Boston at Charlotte
Time Warner Cable Arena
Boston: 108.9 points/100 possessions (11th)
Charlotte: 97.6 points/100 possessions (28th)
Boston: 99.5 points allowed/100 possessions (3rd)
Charlotte: 97.4 points allowed/100 possessions (1st)
Probable Charlotte starters: Stephen Jackson, Gerald Wallace, Boris Diaw, Raymond Felton, Tyson Chandler
WHAT THE BOBCATS DO WELL
Say it with me now. DEFENSE (CLAP, CLAP) DEFENSE
If I told you the Charlotte Bobcats were the best defensive team in the league right now, you’d probably say I was crazy. Well I haven’t seen this team live since their opening night beating in Beantown last month, but the numbers indicate that the Bobcats may be the best defensive team in the league right now.
Larry Brown also has his teams play tough D but he has this young athletic squad harassing their opponents to no end when they have the ball. I’ll simply let the numbers do the talking for me here.
Opponents 3 point shooting percentage: 43.4 (2nd in league)
Opponents FG Percentage: 30.7 (3rd in league)
PPG Allowed: 87.9 (1st in league)
Defensive Rating: 1st in league
Who knew right? This didn’t quite come out of nowhere with the Bobcats having the 7th best defensive rating in the league last year, but I can say I was surprised to see how impressive these numbers were while researching this preview. The Bobcats also rank in the top 6 of the league in all four defensive factors.
Getting to the line
This is more of a recent development with the addition of Stephen Jackson 7 games ago, but the team has vastly improved in getting to the line lately with the addition of the former Warrior to the starting lineup. Luckily, that’s really the only thing they do well offensively which brings us to…
Giving the Celtics tough games
It may seem foolish to think about, especially after the C’s massacred them in their home opener last month, but the Bobcats have been a thorn in the C’s side winning 2 of the 8 matchups against the Green since start of The Big Three era. Those 2 wins really should be 4 as the Bobcats gave away two of those games in the closing moments. All in all the Bobcats have had a penchant to give Boston tough fights, especially down in Charlotte. Be forewarned.
WHAT THE BOBCATS DO POORLY
Shooting the basketball
That’s a pretty big generalization there Brian, don’t you think? There are a lot of ways to shoot the ball in basketball. Well yes there is, and the Bobcats are terrible at each one of them. Once again, I will step aside and let the numbers do the talking here, since they are just as impressive as the defensive ones…except for the opposite reasons.
FG Percentage: 42.8% (29th)
3 Point Percentage: 28.7% (28th)
FT Shooting Percentage: 70% (30th)
Those are some deplorable numbers right there. We knew this all ready though after their 59 point performance back in Boston.
Handle The Basketball
Luckily for the C’s, the Bobcats are well rounded in their dreadfulness at the offensive end as they maintain the worst turnover rate in the league. To give them credit, this has improved during their recent 4 game winning streak but their overall ballhandling is still a major weakness.
PLAYERS WHO MAKES ME WORRY
Gerald Wallace and Stephen Jackson
Wallace is the reigning Eastern Conference Player of the Week coming off a terrific stretch during the team’s 4 game winning streak. With the arrival of Stephen Jackson from Golden State, the Bobcats have inserted him into the lineup as a big 2 guard, to go along with a large swingman in the 6’7’’ Wallace who can play a lot of PF as well.
This big lineup will be a tough matchup for Paul Pierce and Ray Allen to guard these taller players as Charlotte has tended to post Jackson a lot in the post. Wallace has also been an animal on the boards, ranking 3rd in the league with 10.9 rebounds per game so the Celtics will have to keep a body on him down low all night.
PLAYER/S WHO DO NOT WORRY ME
I look forward to seeing the more athletic Kendrick Perkins eat Chandler up down low on both ends of the floor.
WHAT WE WANT TO SEE FROM THE C’S
Get out and run, early and often
What do you do against a great defensive team? Don’t let them get set. The Bobcats love to take the air out of the ball and get tangled up in a half court game (28th pace in league), where they can shut you down. It will be crucial for the team’s spark plug Rajon Rondo to get out and running against these guys and force the tempo to get the C’s some good looks in transition. We saw a lot of this from Rondo in Miami on Sunday, hopefully he can keep it up tonight.
* Prediction: Like I mentioned earlier, the Bobcats always give the C’s a close game and I expect no different tonight with their 4 game winning streak on the line. Luckily for the C’s they are riding a hot streak themselves and have the offensive pieces in place to give Charlotte’s defense problems. Talent wins out here. Celtics 93, Bobcats 89 A nice stroll down memory lane for everyone before we head out here. Enjoy.