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Keys to Defeat 76ers, Wizards

By David Walters
January 27, 2012

Tyrus Thomas vs. Elton Brand

Thomas (7.0 points, 4.7 rebounds, 2.3 blocks) was one of the lone bright spots in the Bobcats last outing, nearly posting a triple-double… Could this be a sign that Thomas’ game is coming together after early season injuries? The Bobcats hope so, as his energy and defensive presence are sorely needed on a Charlotte team that is beset by injuries… Brand (11.1 points, 7.1 rebounds, 1.4 blocks) is no longer the dominating force he once was in the paint but can still get buckets and rebound the ball… The Bobcats will have to keep him off the boards, and if the same energetic Thomas shows up in this game, then this matchup could largely swing in Charlotte’s favor.

Kemba Walker vs. John Wall
This game will again feature these two teams young point guards in Walker and Wall… Walker (11.7 points, 3.5 rebounds, 3.2 assists) has hit somewhat of a slump lately but needs to break out in this game to give the Bobcats some scoring with D.J. Augustin out… Walker will again be the team’s primary point guard, but Head Coach Paul Silas has said he will be calling in more plays from the sideline in order to help Walker run the offense… John Wall (16.0 points, 7.1 assists, 5.4 rebounds) is extremely quick and the Bobcats will have to try their best to slow him down and force him into making mistakes… Wall can also make his presence known on defense, as his athleticism allows him to make great plays that can lead to fast-break buckets… This matchup will have a large impact on the outcome of this game, as everything starts with these two floor generals.

The Bobcats enter their next two games riding a six-game losing streak and might be without their starting backcourt and two leading scorers. D.J. Augustin (13.6 points, 6.6 assists) is out with an injured toe, and Gerald Henderson (15.4 points, 4.6 rebounds) is recovering from a back bruise and is a game-time decision… Reserve forward DJ White (9.3 points, 5.1 rebounds) is also doubtful for this weekend’s action with a left knee contusion… These injuries will leave a scoring void that will have to be filled by someone… Matt Carroll got his first start of the season in the Bobcats last game and responded with a season-high 17 points… Thomas had his strongest game of the season with 13 points, a career-high nine blocks and nine rebounds… Byron Mullens (11.4 points, 4.9 rebounds) hurt his hand in the last Wizards game but will still play.

The 76ers have come out of the gates strong this season and currently sit atop the Atlantic division standings, but they are coming off a home loss to the Nets… Philly is 8-2 at home, so getting a win there won’t be easy… The 76ers win by playing great team basketball as evidenced by the spread of minutes around the roster, as well as the fact that seven players average double figures, meaning that the scoring could come from anywhere… They are led in scoring by sixth man Lou Williams (15.5 points, 3.6 assists) and starting point guard Jrue Holiday (14.7 points, 4.8 assists)… Swingman Andre Iguodola (13.2 points, 6.3 rebounds, 4.6 assists, 1.9 steals) and backup forward Thaddeus Young (12.4 points, 4.6 rebounds) have athleticism and the versatile tools to give Charlotte fits all night… Starting center Spencer Hawes (10.4 points, 8.8 rebounds) has had a breakout season this year but will likely miss the game against the Bobcats.

SCOUTING THE WIZARDS (3-15 as of 1/27)
Southeast division rival Washington recently snapped their eight-game losing streak against the Bobcats last Wednesday… Nick Young led the Wizards in scoring in that game with 20 points, while forward Andray Blatche had 17 points and 10 rebounds… Rookie sixth man Jordan Crawford (11.2 points) is a spark plug off the bench for the Wizards and athletic big man JaVale McGee (10.9 points, 9.1 rebounds, 3.0 blocks) will surely make his presence known… They also beat the Bobcats on the boards handily, so Charlotte will have to box out in this game to avoid a repeat of last Wednesday’s performance.

The Bobcats tipoff against the Philadelphia 76ers at 7 p.m. Friday at the Wells Fargo Center and return home to Time Warner Cable Arena at 7 p.m. on Saturday to play the Washington Wizards. Catch all the action on SportSouth, listen to us on WFNZ and join us for the live chats on