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Game #18: Bobcats @ Heat Preview

Who: Miami Heat vs Charlotte Bobcats

What: NBA Basketball – Heat Home Game

When: 6:00 PM ET

Where: Live at American Airlines Arena, Miami, FL

The Matchup:

Record Offensive
Miami 13-3 108.6 (1) 97.9 (6) 96.9 (15)
Charlotte 8-9 93.1 (29) 96.9 (4) 94.8 (26)

Previous Meetings:
11/16/13 — 97-81 Heat. Recap

Starting Lineups

Heat Bobcats
PG Mario Chalmers Kemba Walker
SG Dwyane Wade Gerald Henderson
SF Shane Battier Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
PF LeBron James Josh McRoberts
C Chris Bosh Al Jefferson
6th Man Ray Allen Ramon Sessions

3-on-3 TrueHoop Network 1- Charlotte has now climbed all the way to 4th in defensive efficiency, but they’ll face the most efficient offense in the league tonight. How do the Bobcats slow down Miami?

Spencer: Miami got 40 points in the paint in the first meeting between these two in Charlotte. On the contrary, the Bobcats only got 28 in the paint. To touch on what Greg pointed out – Miami is dangerous from deep, but it’s all setup from being able to get to the rim and shrink the defense. That being said, keep this team from putting the ball and getting to the rim. Easier said than done, but Charlotte has been very good at this so far this season. Be very aware of the gaps and force Miami to take contested 3’s, opposed to them taking open 3’s with the defense rotating + scrambling.

Greg: A big part of Miami’s efficiency is built around the corner three, where they’re third in attempts and hit a league-best 52.1 percent. It’s doubly important in this case, since Charlotte doesn’t have the shooters to keep up if Miami is hitting their long-range attempts: Opponents have made 8.8 three-pointers in Bobcat losses this year vs. 6.1 in their wins. Those numbers come with the usual caveats (randomness, small sample size), but are not exactly surprising.

2- LEBRON. He did pretty much whatever he wanted in Charlotte on November 16th – scored 30 on 13-18 shooting. What’s the counter to defending the king this time around?

Spencer: The easy answer is to say that you blitz him and get the ball out of his hands, but Lebron makes teams pay all the time when they try that approach – just too smart of a player and is so good at reading defensive rotations to find the open man. Ultimately, just guard the guy with a committee (MKG, Taylor & Hendo), be as physical as possible and DO NOT get beat off the bounce.

Greg: Having Michael Kidd-Gilchrist back will help — he’s developed into the team’s best defender in his sophomore year, and even though it’s unlikely he’ll stop LeBron, he can at least make the King work for it. Beyond that, you hope James settles for mid-range shots, where he’s just average. And pray.

3- PICK IT. Everyone has Miami, right?

Spencer: Yeah, I’m taking Miami, but the Bobcats almost snuck up on this group last season in Miami on a Sunday evening. Everything will depend on how energetic the Heat come out of the gates tonight + how many easy baskets they can create against Charlotte’s stingy D off of turnovers. If you deny Miami penetrating lanes in the half court they will settle for bad mid-range jump shots, so again, what will Miami’s energy look like?

Greg: Yep. The Bobcats have done just fine against their schedule so far, but they have yet to show they can beat anyone good. They’re 0-5 against teams that are currently .500 or better, and their average margin of loss in those games is by 14 points.