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Keys to Beat Raptors, 76ers

By Mark Kern
bobcats.com
March 16, 2012

KEY MATCHUP
Tyrus Thomas vs. Andrea Bargnani

Tyrus Thomas is coming off his strongest game since being put back in the starting lineup, with 14 points and eight rebounds in Thursday night’s 101-96 loss to Dallas... Thomas will defend Andrea Bargnani because of the type of offensive player Bargnani is… He hangs around the perimeter, and can either get to the rim or hit the long jumpshot… Despite only playing in 17 games due to injury, Bargnani is having a very solid year with averages of 20.8 points, 6.1 rebounds and 2.0 assists… However, he is known more as an offensive player rather then defensive, and this is where Tyrus can take advantage… Tyrus is a far superior athlete than Bargnani, and this is a matchup that the Bobcats will look to exploit… With the Bobcats looking to push the tempo more now with their roster being full, look for Thomas to get some run out against Bargnani and have a strong game for the Bobcats.

Corey Maggette vs. Andre Iguodala
Corey Maggette has re-energized this team since his return, and it is because of how aggressive he has been on the offensive end. Maggette scored 21 points and hit 9 of 10 free throws against the Mavericks. In the month of March, he has averaged 7.6 free throw attempts and is capitalizing on these opportunities, as he is hitting 91 percent of those free throws…. He is also a very good defender because he uses his strength and athleticism to contest his opponent’s shot… He is going to be matched up with Andre Iguodala, who is a tough matchup… Iguodala is averaging 12.6 points this season, which is three points lower than his career average…. However, this is not because of him struggling, but on a 76ers team that has a ton of guys that can score, his role has changed… He is what you call a “stat-stuffer”, with averages of 6.3 rebounds and 5.7 assists… Iguodala is at his best when he is making plays on both ends of the court and getting out in transition.

SCOUTING THE BOBCATS (6-36)
The Bobcats are continuing to get better as they are coming off a game that saw them give the defending champion Mavericks all they could handle until Dallas escaped with the 101-96 victory…. The Bobcats defense is improving and much of this is due to the emergence of the rookie center Bismack Biyombo, who is becoming a force blocking shots… The Bobcats are third in the league with six blocked shots a game, and Biyombo is the main reason why… The ability to block shots allows the perimeter players to gamble more and try to force turnovers and to get easy baskets.

SCOUTING THE RAPTORS (14-23 as of 3/16)
Toronto just traded their third-leading scorer Leandro Barbosa (12.2 points), so they will be missing one of their best playmakers… They still have capable perimeter players that can score in DeMar DeRozan and Jerryd Bayless. Both of these guys love to get out and score in the fastbreak, as DeRozan is as athletic of player as there is in the league… Toronto likes to push the tempo and try to get fast break points, and if it is not there, hit the trailing Bargnani for a wide open 3-pointer. The Bobcats will need to get back on defense and make the Raptors score in the halfcourt, where they have a tendency to struggle.

SCOUTING THE 76ERS (25-18 as of 3/16)
The 76ers are one of the toughest matchups in the NBA as they have eight guys averaging over 8.3 points, lead by Lou Williams who averages 15.9. Besides being such a balanced team, they are also the best defense in the NBA, as they only give up 87.0 points…. Spencer Hawes is back from injuries for the 76ers, and he makes a big difference for them as they are 12-4 with him and 13-14 without him…Another thing that makes the 76ers so tough to beat is their bench, which is led by Williams as well as guys like Thaddeus Young, they are every bit as potent with their reserves in.

TUNE IN
The Bobcats tipoff at 7 p.m. Saturday night against the Raptors at Time Warner Cable Arena®. They will be back in action at 7 p.m. on Monday as they host the 76ers. Catch all the action on SportSouth, listen to us on WFNZ and join us for the live chats on bobcats.com.

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