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Keys to Beat Heat, Celtics and Hornets

By Mark Kern
bobcats.com
April 13, 2012

KEY MATCHUPS
Gerald Henderson vs. Dwayne Wade

With the injury to Corey Maggette, Gerald Henderson will be relied upon to score more points for the Bobcats… On the season, Henderson is averaging 14.3 points, 4.1 rebounds and 2.2assists… He is able to score in different ways, but Henderson is a guy that likes to get to the rim. He will need to be on top of his game Friday night, where he will be matched up against one of the league’s best… Dwayne Wade is averaging 22.5 points, 4.9 rebounds and 4.7 assists for the Heat… Wade is tough to stop on the offensive end, being one of the best at getting into the lane and finishing at the rim… On defense, Henderson must pressure Wade and not allow him to get a step on him. If he is able to slow Wade and turn him into a jump shooter, the Bobcats have a chance to make it a game at Miami.

D.J. Augustin vs. Rajon Rondo
In all of the Bobcats wins this year, D.J. Augustin has been the starting point guard… He is very good at knowing when to shoot the ball and when he needs to kick it out to his teammates… Augustin is averaging 11.1 points and 6.3 assists. He uses his quickness to get by people, but will need to play well on the defensive end, as he will be matched up with Rajon Rondo, who is playing better then any player in the league right now. On the season, Rondo is averaging 12.2 points and 11.4 assists. He has had at least 10 assists in the Celts last 19 games, including 20 in a win over Atlanta on April 11. Rondo is always in control of the offense, and despite being a suspect jumper, he is able to get in the lane at will where he finds open teammates for the jump shot. If Augustin is able to keep Rondo out of the paint, the Bobcats have a chance. However, if Rondo is able to control the tempo, the Bobcats could be in for a long night.

Bismack Biyombo vs. Chris Kaman
When the two matched up last time, it was Bismack Biyombo that made the game changing play… The Bobcats were holding a 73-71 lead when it appeared that Trevor Ariza would tie the game with a dunk. However, Biyombo came from across the lane and blocked Ariza at the rim, prevailing the Bobcats victory. Biyombo is a defensive specialist averaging 1.7 blocks… He must use his athleticism to have a solid game on the defensive end, where he will be matched up against a tough guy in Chris Kaman… Kaman is a rugged player who attacks the glass extremely hard. On the season, Kaman is averaging 13.2 points and 7.9 rebounds. If Biyombo is able to keep Kaman off the offensive glass, the Bobcats have a great chance to sweep the season series from the Hornets.

SCOUTING THE BOBCATS (7-50)
The Bobcats have been able to stay healthy all season, and it has made it tough to find any continuity… A positive throughout the season is that it has allowed the young players to get plenty of playing time… Rookies Kemba Walker and Bismack Biyombo have played extended minutes, and these minutes will pay dividends in the future… The Bobcats are at their best when they are playing aggressive on defense and getting out into transition.

SCOUTING THE HEAT (40-17)
Going into this season, it was title or bust… The Heat are coming off an overtime loss to the Bulls, that clinched the number two seed for the Miami Heat… Miami is at their absolute best when they are able to get out and run. If Dwayne Wade and LeBron James are able to get out and run, the Heat are nearly impossible to beat… The Bobcats must slow the pace of the game down and not allow the Heat to get out in transition if they want to have a chance to stay in the game.

SCOUTING THE CELTICS (34-24 as of 4/13)
"This team is too old." "They need to start rebuilding." These are all things that were said about the Celtics before the All Star break… There were even rumors that Rajon Rondo was going to be traded… However, the team decided to make one final run at the Championship, and it has been paying off. Since the break, the Celtics have the league’s best record at 19-7. They are at their best when Rondo is on his game… They are the best jump shooting team in the league, and when Rondo is distributing the ball, they are nearly unbeatable. Another thing the Celtics don’t do is beat themselves… If the Bobcats are going to beat the Celtics, the Bobcats must finish when they get opportunities.

SCOUTING THE HORNETS (16-42 as of 4/13)
This year has been a rebuilding season after the Hornets traded away All-Star point guard Chris Paul before the season even started. The top player that they picked up in the trade, Eric Gordon, has only played in five games due to injury. The Hornets have a backcourt that is capable of having big games. Marco Belinelli (21 points) and Greivis Vasquez (15) were huge in the Hornets 105-96 victory on April 11. Much like the Bobcats have done with Corey Maggette, the Hornets are doing the same thing with forward Trevor Ariza… The Hornets are a team that struggles to score the ball in the half-court. If the Bobcats are able to slow down the team and play the defense that they did last time these two teams played, the Bobcats have a great chance to win.

TUNE IN
The Bobcats will be in Miami on April 12 to take on the Heat… Opening tipoff is scheduled for 7:30 at American Airlines Center… The team will be off Saturday before hosting the Celtics on Sunday at 6:00 p.m. at Time Warner Cable Arena… The Hornets will be in town on Monday to face the Bobcats, and opening tipoff at 7:00 p.m. Catch all the action on SportSouth and listen to us on WFNZ. Also, don’t forget to join the chat at bobcats.com

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