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GAME #3: Bobcats vs. Heat — Time to swarm the Heat

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 0-2 98.6 (15) 109.2 (14) 92.7 (7)
Miami 2-0 109.2 (3) 98.6 (2) 92.7 (7)

Previous Meetings:
Game 1: Heat 99-88

Game 2: Heat 101-97

Charlotte: Al Jefferson (DTD)

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 Al Jefferson Chris Bosh
6th Man Gary Neal Ray Allen

Doug Branson from TDBsports.com and The PodCats Show joins me to discuss what’s key for the Bobcats success tonight in game three.

1- Who’s the most important player for the Bobcats tonight besides Al Jefferson?

Percy: Josh McRoberts. If Miami gets to Kemba with their pressure + constant double-teams, then McBob will have to act as a PG from the high-post – he’s been pretty successful from that role, at times, this season. McBob must also keep his cool on a retaliation foul that may come from the evil empire tonight. If he doesn’t, he’ll have to watch from the bench in game four.

Branson: At this point I don’t even think we should include the caveat “besides Al Jefferson.” The most important player to the Bobcats winning a game in this series is Kemba Walker. He must protect the ball early in the game and deal effectively with Miami’s traps. If he doesn’t we will go into another deep deficit in game 3.

Greg Pietras: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. As nice as his offensive output was in Game 2, I’m not expecting a repeat — but he’s still so important to the defense that he needs to stay focused, avoid fouls and do his best to check LeBron.

2- What’s the one statistical trend that must change in order for the Bobcats to be successful tonight?

Percy: Turnovers. Charlotte is coughing it up on 14.2% of their possessions in the postseason, opposed to their 11.7% clip during the regular season. Not only that, but the Bobcats are giving the ball to the most prolific open-court attack in the NBA.

Branson: Everyone has said “turnovers” so many times (including me) that even Coach Pop is saying, “GIVE IT A REST ALREADY.” So I’ll say this, instead; I don’t know if advanced statistics can give us a read on the total number of passes per possession yet, but it’s probably on the higher end for the Bobcats. When our first option is turned away we seem to give way to a game of hot potato that usually leaves a Miami Heat guard holding said potato. So in a way I guess I just turnovers again. I’VE FAILED YOU POP!

Greg: Specifically assists, but ball movement in general. Charlotte was playing its best ball after the All-Star break, and a lot of that was built around good passing and movement. They’re putting up 18 a night against Miami after averaging 23 over their final 29 games. Miami’s defense definitely doesn’t make it easy, as they’re very good at forcing turnovers and blowing up passing lanes, but they’ll need a few more easy looks if they want a shot.

3- Pick it. Can Charlotte creep closer to Miami with a win tonight?

Percy: Charlotte is going to have to get to 1o0 in order to be afforded a chance to take this one. That means that Gary Neal will have to be that third offensive punch. Unfortunately, I don’t have much faith in Neal right now – his lack of effort on the defensive end, when he’s not making shots, isn’t my thing. I want to see Charlotte rocking tomorrow, but the Heat’s ability to defend our guards with bigger, faster and stronger players continues to worry me — Miami 100-95.

Branson: If Kemba and Neal get serious about making clean reads and Jefferson can have a better first half we absolutely have a shot at nabbing one at home. The Bobcats have been a great home team this year. The Heat did what they had to do, now it’s our turn. Cats WIN, Cats WIN!

Greg: It’s definitely their best chance — if they drop this one, Miami’s going to work for that sweep. Vegas has the Bobcats pegged as 4.5-point underdogs, which sounds about right. Let’s just hope they give us a show.