won six all year.

The Bobcats guards should have big nights, as the Heat will be giving heavy minutes to Mike Miller, James Jones and Norris Cole. On the other side, I’m half-expecting Bosh to go nuclear. The combination of the Bobcats’ weak frontcourt defense and the Heat’s lack of other options means he’ll be the focal point of the offense, and Bosh is good enough to take advantage.