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Game 51 Preview: Bobcats at Raptors

Who: Toronto Raptors vs Charlotte Bobcats

What: NBA Basketball – Raptors Home Game

When: 04/03/2012 at 7pm eastern

Where: Live at an ice castle north of the USA

The Matchup:

Record Offensive
Toronto 18-35 99.6 (24) 103.9 (19) 91.2 (24)
Charlotte 7-43 94.5 (30) 108.0 (30) 92.7 (17)

Previous Meetings:
2/17/12 – 98-91 Charlotte – RecapBoxscore

3/17/12 – 107-103 Charlotte – Boxscore

Toronto: None
Charlotte: Corey Maggette – Out

Starting Lineups

Raptors Bobcats
PG Jose Calderon Kemba Walker
SG Demar DeRozan Gerald Henderson
SF James Johnson Reggie Williams
PF Andrea Bargnani Bismack Biyombo
C Aaron Gray Byron Mullens
6th Man Amir Johnson Derrick Brown

3-on-3 TrueHoop NetworkThe Raptors have already lost twice to the Bobcats this season – let’s see if bad things really do come in threes.

1. Coach Paul Silas will probably have Byron Mullens and Reggie Williams in the starting lineup for the second game in a row. He also plans to add Kemba Walker to that mix tonight. In the Bobcats last game at Detroit, Mullens went off for 20 points, nine rebounds and two blocks, Williams scored 17 points on 50 percent shooting, and Walker came off the bench to score five points and dish out seven assists in 17 minutes. Of the three, who needs to have the best game for the Bobcats to get back on the winning track?

Bryan: All three have to play well, but Charlotte needs Kemba to come through in this one (and in the rest of them, too). If a team’s floor general is in a funk, that team most likely will follow suit. D.J. Augustin finally had a solid game against Detroit with 16 points and 10 rebounds, and the ‘Cats almost (and should have) pulled out a win. The ‘Cats definitely have a chance against Toronto, but Kemba needs to bring his A-game.

Mathew: Mullens. Mullens will more than likely be matched up with Andrea Bargnani, Toronto’s Dirk-lite, the majority of the night. Mullens is more comfortable away from the basket, as is Bargnani. If Mullens can assert himself defensively and limit Bargnani on the offensive end it will go a long way towards earning a W tonight.

2. Even though this game is between two teams with a combined 25-78 record, there are some intriguing individual match-ups to watch tonight. The aforementioned Mullens going against the Raptors’ stretch-big, Andrea Bargnani, Bismack Biyombo and Amir Johnson, and the raw, but talented Walker vs the technically polished Jose Calderon. Which of those match-ups will have the biggest affect on the game’s outcome?

Bryan: I’m excited to watch Mullens and Bargnani go at it. I assume it will look something like a slow motion, medieval-style duel when either of them catches the ball, resulting in a sad flurry of deep two-pointers and misguided long range blasts that hasn’t been seen since the first time these two teams met (the teams combined to shoot 8-31 from behind the arch).

Mathew: Mullens vs. Bargnani. I could just copy and paste from above, but I’m better than that (though only slightly). Despite Calderon’s most productive season as a pro, Bargnani is Toronto’s best player and the proverbial engine that drives their offense. If Bargnani handily wins this matchup tonight the Bobcats will have a difficult time notching their third win over the Raptors.

3. The last time the Bobcats got a win, the Raptors were the team walking off the floor in defeat. In fact, Charlotte is undefeated against Toronto in two games played this season. Do the ‘Cats keep the streak alive and make it three in-a-row against their Cretaceous period foes, or do the Raptors best the Bobcats north of the border tonight?

Bryan: In a battle between a carnivorous feline and a relatively massive reptilian beast, the smart money would bet on the latter. In a basketball game between a 7-43 team and a 15-35 team, the smart money would probably bet on a different game. If Mullens can build on his performance against detroit, and Kemba can run the point efficiently, the Bobcats will win… And I think they will.

Mathew: Bargnani (noticing a theme) was out due to injury the first time these two teams matched up, while he was relatively ineffective in 28 minutes when the Bobcats earned their second win over the Raptors less than a month ago. I think the third time’s a charm for the Raptors in Toronto tonight, as the likelihood the Bobcats defeat a team in all three season matchups has to defy some law of physics or the like.