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Bobcats vs Sixers Preview: Things to watch

Who: Charlotte Bobcats vs Philadelphia 76ers

What: NBA Basketball – Bobcats Home Game

When: 7:00 PM ET

Where: Live at Time Warner Cable Arena

The Matchup:

Record Offensive
Charlotte 17-57 98.2 (28) 109.6 (30) 94.2 (15)
Philadelphia 30-43 99.5 (26) 102.9 (14) 93.1 (21)

Previous Meetings:
2012/11/30 – 98-104 – RecapBoxscore

Charlotte: Byron Mullens (Status unknown), Ramon Sessions (OUT)
Philadelphia: Jason Richardson (OUT)

Starting Lineups

Bobcats 76ers
PG Kemba Walker Jrue Holiday
SG Gerald Henderson Evan Turner
SF Michael Kidd-Gilchrist Damien Wilkins
PF Josh McRoberts Thaddeus Young
C Bismack Biyombo Spencer Hawes
6th Man Ben Gordon Lavoy Allen

Thoughts from the QCH Panel —

Greg: The 76ers are going to be well-rested coming into this one; in fact, their last game was Saturday’s 100-92 win over the Bobcats. Like you’d think, they play a lot better when they get some time off. This year, Philadelphia is 12-8 in games when they have at least two days of rest; they’re 18-35 in all other games. There’s obviously a lot at play in deciding those wins and losses, but having fresh legs can help a lot at this point in the season.

Saturday’s matchup was relatively competitive, but it took an ultra-efficient night from MKG (21 points on 9-of-11 shooting) to keep things close. Most of those points came near the rim on hustle plays — which is a little surprising, as Philadelphia is typically solid at defending the restricted area and the paint. It’ll be interesting to see if he can repeat that performance.

Spencer: Charlotte played well in Phila on Saturday night — the Bobcats outscored the Sixers in the paint 48-42, only turned the ball over 10 times and shot 50% from the field. The straw that broke the camels back was the 14-23 (60.9%) from the free throw line — not good enough to win on any level. To add to that note, Hendo only got to the FT 5 times for the game, only converting on 2 of those attempts.

Phila is good at slowing the game down and forcing teams to execute in the half court — not Charlotte’s desired tempo. Tonight the Bobcats have to be able to find a healthy mixture of speeding the game up and getting stops in the half court, defensively.

Prediction: 98-95 Bobcats

Mathew: Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer looked at a few of the possible reasons the Bobcats have decided to give Tyrus Thomas some run after 25 consecutive games of inactivity. He touches on two rather clear motives – to see what the Bobcats have in him moving forward and to showcase his trade value for the rest of the league. Although he does admit a trade is unlikely (Bobcats would be forced to take back other bad contracts in exchange for Thomas), I think the most probably outcome is Thomas getting amnestied in the offseason. Therefore, the incentive is to showcase (please note, a loose interpretation of the word) him in the hopes that another team sees something worth bidding for, as any salary paid to Thomas by another team would offset the sum owed to him by the Bobcats. Let’s hope for no more 3-point attempts (if you didn’t see the play last game, check the box score) the rest of the season from T-Time – it certainly won’t help the Bobcats cause.

Harabalos Voulgaris is probably the most successful NBA bettor in the world. If you don’t know who he is, just read this. He even spent a brief stint working for an unnamed NBA franchise. This guy is not some degenerate – he loves the NBA and knows his stuff. Therefore, this response to a tweet from Rick Bonnell intrigued me. I knew the Bobcats were one of the worst teams in the league at defending the corner 3 (last in opponent makes, second to last in attempts, and third to last in percentage), which is one of the most efficient shots in the game. However, outside of slow rotations and bad team defense I hadn’t really considered the reasons for their struggles from a strategic standpoint. If Voulgaris’ eye for strategy is correct (I trust it is), you can understand Dunlap’s decision to a degree given the Bobcats’ struggles in the half court. He’s essentially risking more open attempts from the corners for the reward of having guys ready to get out on the break. However, given the tone of Voulgaris’ tweet, I think one can assume he views this strategy as a losing bet. One guy makes his money coaching on the floor. Another makes it from his living room. So who’s right? Something to keep an eye on as you watch tonight.

Doug Collins could very well be coaching for his job from here on out. A loss to the Bobcats could cement his fate and induce another bleep-laden postgame rant from the Sixers coach. There’s something worth cheering for.