Who: Charlotte Bobcats vs Brooklyn Nets
What: NBA Basketball – Bobcats Home Game
When: 7:00 PM ET
Where: Live at Time Warner Cable Arena, Charlotte, NC
|Charlotte||13-47||97.6 (29)||109 (29)||94.4 (13)|
|Brooklyn||34-26||103.2 (12)||103.7 (16)||90.7 (30)|
Charlotte: Tyrus Thomas (Inactive)
|PG||Kemba Walker||Deron Williams|
|SG||Gerald Henderson||Joe Johnson|
|SF||Michael Kidd-Gilchrist||Gerald Wallace|
|PF||Byron Mullens||Reggie Evans|
|C||Bismack Biyombo||Brook Lopez|
|6th Man||Ramon Sessions||Andray Blatche|
1- STATS: Brooklyn plays at the slowest PACE (90.7) in the league- this team values possessions and forces their opponent to guard them for most of the shot clock in many occasions. How do the Bobcats go about speeding the Nets up?
Spencer: Well, it starts with Charlotte getting on the defensive glass and actually give themselves opportunities to get out and run. This won’t be easy considering the fact that Brooklyn is 3rd in the league in Offensive Rebound Rate (30.1) and Charlotte is last in Defensive Rebound Rate (70.0). I’ve said this many times before, but it comes down to the Bobcats simply making it a priority tonight to check out on every shot the Nets put up. Forcing the Nets to turn the ball over is the other obvious factor to creating easy baskets. This game just has the stink of Charlotte giving up copious amounts of offensive boards and second chance points.
Greg: They can go small if/when Gerald Wallace is playing power forward, matching him up against MKG and running a Kemba/Sessions/Henderson backcourt. That four-man lineup has seen limited time this year (72 minutes), but increases the team’s pace and offensive efficiency significantly without hurting the defense. It’s not a great idea to draw many conclusions from such a small sample size, but it suggests that lineup should get more minutes in the right situation.
Of course, a lineup like that has major negatives as well. There’s potential there for Joe Johnson to use his size advantage on the Bobcats defender, but that’ll likely be the case no matter what lineups the Nets are running.
Devin Kharpertian (The Brooklyn Game): At the risk of turning into obvious-man, run. Run like hell. Send two guards flying up the floor on every Nets field goal attempt. Force the Nets to get back defensively. Brooklyn’s gotten destroyed by fast teams this year (Houston being the prime example) because they didn’t stop pushing for 48 minutes and the Nets didn’t seem to have any coherent strategy to stop it.
2- WORSE CONTRACT: Ben Gordon has 1-year left after this season- player option worth $13 million. Gerald Wallace has 3 years remaining after this season worth about $30 million. Gordon is an obvious nuisance in the locker room to the youth movement in Charlotte, while Wallace is having career lows in just about any statistic you can come up with since bursting onto the scene in 04-05 with Charlotte. Which contract would you rather be stuck with?
Spencer: Wallace. There’s no question that Wallace is the better all-around player. He affects the game in so many more ways than Gordon does, but I’m not sure how excited Brooklyn should be about paying him $10mil + for the next three seasons. I would probably lean toward Gordon if I thought Charlotte could flip him into an asset via trade this off-season, or before trade deadline to contender next season, but the $13mil makes that difficult. Also, I do believe Wallace will re-invent himself and become more efficient again. This season feels somewhat like an outlier even though he has hit 30-years of age.
Greg: It kind of depends on your perspective. Each contract is a bit of a burden, but I think the Bobcats and Nets would both say they have the more attractive deal.
Wallace is the better player right now, even with his drop-off, so he makes sense for the Nets. They could wipe his salary off the books tomorrow, and the team would still be in the luxury tax. The appeal of an expiring contract isn’t as great when you’re trying to win now. Gerald’s good reputation in the locker room is just gravy.
The Bobcats are trying to maintain cap flexibility, which makes Gordon the better pick. He’ll be gone after next year, and he has some limited value as an expiring contract in the meantime. As much as I love Wallace from his days in Charlotte, his long-term money would just make a rebuild more complicated.
Devin: I’ll take Wallace for two reasons: firstly, in the aggregate he brings more to the floor than Gordon does — Gordon can shoot, but that’s about it; Wallace can’t shoot, but he can do just about everything else. He’s the team’s best lane-prober not named Deron Williams and routinely guards the opponent’s best perimeter player. Secondly, he’s by far the best locker room guy the Nets have, he swings so wildly on wins and losses it’s almost comical. He cursed out his teammates publicly after a loss, then about a month later compared Joe Johnson to Michael Jordan after a win. He’s worth the price of admission for that alone.
3- PICK IT: It’s somewhat fair to assume that the Bobcats will have a better showing at home tonight after their 4-game road trip where they lost by an average margin of 26.25 PPG. Nets or Cats?
Spencer: Nets. I do believe that the Bobcats will return to being somewhat competitive tonight at home, though. Part because they’re somewhat due for a respectable performance and because Coach Dunlap was encouraged by the overall effort in the last loss in Portland. 94-88 Nets.
Greg: Nets, and I don’t think it’ll be close. Brooklyn is very good at offensive rebounding and doesn’t foul often, which doesn’t spell great things for Charlotte.
Devin: Nets. I can’t in good conscience believe that the Nets will lose this game, not with the talent they have matching up against what the Bobcats look like these days. Now enjoy my jinx power.