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SEASON OPENER: Bobcats vs Pacers- 3-on-3 Preview

Who: Charlotte Bobcats vs Indiana Pacers

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 7-59 93.8 (30) 108.9 (30) 92.4 (19)
Indiana 42-24 104.8 (6) 101.2 (10) 92.4 (18)

Meetings Last Season:
1/2/12 – 99-77 Indiana – Boxscore

2/19/12 – 108-73 Indiana – Boxscore

2/22/12 – 102-88 Indiana – Boxscore

Charlotte: None
Indiana: Danny Granger (knee)

Starting Lineups

Bobcats Pacers
PG Kemba Walker George Hill
SG Gerald Henderson Gerald Green
SF Michael Kidd-Gilchrist Paul George
PF Byron Mullens David West
C Brendan Haywood Roy Hibbert
6th Man D.J. Augustin

3-on-3 TrueHoop Network

Tonight the Bobcats finally open their season at home against the Indiana Pacers, a team who pushed the Heat to a six game series just last season in the eastern conference semifinals. Tonight, the Pacers will be without their proverbial leader Danny Granger. Granger has suffered a knee injury during the pre-season and is out indefinitely. The Bobcats, on the other hand, are a mystery to everyone. Most of the fan base will be laying their first eyes on the team for the first time this year since none of the pre-season games were aired in the Carolinas. Charlotte will have 2 new starters from one season ago in rookie Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and veteran center Brendan Haywood. The Bobcats will also unveil many new faces such as Ben Gordon, Ramon Sessions and Jeffery Taylor. Nobody knows quite what to expect from this team out of the gates, but be rest assured that this new Bobcats team will provide more defensive pressure, sharing of the basketball, up-tempo style play, and overall a higher energy product. If you ask me, that’s going to lead to some really high high’s and some really low low’s to begin the season.

Tim Donohue from the Indiana Pacers ESPN TrueHoop Network blog ‘8 Points 9 Seconds’ joins us to answer some questions leading up to tonight’s game in the Cable Box.

1- OPINION. In Danny Granger’s absence David West carried Indiana on Wednesday night in Toronto with 25 points on 12-19 shooting. Tonight, West will have a favorable match-up with Mullens defending him- Mully has improved with the headiness aspect of being a defender, but we’re all expecting him to have his way against Lord Byron, right?

Spencer Percy: I can’t jump on the bandwagon that suggests Mullens has drastically improved defensively until I have a large sample to prove it. If the Pacers feed West like they did the other night in Toronto, then yes, I do believe West will have his way. If West gets going early expect Dunlap to throw some different defensive looks at him such as Biyombo and Tyrus. Side note- it will be interesting to see just how much full court pressure Dunlap throws at Indiana tonight.

Brett Hainline: David West is going to have a good night.  His strength will be tough for Bryon to match, his veteran, savvy offensive game will cause problems for Bismack, and until Tyrus proves otherwise, he’ll just foul too often to stay on the floor.  But it will be interesting to see if Byron puts forth more effort defensively – too often last season, Byron played token defense.

Tim Donohue: I expect West to have success when the Pacers go to him, but it’s an option question as to the frequency of that. A side effect of the Pacers’ touted “balance” is that players will occasionally be “forgotten.” That being said, I could see what played out last night becoming a recurring scenario – Paul George and Roy Hibbert being the top options through 3, but the fourth quarter offense revolving around West in the post and PnR. I like his chances against Mullens in these scenarios.

2- FACT or FICTION. The Pacers were 47.4% from the floor on Wednesday night in Toronto. That number will rise to 50% or above tonight against a Bobcats team that was worst in the league in defensive efficiency last season.

Spencer: FACT. I mean how can I say that they won’t improve on a 47.4% mark that they put up on defensive guru Dwayne Casey. It’s only one game though, and tonight’s game is likely going to be more up-tempo. We’ll see if that plays into the favor of Charlotte or not. If the Bobcats are able to play some full court press and not give up easy baskets, forcing Indiana to work with short shot clocks then they have a chance.

Brett: FACT.  Defense typically reigns early in the season, but…the Bobcats have a lot of new pieces, a new coach, and were terrible defensively last year.

Tim: FICTION. The Pacers were not a high percentage shooting team last year, and probably won’t be this year. It’s a cynical way to look at, but a good chunk of their (way-too-many) 19 turnovers probably prevented missed shots. Indiana only had 13 games over 50% last season. HOWEVER, three of them were against Charlotte, so…

3- PICK IT. In D.J. Augustin’s first time back in Time Warner Cable Arena since being lost via free agency this summer to Indiana, who takes the first of four meetings between these two teams this season, and why?
Spencer: Pacers. They will weather the crazy defensive looks that Dunlap and the Cats’ throw at them. Experienced teams usually figure it out over the span of 48 minutes, so that’s what I’m going with. I expect this to be a competitive game, though.
Brett: With Danny Granger out, the Bobcats odds are improved.  And the team is really pushing for a big crowd, with half off concessions.  I’m going to say the Bobcats stop their losing streak before national attention ratchets up on the potential history, with Ben Gordon and Ramon Sessions playing big minutes in the second half to get the win.
Tim: DJ Augustin shot 40.7% inside 8 feet last season. In his Pacer debut, he was 0-for-3. Despite that, I expect the Pacers to pick up another win. The Pacers (should be) pretty good. The Bobcats (probably will be) bad to pretty bad. Until new evidence is introduced, this is the type of game the Pacers can and should win.