Game #69: Bobcats @ Nets - Sixth seed still in sight; Must-win tonight? NEW PODCATS TOO! -

Game #69: Bobcats @ Nets – Sixth seed still in sight; Must-win tonight? NEW PODCATS TOO!

Who: Brooklyn Nets vs Charlotte Bobcats

What: NBA Basketball – Nets Home Game

When: 7:30 PM ET

Where: Live at Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY

The Matchup:

Record Offensive
Efficiency
Defensive
Efficiency
Pace
Brooklyn 34-31 103.4 (15) 103.9 (14) 94.0 (26)
Charlotte 33-35 100.1 (24) 101.3 (6) 95.2 (21)

Injuries:
Brooklyn: Kevin Garnett (OUT), Brook Lopez (OUT)
Charlotte: Brendan Haywood (OUT), Jeffery Taylor (OUT)

Starting Lineups

Nets Bobcats
PG Deron Williams Kemba Walker
SG Shaun Livingston Gerald Henderson
SF Joe Johnson Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
PF Paul Pierce Josh McRoberts
C Mason Plumlee Al Jefferson
6th Man Andray Blatche Gary Neal

The Bobcats suffered a tough loss to the Hawks at home on Monday night, but short memory is now key. Tonight is a very important game if Charlotte realistically wants a chance to escape the seventh and eighth seeds (AKA: stuck playing Indiana or Miami) in the east. Not only that, but after the Hawks win at home last night against Toronto, Atlanta is now just one-game behind Charlotte for the seventh seed.

Last night, Doug Branson, Peter Haley and myself discussed the Bobcats chances of getting to the sixth seed and what tonight’s game means in order for that to happen. LISTEN to last night’s show here.

We’re going to tackle one burning question for today’s preview:

Charlotte has an enormous game in Brooklyn tonight if they want to stay alive in the race for the sixth seed in the eastern conference. So, that being said, does it make tonight’s game a must-win?

Spencer: Brooklyn has been a way different team since the all-star break – in the past 20 games Brooklyn is 14-6 overall. The Nets have been better offensively in the past 20 – 104.2 offensive efficiency (+0.8 season avg.), but the real difference has come on the defensive end – 100.6 defensive efficiency (-3.3 season avg.). This is a veteran centric Brooklyn team, so their improvement on the defensive end basically just tells me that these guys decided to start playing harder.

Tonight is a very important game for the Bobcats. As far as a must-win? I think it all depends on what you really believe this teams ceiling is – if you think they’re better than the Nets and deserve the sixth seed, then yes, it’s a must-win. I don’t personally believe the Bobcats are as dangerous in the post-season as Brooklyn is and will ultimately end up with the seventh seed, facing off with Miami in round-one. So, no, I don’t think tonight is a must-win. However, the teams performance must be improved from Monday night – that was kind of pathetic.

Greg: If they’d won against Atlanta, there would probably be a little less pressure. At this point, they need to win consistently just to maintain their current spot at seventh in the playoff rankings. Tonight’s game should be very interesting, as it’s a great dry run for the playoffs: on the road, against a good, veteran opponent, with seeding on the line. Another dud like Monday’s loss would be pretty discouraging.

Michael: Tonight’s game against Brooklyn is basically a must-win for Charlotte. If they want to enter the playoffs and match up with someone other than Miami or Indiana, then they need to hold onto the sixth seed. The Nets have been playing some of the best basketball since January 1st, and are looking to continue to build momentum. A steady dose of Al Jefferson early and often should keep Brooklyn busy and give Charlotte a shot. So while a loss wouldn’t end their season, a win is very important for playoff positioning.