Who: Cleveland Cavaliers vs Charlotte Bobcats
What: NBA Basketball – Bobcats Home Game
When: 7:00 PM ET
Where: Live at Time Warner Cable, Charlotte, NC
|PG||Kyrie Irving||Kemba Walker|
|SG||Dion Waiters||Gerald Henderson|
|SF||Earl Clark||Michael Kidd-Gilchrist|
|PF||Tristan Thompson||Josh McRoberts|
|C||Anderson Varejao||Al Jefferson|
|6th Man||Jarrett Jack||Ramon Sessions|
1- How do the Cats slow Irving?
Spencer: Irving is one of the hardest players in the league to guard due to his ability to hit a jump shot from just about anywhere on the floor + the nastiest crossover in the league. I’ve always been of the train of thought that you should blitz Irving with an extra defender every chance you get just to get the ball out of his hands.
Mathew: Make him a shooter. You’re forced to pick your poison with Irving, and if I’m doing so I’m making him beat me from the perimeter. Irving is undoubtedly a solid shooter, but I’d rather take my chances by going under screens and enticing him to forego a drive into the lane for a long range attempt (even more so if it’s a long two). Irving is an adept finisher at the rim and makes good decisions upon entering the paint, so I’d take the trade of open jumpers for fewer drives to the basket.
2- Do the big men look better against a slightly less imposing front line?
Spencer: Depends on how much Bynum plays tonight. Even if he plays, I see Jefferson having a big game. Not an elite defender anywhere around the basket for Cleveland and Big Al’s savvy nature with the ball will take over. Hope to see Biz get a few more minutes tonight.
Mathew: Yes and no. Jefferson should have a better night on the offensive end against the Cavs smaller front line, but it could still be difficult for Zeller and the rest of the Bobcats bigs. Zeller and McRoberts could struggle with the physicality of Thompson and Varejao (and Bynum for 7 minutes?), while Biyombo may find Varejao’s craftiness tough to handle.
3- Bobcats win their home opener? Pick it.
Spencer: Cavs. I have seen Kyrie Irving play enough times against Charlotte and come to learn there’s nobody on this roster to contain him — Jeff Taylor has the best chance, but was torched last season when they went head-to-head.
Mathew: Home court matters early on in the season when fans’ hopes are high and a euphoria spawned from unrealistic expectations fills the arena. Just look at what happened in Philadelphia Wednesday night. Tonight’s crowd will be the Jamal Crawford of crowds, lifting the Bobcats to their first win of the season. Good job, fans.