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Game #41: Bobcats @ Magic 4-on-3 Preview

Who: Orlando Magic vs Charlotte Bobcats

What: NBA Basketball – Magic Home Game

When: 7:00 PMET

Where: Live at Amway Center, Orlando, FL

The Matchup:

Record Offensive
Orlando 10-29 98.1 (25) 103.9 (18) 96.2 (16)
Charlotte 16-24 97.3 (28) 100.9 (8) 95.1 (20)

Previous Meetings:

12/11/2013 : 92-83 Magic

Orlando: Arron Afflalo (Probable), Nikola Vucevic (DTD),
Charlotte: Jeff Taylor (OUT), Brendan Haywood (OUT)

Starting Lineups

Magic Bobcats
PG Jameer Nelson Kemba Walker
SG Victor Oladipo Gerald Henderson
SF Arron Afflalo Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
PF Tobias Harris Josh McRoberts
C Glen Davis Al Jefferson
6th Man Maurice Harkless Ramon Sessions

3-on-3 TrueHoop Network 1- STATS. These two teams are similar in very many ways. One area Charlotte has a clear advantage is on the defensive end – is this the end of the floor they’ll have to excel at to get the win tonight?

Spencer: Always. Consistency on the offensive end would help as well. As good as Big Al and Kemba have been on the offensive end lately, you would think that Charlotte would have more wins to show for it, but night’s like Hendo had against Philly on Wednesday (2-14 from the floor) will contribute to losing close games. All three (Kemba, Hendo & Jefferson) need to show up tonight.

Michael Kaskey-Blomain (NEW TO QCH! @therealmikekb): Charlotte and Orlando share some similarities, as they both struggle to score, and secure rebounds at times. Both teams are in the bottom 30% in the league in both points and rebounds per game, and outside of Orlando’s Arron Affalo, no one on either team puts up twenty points per. Charlotte’s advantage over Orlando will come on the defensive end, where the ‘Cats are fourth in the league, giving up only 96.6 points per contest. If the Bobcats are able to clamp down on Orlando, who struggles to score as it is, then they will put themselves in position for a W. Affalo has missed the past three games but hopes to play. If he does, then a match-up to watch for will be Michael Kidd-Gilchrist sticking him. Orlando’s frontcourt isn’t the most formidable, so if MK-G can limit Affalo’s offensive output, and the rest of the Cats’ can contain Nelson and Oladipo, then the Bobcats should be in business.

Dakota: Absolutely.  While Orlando has a lot of young talent, they’re still a team filled with players who are trying to find their niche which is a good situation to go up against when you have an above-average defensive team. Orlando is a team that has the talent to take control of you when you’re not playing 100% on the defensive side which is what Charlotte will have to do.

Doug Branson (PodCats Show): Absolutely, especially if they get Afflalo back. It will be up to Kemba, Hendo and MKG to buckle down and stop Aaron and Oladipo at the point of attack. I will give you another area to watch for. Rebounding. In our first meeting we were outrebounded by 11.  Vucevic and Big Baby combined for 26 rebounds including 8 offensive boards. Vucevic is not expected to play and the Bobcats HAVE to take advantage.

2- OLADIPO & ZELLER. Clearly Victor has been better than Cody so far in his rookie campaign, but tell us some of the positives & negatives we’ve learned about these two halfway through the season?

Spencer: Victor has the motor of the Tasmanian Devil and appears to be improving offensively – he’s averaging 17.6 PPG in his last 5 outings – largely thanks to his 35 point outburst in the 3OT game vs. Chicago Wednesday night. Not worried about Oladipo defensively and he provides the versatility to guard PG’s + SG’s. As far as the negatives are concerned, he may be a man without a position before it’s all said-and-done – Oladipo doesn’t have a consistent outside shot at this point (29% 3FG) and is a turnover machine – he has a 16.1 turnover ratio currently, which is worst in the league amongst rooks that play more 20 MPG.

As for Zeller, oh my. Get stronger, find a consistent center of gravity with your body when the ball hits the floor and sleep in the film room in an attempt to help the game slow down for you, Zeller.

