The Bobcats will continue the search for any kind of improvement again tonight at home vs Philadelphia. The Sixers lead the league in defensive efficiency and the Bobcats are dead last in offensive efficiency. Is this the recipe for yet another blowout? Our QCH panel attacks some of the angles for tonight’s eastern conference contest.
1- Lou Williams is averaging 15.7 PPG for the Sixers as arguably the most efficient 6th man in the league. What second unit Bobcat will have any chance of slowing him down or will Silas modify rotation in an effort to contain Lou?
Brett Hainline: The Bobcats bench remains thin with injuries, so the task will fall Matt Carroll, Cory Higgins, and the starter Reggie Williams. I don’t see it going well, as none are good defenders at this point – Matt provides effort, but can’t match athleticism, Cory showed defensive promise in college, but is struggling to do the same so far in the pros – and Reggie is a gunner, so he just needs to match Lou point for point when’s on him.
Mathew Lewis: Lou Williams will definitely be a tough cover for the Bobcats tonight. Walker, Williams, and even Maggette will likely be awarded the task of attempting to slow him down at one point or another. Per www.basketball-reference.com, Lou Williams ranks 10th in the League in Win Shares per 48 Minutes, an illuminating statistic which points to why many in Philly felt he should’ve been chosen for the All-Star team.
Bryan Wendland: Silas is going to have to modify the rotation, because there’s not a single Bobcat coming off the bench with a defensive rating less than 110 (besides Diop, who will not be guarding Williams). In fact, there’s only three Bobcats on the entire team with a defensive rating less than 110, and they’re all power foward/center types. Williams is going to tear Charlotte up.
2- Philadelphia leads the league in defensive efficiency (93.7) and Charlotte is dead last in offensive efficiency (91.4). Will the Bobcats get to 75 tonight?
Brett Hainline: Hesitantly, I’ll say yes – two things in the Bobcats favor: Even if they play to type, and score around .9 points per possession, there will still be 90+ possessions in the game, so 81 points. Also, the 76ers are good, the Bobcats aren’t, so if the Sixers get ahead significantly, there could be a drop in defensive intensity, allowing the Bobcats to score a little more freely.
Mathew Lewis: Yes, but barely. Philadelphia plays at 4th slowest pace in the NBA, so if the Bobcats relinquish the tempo-battle they may have an even tougher time eclipsing the threshold.
Bryan Wendland: Yes, but just because the Sixers will be up so much in by fourth quarter, their starters will get to watch the rest of the game from the bench. More than 85, though? Not happening.
3- Four of the last six losses for the Bobcats have been by 25+ points and the past two losses (both at home) have also been by 25+ deficits. If Charlotte is blown out, embarrassed and deflated once again tonight in front of a home crowd should Paul Silas’ officially be in jeopardy?
Brett Hainline: No. Silas has been starting either Byron Mullens or Bismack Biyombo at center for much of the year, with one an offensive intrigue and the other defensive, with little skill overlap. He is currently without his starting point guard (D.J. Augustin) and starting shooting guard (Gerald Henderson), and has only had his starting small forward (Corey Maggette) and sixth man (Reggie Williams) for a handful of games all season, with little overlap. On a rebuilding team, the volume of injuries has taken the Bobcats from a bad team to horrible – and that’s not on Silas.
Mathew Lewis: Yes. The Bobcats will employ a new head coach by the start of next season, so might as well get it over with now. Will another voice in the huddle lead to significant improvements this season? Maybe not, but I think the symbolism is important. It sends the message that the current level of performance is unacceptable – regardless of the team’s limitations.
Bryan Wendland: Not only have four of the six past losses been blowouts, but according to the Elias Sports Bureau, they just became the first team ever to lose two consecutive home games by at least 25 points. That’s pathetic. It’s not Silas’s fault the team is so horrible talent-wise. Between youth, injuries and apparently past-their-prime veterans, this Bobcats team was doomed from the start. Still, if this team keeps getting blown out it’ll become a matter of pride and effort. If the coach can’t get his players to go hard every night and play like the want to win, there’s really nothing else to do besides fire him. Still, whoever the ‘Cats hire would probably coach the season on an interim basis and be shipped out after it’s over anyway.
- The Bobcats will once again be without D.J. Augustin (inflamed toe) and Gerald Henderson (strained right hamstring) tonight, but Corey Maggette will start again tonight in his third game back since being out one month.
- The Sixers are expected to be without center Spencer Hawes (strained left Achilles). Hawes is averaging 10.5 PPG and 8.3 RPG this season.
- This will be the Bobcats final home game before they set off for another road trip- three games that include visits @ Minnesota, Toronto & Indiana.