Watch It! - Bobcats at Celtics
Here are five things to watch out for when the Boston Celtics and Charlotte Bobcats meet at 7:30 p.m. tonight TD Garden.
A week ago, this section would have been about both teams. The Celtics, however, have found their way on offense while the Bobcats are still struggling to score.
Charlotte enters tonight’s game ranked 29th in scoring (90.9 points per game) and 28th in field goal percentage (41.5 percent). Only one player on its roster who has attempted more than 17 shots is shooting better than 42.4 percent, and that player is Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (55.9 percent).
Needless to say, this Bobcats team is anemic on offense. It struggles to score the basketball on a nightly basis and it may have an even more difficult time tonight. Boston is one of the better defensive teams in the league.
The Celtics and Bobcats each bring a balanced scoring attack to the table. Boston’s, however, is much more potent.
The C’s are coming off of a game in which seven players scored in double-figures as the team dropped in 120 points against the Orlando Magic. Avery Bradley led the way with 24 points, and four starters scored at least 16 points. Boston has five players averaging more than 11.3 PPG this season.
Charlotte is actually in the same boat in that regard. It has five players scoring at least 11.5 PPG this season. The Bobcats had seven players score in double-figures, led by Josh McRoberts’ 19 points, during last night’s loss to the Hawks.
Neither one of these teams has a player who has stepped up as an efficient, go-to scorer. Instead, they both rely on balance to lead them to victory.
Bench Dominance by Boston
Boston’s bench has been a true weapon during its four-game winning streak. Gerald Wallace, Jared Sullinger and Courtney Lee have all been fantastic off the bench of late.
Wallace isn’t racking up points but he’s doing just about everything else. His great defense and five assists helped him finish with a plus-20 mark in the plus/minus category Monday night. Sullinger has scored in double-figures in all but one game this season and has grabbed at least five boards in each of the past five contests. Lee, meanwhile, has made 13 of his 21 shots over the past three games.
The Celtics would love to see those reserves continue their dominant play tonight. The biggest question is whether or not Sullinger will be available. He suffered a bruised right knee during Monday’s win and has been labeled as day-to-day.
Gerald Henderson has had the Celtics’ number of late. He enters tonight’s contest having averaged 20.0 PPG on 52.9 percent shooting over his last six games against Boston. That includes a 35-point effort last season at the Garden, when he hit 11 of his 19 field goal attempts.
Henderson is a tough matchup for the Celtics because of his size and athleticism. Henderson is three inches taller than Avery Bradley, possesses a 6-foot-10 wingspan and can leap out of the gym. Bradley is a great defender, but it’s tough for him to stop an opponent who can almost always get a clean shot off against him.
Crawford at the Point
Jordan Crawford has been a savior for the Celtics. He has orchestrated the offense at a high level in the absence of Rajon Rondo.
Crawford is coming off of one of the best games of his four-year career. He dropped in 16 points on 7-of-12 shooting Monday night against Orlando, but that wasn’t even the greatest part of his performance. More importantly, Crawford dished out a game-high 10 assists while not committing a single turnover.
The 25-year-old guard has served as a calming influence on this offense. When he takes care of the ball and sets his teammates up for open shots, Boston’s offense is much more difficult to stop.