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Game #71: Bobcats vs. Rockets Preview

Who: Charlotte Bobcats vs Houston Rockets

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 34-36 100.6 (23) 101.4 (6) 95.1 (21)
Houston 47-22 108.5 (4) 102.5 (10) 98.3 (7)

Charlotte: Brendan Haywood (OUT), Jeffery Taylor (OUT)
Houston: Dwight Howard (Questionable), Greg Smith (OUT), Francisco Garcia (OUT)

Starting Lineups

Bobcats Rockets
PG Kemba Walker Patrick Beverley
SG Gerald Henderson James Harden
SF Michael Kidd-Gilchrist Chandler Parsons
PF Josh McRoberts Terrence Jones
C Al Jefferson Omer Asik
6th Man Gary Neal Jeremy Lin

The Rockets have followed up their three-game losing streak with a three-game winning streak and appear to be back on track – in their past five games Houston is firing threes from all over the floor – to a tune of 29.4 3FGA/game, making 11/game (37.4%) in this five-game stretch.

Guarding the three-point line will obviously be extremely important in slowing down a potent Rockets offense tonight and Charlotte did a great job against another dangerous three-point shooting team, Portland, on Saturday night – 9-of-27 (33%).

How were the Bobcats successful against Portland defensively on Saturday night and is the model for keeping Houston at bay exactly the same?

Spencer: Controlling dribble-penetration is very important against any team that can really spread the floor and shoot it. Charlotte did a nice job of corralling Damian Lilliard on Saturday, but Houston is a little bit of a different animal. Patrick Beverley, one of the quicker guards in the league. James Harden, a guy who is better at getting to whatever spot he wants on the floor than anyone else in the association. Jeremy Lin, well, LINSANITY! Point is, Charlotte has their work cut out for them to keep the basketball in front tonight – I really think it’s the key to having an impressive defensive performance.

I just want to touch on the opportunity that the Bobcats have tonight – back-to-back wins over Portland and Houston would not only send a message to the upper-tier of the eastern conference, but also give the team the momentum they need going into a huge matchup with Brooklyn on Wednesday.

The Rockets could be without D12 for the fourth straight game and this would certainly open the flood gates up for Jefferson. I like the Bobcats to keep the momentum going tonight — 105-102 Charlotte.

Greg: The Blazers took about as many threes on Saturday as they usually do (27 vs. an average of 25.1 on the season), but Charlotte was able to make the looks more difficult. The Bobcats successfully cramped Portland’s ball movement, keeping them significantly below their season average in assists and forcing a larger percentage of their threes to come off the dribble. If they can do the same against the Rockets, it couldn’t hurt: more of their three-pointers are assisted than Portland, and restricting passes is always a plus.