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Game #9: Bobcats @ Cavs 2-on-2 Preview

Who: Cleveland Cavaliers vs Charlotte Bobcats

What: NBA Basketball – Cavaliers Home Game

When: 7:30 PM ET

Where: Live at Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, OH

The Matchup:

Record Offensive
Cleveland 3-6 92.7 (29) 101.9 (16) 97.6 (15)
Charlotte 4-4 94.7 (28) 100.6 (10) 95.0 (25)

Previous Meetings:
11/1/13 – Bobcats 90-84 — Recap

Cleveland: Andrew Bynum (OUT), Carrick Felix (OUT)

Starting Lineups

Cavaliers Bobcats
PG Kyrie Irving Kemba Walker
SG Dion Waiters Gerald Henderson
SF Alonzo Gee Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
PF Tristan Thompson Josh McRoberts
C Anderson Varejao Al Jefferson
6th Man Tyler Zeller Ramon Sessions

3-on-3 TrueHoop Network 1- STATS. The wins that these teams have come across this season have resulted from defense + rebounding, because both are horrifically inefficient shooting the ball. Charlotte is 28th in true shooting % at 49.2 vs. Cleveland’s 48.7% (dead last). Is this going to be an uglier game than Wednesday night in Boston?

Spencer: Whew, it’s possible, but I doubt it. You have one player who traditionally just makes the game of basketball appear as a fine art – Kyrie Irving. Irving alone will make this game more bearable to the eyes, but don’t shun the stats – both of these clubs have been a nightmare offensively. Charlotte has now gotten Al Jefferson back to 100% health, presumably, so that will hopefully pay dividends in the scoring department over time. The Cavs have to get Irving going if they want to improve on the offensive numbers and open up the floor for everyone else.

Mathew: I don’t think so. Both teams are not quite as poor on the offensive side of the ball as they have shown to date this season. Conversely, I don’t know if either of them are truly the type of defensive teams that the numbers bear out so far. Therefore, I look for a little bit of convergence tonight with the offenses looking a bit sharper.

2- PG WOES? Kyrie has gotten off to a rough start this season — currently shooting 38.6% from the floor + is sporting a 46.6 TS% (48th among PG’s). Kemba has been worse — 35.2 FG% + 43.7 TS% (55th among PG’s). This is too small of a sample size and too early to panic, right?

Spencer: As I sift through the stats, I can’t find a true outlier that explains why Irving is struggling so much other than the fact that defenses have all eyes on him. After going back and reviewing the film from Cleveland’s game in Minnesota on Wednesday night, the T’Wolves were all in on forcing Irving into outside shots. ICE (force away from pick) the PnR’s + be very aware of the gaps when the ball is in his hands – the Wolves executed this nicely.

Kemba is not shooting the ball with any confidence right now. That, as much as anything else, is contributing to his ineffectiveness from the field currently. In Boston on Wednesday Kemba was short on most of his jumpers and settled for a bunch – had open looks, but as the ball came out of his hands it’s as if he knew it wasn’t going in. Note: It’s unreal how many offensive rebounds Charlotte came down with towards the end of the game on Wednesday to hang on for the win.

Mathew: Yes and yes. Both will be fine, though it’s not unreasonable for both players to take a look at their respective games to see why they have struggled so much to date. Much of it is likely variance (randomness), but there are also some things that both can probably do better moving forward to improve upon their performances (Kemba is shooting .235 on 3PA’s, for example).

3- PICK IT. As ugly as the Bobcats have played since hosting NYK at home last Friday, they’ve still managed to start 4-4. Charlotte won the first matchup between these two in the Queen City earlier this season. Do the Cavs even it up tonight?

Spencer: It’s hard for me not to take Cleveland at home. Charlotte has just simply looked too brutal offensively for me to justify picking them to win their second straight road game. Again tonight, it’s going to take an above average defensive, taking care of the ball and rebounding effort for the Bobcats to squeak out a W.

Mathew: I think they do. The Cavs got blown out on the road on Wednesday night so I expect them to show up against the Bobcats. The Cavs are “supposed” to make the playoffs this year so the thought of falling to 3-7 via a loss to the Bobcats should put some fear in them. Give me the desperate team tonight.