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||5-6||92.9 (28)||99.1 (9)||94.5 (28)|
|Brooklyn||3-7||99.1 (20)||103.9 (22)||96.3 (19)|
Charlotte: Al Jefferson (Doubtful)
Brooklyn: Andrei Kirilenko (OUT)
|PG||Kemba Walker||Deron Williams|
|SG||Gerald Henderson||Paul Pierce|
|SF||Michael Kidd-Gilchrist||Joe Johnson|
|PF||Josh McRoberts||Kevin Garnett|
|C||Bismack Biyombo||Brook Lopez|
|6th Man||Ramon Sessions||Andray Blatche|
1- STATS. Brooklyn has stumbled out of the gates to a 3-7 start and really aren’t doing anything well. Currently, the Nets are 20th (99.1) in offensive efficiency. Meanwhile, Charlotte has emerged as a top-10 defensive team. Does this trend continue tonight? Why or why not?
Spencer: The Bobcats are likely going to have to defend Lopez by committee. Big Al is expected to miss another game tonight + I don’t expect Zeller to defend Lopez in any situation. This means it’ll be Biz and Adrien to share fouls and attempt to be as physical as possible with Lopez. Even though Brooklyn is only shooting 32.6% from long range this season, the Bobcats still must be wary of the shooters. It’s easy for the defense to ball watch when the opposition has a post presence like Brook Lopez.
Greg: I don’t see why not. Deron Williams will play tonight, and Lopez should too, but the Nets are still a bad combination of hurt, old and rusty. Stopping Brook will be the biggest challenge, as his 20.5 points per game on 57 percent shooting have been carrying the Nets so far. He’s done most of that damage down low, with 71 of his 108 attempts coming within eight feet of the basket. That plays to the Bobcats’ strengths:
As you can see in the chart above, Charlotte is defending the paint well. Within eight feet, opponents are shooting 50.4 percent, which is 6.1 percentage points below the league average. That’s good for fourth-best in the league. Stopping Lopez puts more pressure on Joe Johnson and Paul Pierce to carry to scoring load, and they’ve struggled with that this year.
2- WHAT’S EATING KEMBA WALKER? In his past 5 games Kemba is 18-75 (24%) from the field. What’s going on?
Spencer: Some have suggested that it’s Kemba’s shoulder from when he injured it in MSG, but others have cited confidence - I would side with the latter. To Greg’s point as well, teams want Kemba to take the outside shot and keep him out of the paint – defensive scouting on Kemba is working right now, so the third year PG is going to have to make some adjustments. Quicker decisions + cutting off the basketball can help get Kemba some extra touches around the rim.
Greg: Kemba needs more and better attempts at the rim. He’s attempting 3.6 shots at the bucket this year compared to 5.0 last season, and his accuracy has dipped a bit as well. Being aggressive and keeping his defender on their heels should open up a bit more space when he decides to use his step-back jumper.
3- PICK IT. An opportunity for Charlotte to get back to .500 as they continue to await the healthy return of Al Jefferson. Do they get it done?
Spencer: Defensively, the Bobcats just continue to be stout. They’re extremely connected as a core – meaning the defensive is almost rotation and helping in unison. One thing in particular that I’m noticing is that Charlotte is protecting gaps (one pass away driving lanes) extremely well + recovering to shooters quickly. On the offensive end, Kemba should really look to get out in transition vs. the old legs of the Nets. I’ll take Charlotte tonight just due to the fact that the Nets are a mess right now.
Greg: I think so. Jason Kidd is floundering in his debut year as coach, and the Nets are 1-5 on the road so far. They don’t really have an identity to lean on right now, and Charlotte’s defense should be good enough to take advantage.