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GAME #3: Bobcats vs. Heat — The end is near, but so is the beginning

Who: Charlotte Bobcats vs Miami Heat

What: NBA Basketball – Bobcats Home Game

When: 7:00 PM ET

Where: Live at Time Warner Cable Arena, Charlotte, NC

The Matchup:

Record Offensive
Charlotte 0-3 97.4 (16) 108.0 (12) 92.2 (9)
Miami 3-0 108.0 (5) 97.4 (1) 92.2 (9)

Previous Meetings:

Game one: 99-88 Miami

Game two: 101-97 Miami

Game three: 98-85 Miami

Charlotte: Al Jefferson (Doubtful)

Starting Lineups

Bobcats Heat
PG Kemba Walker Mario Chalmers
SG Gerald Henderson Dwyane Wade
SF Michael Kidd-Gilchrist Lebron James
PF Josh McRoberts Udonis Haslem
C Bismack Biyombo Chris Bosh
6th Man Gary Neal Ray Allen

3-on-3 TrueHoop Network The Bobcats existence is about to come to a close, or at least it appears that way at the time-being. The end may be very near in what has been a grueling 10 years for the Charlotte Bobcats, but the return of the Charlotte Hornets is right around the corner.

Doug Branson, from TDBsports.com and The PodCats Show, joins us to discuss the possibility of the Bobcats salvaging one game in this series.

1- The Bobcats have turned the ball over 44 times in this series. Is the Miami defensive pressure just too much, or is there a way for Charlotte to settle into their game tonight?

Spencer Percy: The Heat pressure is simply too much for the Bobcats to handle over a four quarter span. Teams that commit to sending two defenders at your best players must pay by leaving open shooters – and that’s exactly the problem. Charlotte is very limited with guys that can get it done from behind-the-arc.

Now that we know that Jefferson is unlikely to play tonight for Charlotte, it will open up a door for other guys to step up that typically don’t get too many touches — CDR + Tolliver will likely see minutes inflated the most. Without Jefferson, the Bobcats will be able to stretch the floor more and potentially be motivated to get out in transition – this will make tonight interesting to watch. How will Charlotte attack Miami offensively? We’ve had very little success with anything in the half-court, so I have to believe that practice yesterday + shoot-around this morning was focusing on getting the ball into Kemba’s hands and pushing the tempo. This won’t necessarily limit turnovers, but it could help produce easy baskets for the Bobcats.

Brett Hainline: The Cats improved on the turnovers in game 3, though it didn’t do much good towards the bottom line. Turnovers are to be expected to a degree against Miami’s pressure, and Charlotte will have to make some aggressive plays to fend them off and create space – mistakes will happen and that’s ok.  What Charlotte can’t afford are lazy, telegraphed passes which Miami thrives on.

Doug Branson: We thought the trap was the issue on the turnovers and Kemba and Co. seemed to do alright with it in the 1st quarter of game 3. Then came the adjustment on Jefferson in the second quarter and our anemic jump shooting abilities and then is that ANOTHER trap? Don’t they ever get tired of half court trapping, isn’t that like the missionary position of pressure defense? On and on and OH MAN WE’RE DOWN TWENTY. Miami’s defense is great, no question, but it is absolutely perfect for a team with an immobile big man and poor shooters.

2- The Heat have shown us that they’re going to do everything in their power to take away Kemba Walker. Who is the one player, outside of Kemba, that must come up huge tonight for the Bobcats?

Percy: Chris Douglas-Roberts. He had a very nice game on Saturday night and needs to carry that over to tonight. He’ll see more minutes with the absence of Jefferson, in what should be a lot of small ball for Charlotte, so the opportunity will be there. CDR needs to be active defensive + commit to crashing the glass – he can also be very effective in transition, and tonight will hopefully give him a good opportunity to showcase that.

Hainline: I’ll take MKG – the Bobcats gave their best performance in the game MKG blew up in.  When MKG is assertive and attacking, it makes it easier for Clifford to have him on the court – and he has to be out there for Charlotte to remotely slow LeBron.

Branson: The one player who didn’t, Gary Neal. We can’t seem to get everyone, or more than two Cats firing at the same time. In game 3 Neal and Henderson hit the snooze button. Without Neal shooting well Spolstra can leave one of the big 3, or God help us two, against our second unit and it’s BRACE FOR IMPACT, SHE’S COMING DOWN!

3- Are the Bobcats going to get their first, and probably only, playoff victory in franchise history tonight?

Percy: Without Jefferson, I don’t think there’s anyway. For Miami, if they simply put their foot on the Bobcats throat early in this elimination game then it could be quick and painless for us all. If Miami let’s Kemba run wild early on and gain confidence then we’ll have to suffer a close loss in the end. I’d rather not lose a nail biter in game four, to be completely honest.

It’s been a fantastic season for Charlotte, but it ends tonight — 105-90 Heat. Say goodbye to the Bobcats and welcome back the Charlotte Hornets.

Hainline: I think the Bobcats name ends without a playoff victory.  Al’s injury makes the Bobcats offense even more predictable and easy to defend, and Charlotte’s defense can’t slow down Miami enough to win a true defensive grind-it-out game.

Branson: Maaaannnn….no. But doesn’t this feel different from 2010? That Orlando sweep was pathetic and morose  and everyone knew the gang wasn’t getting back together. At least this one provided a few memories that we can build off of as we put on our teal and purple. Remember when McRoberts SMOOSHED Birdman? Or when McRoberts went top-rope on LeBron?!! Wow, a lot of these had to do with McRoberts. Better not let that guy slip away. Swarm ya next year, Hornets all the way in 2015.