Michael: Both Zeller and Oladipo have shown positive potential during their rookie campaign, but both have had their share of struggles as well. The type of player Oladipo can eventually become remains somewhat of a mystery to me, as it doesn’t seem Orlando has found the fit for him yet. He has shown potential as a point, but needs to improve upon his shooting, and learn to take better care of the ball if he intends to play the position, as his assist-to-turnover rate is almost 1:1. Defensively though he shows a lot of potential, especially at guarding the perimeter, and he can certainly develop into a solid starter for Orlando. Zeller has been less impressively statistically, but he has also shown promise. Although he needs to add some strength if he wants to be a solid starting forward in the league, he has displayed athleticism and activity on the glass. He has also shown that he has the ability to pass for his position. While he won’t be a star, Zeller could be a solid contributor (albeit probably off the bench) down the line for the ‘Cats.

Dakota: As far as Oladipo, one of his biggest negatives is the simple fact that he’s just trying to figure out his game on an extremely young team. Especially on the offensive end, Oladipo is still extremely raw as he’s extremely athletic which is kind of masked by the fact that he’s not a good perimeter shooter. Still, his athleticism and overall play on the defensive end makes him into an extremely intriguing player. As far as Zeller, he’s slowly starting to get adjusted to the pace of the NBA which has lead to him struggling mightily this year.

Doug: +Oladipo Positives: Aggressive scorer, triple double potential, very comfortable with the ball in his hands.

+Oladipo Negatives: Let’s go to special guest commentator Coach Popovich for this one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7or145LgvX0

+Zeller Positives: He’s growing. He looks a little more comfortable every night and you can tell that he hasn’t let his confidence completely shatter in the face of some fans’ unrealistic expectations and brutal criticisms. “Better” players than him have not been able to say the same.

+Zeller Negatives: He doesn’t have an NBA ready body for his position and he’s been getting tossed around a lot on the low block. His awareness on defense is always a question and his decision making when he has the ball in his hands is suspect at best.

3- PICK IT. Two part question: 1) Is this a must win for the Bobcats? 2) Who ya got tonight and why?

Spencer: I believe it is a must win. You look at the upcoming 5 games after tonight: vs. Miami, vs. Toronto, vs. LAC, @ NYK, vs. Chicago – 4 of those 5 are current playoff teams, with the Knicks just on the outside, looking in.

I’m taking Charlotte tonight, but I don’t feel great about it. The team has dropped 7 of their last 8 on the road. To me, a win tonight could propel the Bobcats to an impressive 3-game home stand that’s right around the corner. On the other hand, it could send this team spiraling out of control leading up to the all-star break and back in ‘Club Tank’.

Michael: With Toronto and Brooklyn playing better basketball and the ‘Cats slipping down the standings, tonight’s game against Orlando is as close as you get to a must-win at this point of the season. Charlotte needs a win to keep pace, especially after letting one slip in Philadelphia on Wednesday. This is a winnable game, and the type that the team needs to continue to capitalize on if it wants to make a successful playoff push.  With that being said, I got the Bobcats winning tonight. They should be able to shut down Orlando’s offense enough to at least out pace them.

Dakota: After the recent losing stretch, Charlotte currently sits 9th in the Eastern Conference which kind of leaves them in a weird position. If you’re in favor of the Bobcats going into the playoffs over grabbing a top-notch prospect in the draft than this kind of is a must-win game to try to get back on track. If you’re pro-tank than this is still a crucial game because Orlando is one of the teams who stand in front of us in the NBA draft order.

In terms of who’s going to win tonight’s game, I definitely give the edge to Charlotte.

Doug: Must win? I don’t think so, only because I don’t think we’ll ultimately make the playoffs with the Knicks, Nets and Bulls all finding form. The Magic have lost 9 in a row and we have yet to win a division game. SOMETHING HAS TO GIVE. For whatever reason, we never seem to show up for a game against the Magic. BUT, they will be without Vucevic who was a huge factor in their December win. I’m TORN!!!! Bobcats WIN! You get a pizza, and you get a pizza, and you get a pizza….