Who: Charlotte Bobcats vs Atlanta Hawks
What: NBA Basketball – Bobcats Home Game
When: 7:00 PM ET
Where: Live at Time Warner Cable Arena, Charlotte, NC
|Charlotte||3-3||94.8 (28)||101.2 (17)||94.8 (27)|
|Atlanta||3-3||103.5 (6)||103.5 (24)||100.7(10)|
Charlotte: Al Jefferson (Questionable)
|PG||Kemba Walker||Jeff Teague|
|SG||Gerald Henderson||Kyle Korver|
|SF||Michael Kidd-Gilchrist||DeMarre Carroll|
|PF||Josh McRoberts||Paul Millsap|
|C||Bismack Biyombo||Al Horford|
|6th Man||Ramon Sessions||Cartier Martin|
1- STATS. The Hawks are top-10 in offensive efficiency so far this season and they’re doing it by playing fast — currently 8th (100.7) in PACE. Charlotte’s style isn’t fast so far this season (27th; 94.8 in PACE), but will ATL’s style speed this game up tonight and does that mean edge Hawks?
Brett Hainline: With Al Horford manning the middle for the Hawks, the Bobcats will need to push the pace a bit themselves, to get some easy baskets in transition. Between the Hawk’s style and their own needs, I would expect this game to move at a faster pace – and more possessions favors the better team, by reducing randomness, so advantage: Hawks.
Mathew Lewis: Teams that are not strong defensively tend to struggle even more so in transition, so I would expect the Hawks to push the tempo and try to catch the Bobcats’ defenders out of place for some easy buckets.
Peter Haley (PodCats/TDBsports.com): I don’t know. The Bobcats play extremely well when they push the ball. Both Kemba Walker and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist are very effective on the fast break, and several of Josh McRoberts’ 3PT have come as a result of being the trailing man on breaks. It’s not Steve Clifford’s style to push his offense, so if he sticks to his guns, the Bobcats could get overrun.
2- PAUL MILLSAP. Millsap is currently 7th in the NBA in PER at 27.33, so it’s clear that the guy is one of the most efficient players in the league so far this season. It’s going to be a real problem for McRoberts to match up with this guy tonight, right?
Brett: Even once Millsap settles back into his career norm around a PER of 20, he’s a problem for McRoberts – able to shoot from the perimeter and drive to the basket from the 4 spot. McRobert’s will have trouble staying close away from the basket, as lateral quickness is not a strength (funny how players can be explosive leapers, but slow side to side).
Mathew: Millsap is one of the most underrated players in the league and was an absolute steal by Hawks’ GM Danny Ferry in the offseason. So yes, McRoberts will have his hands full on the defensive end tonight. Hopefully McBob can limit Millsap’s attempts around the basket by inducing a few mid-range jumpers instead.
Peter: Paul Millsap is a matchup problem for whomever is guarding him. McRoberts is an average defender, and Millsap will get his points. Al Horford will, too. The real key will be limiting what Jeff Teague does on the offensive end, particularly on pick and rolls. If Jefferson is back, that could cause problems on the defensive end.
3- PICK IT. Bobcats are coming off a disappointing loss to NYK on Friday, but have an opportunity to right the ship tonight at home. Possible with their starting center Al Jefferson back as well. Who you got?
Brett: While the return of the head coach may provide a bit of a boost, the Bobcats really haven’t had a chance to play much with Jefferson on the court, so while his return is a boost in the long term, I expect growing pains as the team has to shift roles a bit to accommodate him. Plus, Jefferson is likely to be a bit rusty and going against a very good defensive big in Horford is not an easy way to return. I pick the Hawks.
Mathew: The Bobcats have been a see-saw team this year so coming off a loss in a weird way seems to point to a solid effort tonight. The Hawks starting five provides a formidable challenge, although they are not a particularly deep team. If the Bobcats can somehow manage to get either of their bigs in foul trouble it will certainly increase their chances at getting a win. Give me the home team.
Peter: The loss to NY was disappointing, but it’s always going to be tough when your opponent shoots 12-26 on 3PT and only turns the ball over 10 times. I think having Clifford back will be an encouragement to the team, and getting off to a good start in the Southeast Division is something the Bobcats know they need to do. With the addition of Jefferson, I see Charlotte winning tonight.