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Bobcats @ Celtics Preview: QCH 3-on-3

Who: Boston Celtics vs Charlotte Bobcats

What: NBA Basketball – Celtics Home Game

When: 7:30 PM ET

Where: Live at TD Garden

The Matchup:

Record Offensive
Boston 19-17 100.8 (18) 100.7 (9) 93.4 (20)
Charlotte 9-27 99.1 (27) 108.3 (29) 94.7 (9)

Previous Meetings:

Boston: Chris Wilcox (OUT)
Charlotte: Byron Mullens (OUT)

Starting Lineups

Celtics Bobcats
PG Rajon Rondo Kemba Walker
SG Courtney Lee Gerald Henderson
SF Paul Pierce Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
PF Brandon Bass Hakim Warrick
C Kevin Garnett Bismack Biyombo
6th Man Jason Terry Ramon Sessions

3-on-3 TrueHoop Network 1- STATS: Much like Indiana, Boston likes to play at a rather slow PACE (93.4 — 20th), but unlike the Pacers, they’re an awful rebounding team — last in the league in Rebounding Rate at 47.8. This is the kind of team that the Bobcats matchup well with. Is it fair to say that if Charlotte out-rebounds and pushes the tempo as they like against the Celtics that they have a very good chance to win, or is there a more important stat to focus on in this one?

Spencer: Yes. I think Charlotte keeps this game close. If the Cats can aggravate Paul Pierce with MKG, Hendo & Taylor and limit his effectiveness in the half court, they have a decent chance of stealing one in Boston tonight. Biyombo is going to need to have a good game, keep Garnett off the glass and stay on his feet when pulled away from the basket by KG. I think the key is to limit PP offensively with different defensive matchups and keep KG off the glass. Charlotte has the guys to do both fairly effectively against Boston.

Brett: The Celtics’ poor rebounding rate on a whole stems largely from their league worst offensive rebound rate – they’re actually a very solid 13th in defensive rebounding.  The Celtics largely choose to abandon the offensive glass to prevent transition baskets.  And for that reason, this is actually a cause for concern for the Bobcats, rather than an area to exploit.  If the Celtics can limit the Bobcats transition opportunities, Boston’s still respectable defense will make things difficult in the halfcourt for CLT.

Greg: Brett does a great job of explaining why Boston’s rebounding rate is deceptive, so I’ll instead focus on the Celtics’ ability to force turnovers. It’s the only of the defensive four factors (eFG%, TOV%, DRB%, and FT/FGA) where they rank in the top ten, coming in at sixth. That actually works in the Bobcats’ favor; they’ve been very good at protecting the ball this year. The Celtics’ defense is about average in most other respects, so if Charlotte can limit their mistakes it could go a long way.

2- OPINION: Gerald Henderson or Courtney Lee? They’re similar players that are both in the same phases of their careers. Which would you rather have moving forward and why?

Spencer: Hendo. This should be closer, but Courtney Lee has been quite a disappointment so far in his career. I certainly thought that Lee was a well-rounded enough player to be a starter in the NBA for some time, but he refuses to be physical on the offensive end and has proven to be a below average ball handler. Hendo is the exact opposite — he loves to draw contact and post up on the offensive end, yet also has a great mid-range jump shot that is deadly off curls. Hendo is finally beginning to develop his 3-point shot this season and if that continues then he has the chance to be a starter for a lot of teams in this league.

Brett: I’ll take Henderson, and it’s not particularly close.  Hendo is two years younger and has improved steadily from his rookie season until now, with what appears to be a developing shot from long range.  Courtney Lee posted his best season in his sophomore campaign, with a PER of 12.88, and he has trended down since then.  Gerald Jr. has gone from 9.76 in his rookie year (yuck), to 13.25, then 14.05, and this year has surpassed the average mark, with a 16.12 PER to date.  Henderson is not a star in the making, but he’s a starter, and has more seasons ahead of him than Lee.

Greg: Both of these guys have had rough paths in their short NBA careers. Henderson barely saw the floor in his rookie season, mostly for Larry Brown reasons, then was miscast as a leading scorer on some awful teams. Lee can’t seem to unpack his boxes before he’s shipped off to yet another team. Lee has been a strong three-point shooter his whole career, which is one area where he has a clear advantage over Henderson. But on the whole, I’ll give the edge to Gerald for his versatility. Both are good defenders, but Henderson has been a better playmaker from the wing position and has a solid all-around offense. If his three-point shot continues to develop, he’ll be a clear keeper.

3- PICK IT: This smells like a game that Charlotte can matchup well in and keep close. Anyone?

Spencer: Boston, but in a close game. Essentially, I think Rondo has a huge game (possibly triple-double) because the Cats just don’t have anyone to defend him unless Dunlap elects to stick Jeff Taylor on him. I believe Biyombo can limit KG and the mix of MKG, Taylor, Hendo can keep PP in check. That being said, Rondo will churn out a stat line that puts the Celtics over the top — 92-88 Boston.

Brett: I’ll take Boston to protect their home court.  After an ugly 2-8 stretch put them 3 games below .500, the Celtics have won 5 in a row to get back above the break-even mark, with wins over the Knicks and Pacers among them.  It also seems like the Celtics’ defense is rounding into shape, as during this winning streak, the most an opponent has scored is 91, from New York’s high powered offense.  While the Celtics are not an elite offense, which means Charlotte has a chance, I think they’ll make the Bobcats work for every point they get and it won’t be enough.

Greg: I’ll also go with the Celtics here. They’ve been noticeably better at home, with a 12-6 record in Boston and a 7-11 road record. Their FG% jumps to 49 percent at home compared to 45 percent on the road, as well, which means the Bobcats will probably have trouble keeping up.