Who: Charlotte Bobcats vs Toronto Raptors
What: NBA Basketball – Bobcats Home Game
When: 7:00 PM ET
Where: Live at Time Warner Cable Arena
|Charlotte||15-52||97.7 (29)||109.1 (30)||94.1 (16)|
|Toronto||26-41||103.0 (14)||104.5 (22)||93.0 (23)|
Charlotte: Ramon Sessions (OUT)
Toronto: Andrea Bargnani (OUT), Linas Kleiza (OUT)
|PG||Kemba Walker||Kyle Lowry|
|SG||Gerald Henderson||DeMar DeRozan|
|SF||Michael Kidd-Gilchrist||Rudy Gay|
|PF||Josh McRoberts||Amir Johnson|
|C||Bismack Biyombo||Jonas Valanciunas|
|6th Man||Ben Gordon||Terrence Ross|
1- STATS: Charlotte is shooting a putrid 37.3% from the field and 22.6% 3FG in 3 games against Toronto this season. What have the Raptors done to cause the Cats’ to struggle from the field and what can Charlotte do to improve on this?
Spencer: Two things — 1) The Bobcats were incredibly efficient on Monday night vs Washington. They achieved this rare feat of efficiency by sharing the ball and guys did a wonderful job of cutting without the ball. With McRoberts in the lineup it allows Charlotte to really stretch the floor, but not necessarily with a shooter as you would expect with a guy of McRob’s size. McRob is an exceptional passer and ends up with the ball on the top of the key looking for cutters on many possessions. One play that I really believe has improved the Bobcats offensively since the arrival of McRob is having him with the ball at top of the key and running a dribble hand off motion- the recipient of the hand off simply reads the defender and goes back door if they’re being overplayed. McRob can also put the ball on the floor and finish at the rim, so if the help defender over-commits he can finish going to the bucket as well. In short, I just really believe that McRob is opening up the game on the offensive end for guys like Hendo, Kemba, Gordon & Pargo.
2) Jannero Pargo’s ability to make the 3-point shot have made the Bobcats tougher to guard for the simple fact that defenders can’t help too much off of him like they could against Sessions. Pargo really allows the Cats’ to spread the floor better. In 3 games played with Charlotte so far, Pargo is shooting 7-14 (50%) from behind the arc.
Greg: Telling Ben Gordon to relax a bit would help: in those three games, he averaged 25 minutes and 32 percent on 13.66 attempts. Gordon’s gunning occasionally has value, but not when he’s hitting at a rate like that. Not settling for outside shots in general would also help. In their win on Nov. 21, the Bobcats scored 50 points in the paint. They combined for 54 in their two losses.
Jannero Pargo’s shooting has helped recently. In his three games so far, he’s 7-of-14 from three. That’ll revert to his career averages soon, but having a player than can knock down open three-pointers (that isn’t Gordon) seems to have opened up the offense a bit. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him get another 10-day contract soon.
Blake Murphy (Raptors Republic): Without digging up the video (sorry, I don’t hate myself that much), my guess is that the Raptors have dared the Bobcat ball handlers to shoot in mid-range. Whether that’s by sagging off the Kemba Walker’s of the world or having the bigs hedge out less on the pick and roll, the Bobcats need to recognize this and have the discipline to forego them for better shots. (I just looked it up – 37 “long twos” for Charlotte in the last two games.) Also, in the last two meeting the Cats have shot 34% and 40% at the rim, which seems unsustainably low. They can’t let that deter them from attacking.
2- OVER/UNDER: In the past 5 games Gerald Henderson is averaging 23.4 PPG, shooting 48.1% FG & 42.9% 3FG. Also, Hendo is averaging 8.2 FTA/game in this stretch. O/U those numbers tonight?
Spencer: Considering the way that Hendo is attacking the rim lately, I can see the over taking shape tonight. I also like the over because DeRozan will be guarding him to start, presumably. Hendo is evolving in just about every aspect of his game. He’s always understood angles very well, but he’s beginning to pick his spots better with facing up and backing down defenders.
Greg: It’s obviously hard to sustain numbers like that, so I’m going with the under — but the Raptors tend to foul an absurd amount, as they’re 30th in defensive FT/FGA by a healthy margin. Even if Henderson doesn’t get his eight free throws, the team will probably still have a big boost at the line Wednesday night.
Blake: I’ll take the overs. He had 6 FTA on Friday in Toronto and the Raptors are the most foul-prone team in the NBA, per B-Ref. If he shoots eight or nine freebies, I don’t see any reason why he can’t hit 23 points, even if he has a bad shooting night. He’ll get his chances – who else is gonna shoot?
3- PICK IT: Cats or Raps? Charlotte can get the series split and win 2 straight games for the first time since Nov. 19 & 21.
Spencer: Charlotte. I really believe that Dunlap is going to challenge his team to come out with tons of energy tonight. He understands that the Bobcats have to take advantage of every winnable game they have, and especially at home. After chatting with Coach Dunlap on Monday night I know that he’s pretty pleased with the team’s effort lately and he is really hoping they’ll continue to give maximum effort. All part of the developmental process. 100-95 Bobcats.
Greg: I’m trying to be optimistic when I can, so I’ll take the Bobcats. Both teams have successfully defended their turf this season, and things seemed to be clicking for Charlotte on Monday. Hopefully they can parlay that momentum into another win.
Blake: Still going Raptors, for the same reason as Friday – Raptors aren’t “tanking,” and the Cats have no incentive to win, really. The only thing I can see changing that is if Kemba Walker is naturally in “March Madness Mode” this time of year and goes HAM.