Team Records: Portland (7-10) at Charlotte (7-8)
Game Info: 4 PM-TV on CSNNW, Radio on 1190 AM and 102.3 FM
Vegas Line: Charlotte -1.5
Refs: Tony Brothers, Tre Maddox, Michael Smith.
The Skinny: Nicolas Batum saved the day and ended a four game losing streak with that amazing shot to give Portland the 2 OT win over the Cavs Sunday night. The Blazers now look to build off on that with a visit to one of the NBA’s early surprises, the Charlotte Bobcats. After setting an NBA record for worst winning percentage last season, the Bobcats have already equaled last season’s win total and look to be building a heck of a lot faster than one would’ve thought.
Last Season: The Blazers won the only matchup between the two teams, which took place in Portland.
Projected Bobcats Lineup:
PF-Byron Mullens (Ohio State-4th Season) 12.9 PPG, 8.2 RPG, 1.2 APG.
SF-Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (Kentucky-Rookie)-10.9 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 1.5 APG.
C-Brendan Haywood (North Carolina-12th Season)-6.4 PPG, 7 RPG, .6 APG
SG-Jeffery Taylor (Vanderbilt-Rookie)-8/1 PPG, 2.3 RPG, .8 APG.
PG-Kemba Walker (Connecticut-2nd Season)-16.3 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 5.9 APG.
Player to Watch-Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (pictured at right)-Sure the Bobcats wanted his teammate Anthony Davis but MKG isn’t a bad backup plan. He has quickly established himself as a strong defensive presence with a high motor who is tough and aggressive at all times. On offense, MKG does a good job drawing fouls and scoring close to the rim, even if his outside shot needs a little work. Still, much like Charlotte as a whole, he has developed far more quickly than would have been thought and with his physical gifts, if he is this solid now, give him a few years and he could be a star.
Did You Know?: The Bobcats are the only current NBA team to have never won a playoff game. They were swept in their only playoff appearance.
Song of the Day: “The Anthem” by Good Charlotte. Yes, Good Charlotte is not actually from Charlotte (they’re from Maryland) but it’s a good one. Enjoy:
Portland: Out-SG Elliot Williams (Achilles)
Charlotte: Out-PF Tyrus Thomas (Calf), Questionable-SG Gerald Henderson (Foot).
Yes Charlotte has a good record and yes they have grown more quickly than one would have thought be in a sense, all of that is a mirage. Charlotte has won lots of close games, going 4-1 in games decided by 3 or less and has feasted on weak opponents, going 6-3 versus teams below .500. Statistically, neither their offense nor their defense is that impressive. Offensively, they struggle to score at times, seemingly going too fast for their own good and too often settling for outside shots. They do, however, do a good job getting to the line, ranking among the league leaders in free throws attempted. On defense, the outlook is a little better, but not much. Charlotte has the worst defensive rebounding percentage in the league, meaning they allow opponents way too many second chance opportunities. They may not allow a high percentage but they give up a lot of shots, and thus they can be beaten if you willing to crash the glass. Bottom line, the Bobcats are better but probably by not as much as their record indicates.
The Bottom Line:
Portland wins if: They score 100 points. The Bobcats are not a great offensive team and so if Portland can top the century mark, they should win.
Charlotte wins if: They outrebound Portland. This is not likely to happen but if it does, it will be a sign Charlotte is in control and will probably come out with a win.