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Keys to Beat Bucks, Nets & Celtics

By Mark Kern
March 22, 2012

Gerald Henderson vs. Monta Ellis

On the season, Henderson is averaging 14.1 points, 4.1 rebounds and 2.1 assists. In his last two games, he is playing even better, averaging 19 points on 16-of-24 (66.7 percent) shooting… Henderson has the ability to score in many different ways. He has a solid mid-range game, but he is at his best when the Bobcats get on the break and allow him to make plays at the rim… He will be matched up with a player that plays very similar to him… Monta Ellis has fit in well with the Bucks, averaging 16 points in two games thus far. Ellis is one of the most explosive players in the league, with incredible quickness and leaping ability… An advantage for Henderson is that he is an inch taller, more importantly, has 30 pounds on Ellis… Look for the Bobcats to get the ball to him on the post early and often. He has a solid post game, and when he has the size matchup, he showed he can dominate as he did against J.J. Redick… Ellis is going to get his points, but the key for Henderson will be to make him work hard for them and to force him to play defense.

Tyrus Thomas vs. Kris Humphries
Since being inserted back into the starting lineup, Tyrus Thomas is averaging 10.3 points and 4.0 rebounds and is another defensive presence to team up with Bismack Biyombo. On the season, Thomas is averaging 1.4 blocks, which would rank in the top 30 if he had played in enough games…. Thomas will need to play good defense against Humphries, who is providing the Nets a post presence down low with the absence to Brook Lopez…. On the season, Humphries is averaging 13.3 points and 11 rebounds and has had at least 11 rebounds in four of his last five games… The offensive glass is where Humphries will do most of his damage. For a big guy, he also has a sweet stroke from the free-throw line, hitting 74 percent of his attempts… In three games against the Bobcats, Humphries averages 13.0 points and 12.6 rebounds… Thomas will need to keep him off the glass and look to pull Humphries away from the basket.

Bismack Biyombo vs. Kevin Garnett
Bismack Biyombo has shown that when he gets matched up with some of the league’s best, he can more than hold his own. In two starts against Dwight Howard, Biyombo averaged 12.5 rebounds, 10.5 points and 5.5 blocks… Biyombo has made huge strides this season, especially on the offensive end. He has shown off a hook shot as well as a jump shot that is getting better everyday. However, Biyombo’s staple is on the defensive end… He currently ranks ninth in the NBA in blocked shots with 1.83, while only averaging 19.5 minutes per game.. Biyombo will be looked upon to have a huge defensive game, where he will be matched up with one of the best power forwards of all-time… Critics have said that he is getting too old, but Garnett has averaged 18.6 points and 8.2 rebounds in the past five games and is showing he might be ready for another late-season run… On the offensive end, Garnett is the kind of player that has given Biyombo some problems this season. He is very crafty and can hit the 18-foot jump shot as well as any big in the league. Biyombo will need to stay disciplined on the defensive end and not fall for Garnett’s pump-fakes.

The Bobcats are playing much better basketball, going 3-5 in their last eight games. A lot of this is because the team struggled with injuries early in the year, forcing guys who might not have played a lot into the rotation or starting lineup. Derrick Brown and Kemba Walker are the only two players for the Bobcats that have played in every game. With those early struggles, those guys are starting to play much better and the results are starting to show… Point guard play has been very good for the Bobcats, with D.J. Augustin (12.0 points and 6.3 assists) and Walker (12.2 points and 4.0 assists) making plays for themselves as well as their teammates. They are both very quick and help the Bobcats push the tempo to create easier offense for the team.

SCOUTING THE BUCKS (21-24 as of 3/22)
With the addition of Ellis and his backcourt partner in point guard Brandon Jennings, the Bucks have one of the most explosive backcourts in the league… Ellis was traded because him and Steph Curry were thought to be too small to play together, but Jennings and Ellis are both extremely fast and can get to the basket at will… However, it’s the play of the frontcourt that has allowed the Bucks to go on a six-game winning streak and to get right into the thick of the playoff race… Drew Gooden is averaging a career-high 14.6 points and 6.8 rebounds, and his play made the Bucks able to trade Andrew Bogut to acquire Ellis… Ersan Ilyasova has also played well with 12.3 points and 8.6 rebounds, giving the Bucks a very formidable frontcourt… As this team continues to play together and Ellis gets more comfortable in the system, the Bucks will only to continue to get better.

SCOUTING THE NETS (15-33 as of 3/22)
The Bobcats have seen a lot of New Jersey recently, so both teams know what to expect from the other team. With the injury to Brook Lopez, the Nets have been forced to change the way they play…. The Nets recently acquired former Bobcats player Gerald Wallace from the Portland Trailblazers, who will look to have a big game against his former team. With other guys like Deron Williams, Gerald Green and MarShon Brooks, this team has a lot of talent and will look to run the ball and create the highlight play. The Bobcats will need to get back on defense and not allow the Nets to get out and run… If they are able to make this a halfcourt game, then there is a very good chance for the Bobcats to leave with the victory.

SCOUTING THE CELTICS (24-21 as of 3/22)
Every year the Celtics seem to be too old to contend, but come late March, this team seems to find its stride. Boston is 9-4 in their last 13 games, and a lot of this is because of their defense. The Celtics only give up 90.6 points, which ranks third in the NBA… The guy that makes the Celtics go is point guard Rajon Rondo, who was rumored to be on the trading block at the deadline but didn’t let that change the way he plays… On the season, he is putting up 13.3 points, 10.4 assists and 4.8 rebounds… The Celtics are at their best when he gets the defensive rebound and starts the fastbreak going the other way, where he loves to drive and find Ray Allen behind the 3-point line… The Celtics are starting to round into playoff form, and that makes them a very tough out.

The Bobcats host the Milwaukee Bucks at 7 p.m. Friday at Time Warner Cable Arena®. They will then take a quick one-night trip to New Jersey to face the Nets on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at the Barclays Center. The team will have Sunday to recuperate before hosting the Celtics at 7 p.m. on Monday. Catch all the action on SportSouth and listen to us on WFNZ. Also, don’t forget to join the chat at

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