BY SAM LACHOW
After two days off since beating the New Orleans Pelicans, the Brooklyn Nets host the Charlotte Bobcats, seeking revenge after a 95-91 loss to the Bobcats in November. Here’s how they match up.
|6-4||Last 10 Games||6-4|
|103||Points scored per 100 possessions||98.8|
|104.7||Points allowed per 100 possessions||101.0|
|94||Possessions per game||95.2|
|45%||Field goal percentage||43.7%|
|Joe Johnson (15.3)||Top Scorer||Al Jefferson (20.3)|
Projected starting lineup: Kemba Walker, Gerald Henderson, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Josh McRoberts, Al Jefferson
The Bobcats, like most teams in the Eastern Conference, benefit from the Eastern Conference being awful. Though they’re currently the 8th seed in the East, the Bobcats are still seven games under .500 and would be tied for the 12th seed in the Western Conference. Led by new coach Steve Clifford, the Bobcats allow just 97.1 points per game, ranking 4th in the NBA, and allow the sixth-fewest points per 100 possessions in the league. Remember, Clifford was the assistant coach in Orlando during the Dwight Howard years.
While the Bobcats have one of the worst offenses in basketball, they somehow have managed to turn the ball over less than any other team in the league: just 13.3 percent of the time. It’s not that the Bobcats offense is in control, but stagnant and inactive. For the Nets, it’s essential that they simply play tough defense on Jefferson and Walker because those are the Bobcats two biggest offensive threats.
While Kevin Garnett has been playing great defense since January 1st, he is going to have his hands full with Jefferson, an incredibly skilled offensive big man. Jefferson is on a tear, averaging nearly 27 points and over 12 rebounds per game in his last ten games. It may be necessary for the Nets to use an aggressive rebounder and defender such as Reggie Evans to front Al Jefferson, when Garnett sits.
Here’s a look at some of the ways Jefferson can score in the post:
After the Nets great play against the Pelicans, it would be hard to pick against them for this home game against the Bobcats. While the Bobcats have been playing solid basketball recently, Sunday’s game against the Pelicans was one of Brooklyn’s best performances. It will be interesting to see whether coach Jason Kidd decides to use Mason Plumlee more, given his great play against Anthony Davis. A win against the Bobcats would give the Nets some momentum for their showdown against the rival Bulls at the United Center on Thursday.