Keys to Beat Cavs, Heat and Bulls
Keys to Beat Cavs, Heat and Bulls

By Wesley Robinson, bobcats.com

November 15, 2013

CHAT LIVE

KEY MATCHUP vs. CAVALIERS: Kemba Walker vs. Kyrie Irving

When the two matched up last time, it was Kemba Walker that made the game-changing play to seal a victory for the Bobcats over the Cavaliers. Walker knocked down the game-winning 3-point shot as the Cats defeated the Cavs, 90-84, on Nov. 1 in their home opener at Time Warner Cable Arena. Walker is a defensive specialist; averaging 1.63 steals and registered three steals in a win against the Boston Celtics on Wednesday. Walker has recorded 29 games with three or more steals since the start of the 2012-13 season, which is tied for second in the NBA behind only Chris Paul’s 32. Walker’s capabilities to play passing lanes and force turnovers have become helpful keys for Charlotte’s defense this year—which now ranks fourth in the NBA… His athleticism will be much needed on the defensive end, where he will be matched up against one of the best scoring guards in the league in Kyrie Irving. Irving is averaging 19.4 points and 6.9 assists this season, and as his game continues to grow, he is becoming increasingly able to use his quickness and dribble penetration abilities to create a variety of scoring opportunities for his teammates in addition to converting on his own attempts at the rim. If Walker can contain Irving offensively to limit those scoring opportunities, the Bobcats have a great chance to earn their second win in the season series against the Cavs.

KEY MATCHUP vs. HEAT: Al Jefferson vs. LeBron James

Al Jefferson didn’t take long to get adjusted to his place on the Bobcats roster after missing five of the first six games with an ankle injury. Jefferson recorded his first double-double (season-high 22 points and 11 rebounds) in a Charlotte uniform as the Cats earned an 89-83 victory over the Boston Celtics on Wednesday. Jefferson is one of the best low post scorers in the NBA and his efficiency down low makes him an effective feature for Head Coach Steve Clifford’s offensive schemes. Jefferson is averaging 15.0 points and 8.7 rebounds in his first three starts this season. Not only will Jefferson be able to give the Cats low post scoring, but he can also play as a divergence to open scoring opportunities for his teammates when teams decide to double him… While Jefferson might not be matched up directly with two-time NBA Finals MVP LeBron James, whoever gets the better of this scoring duel could wind up victorious. James is one of the most explosive players in the league, has incredible quickness and leaping ability, and just finds ways to make players around him better. He is averaging 25.5 points, 7.3 assists and 5.5 rebounds this season. After scoring 33 points on Tuesday against the Wizards, James has currently scored in double-figures in 503 consecutive games, and in 225 consecutive games for the HEAT, a new franchise record. Additionally, he ranks sixth among all-time consecutive double-figure scoring games in NBA history. Although these two players play different positions, you will see some situations in the game where James and Jefferson will matchup against each other in the post.

KEY MATCHUP vs. BULLS: Josh McRoberts vs. Carlos Boozer

Josh McRoberts is averaging 9.0 points and 4.1 rebounds this season but has seen those numbers increase to 12.3 points in his last three games, including a season-high 19 points on Monday against Atlanta. His five 3-point field goals against the Hawks marked a career high. McRoberts has scored in double figures in two of the last three games and is averaging 12.3 points, 5.0 assists and 4.7 rebounds during that span. He is ranked 33rd in the NBA in 3-point percentage (.458). McRoberts has the ability to score in many different ways with his versatile playing style… He will be matched up against someone with a similar skill set in Carlos Boozer. The Bulls big man is averaging 18.0 points and 8.3 rebounds and can stretch the floor with his outside shot, passing and rebounding along with a host of intangibles with his 10-plus years of experience. McRoberts will need to keep him off the glass and look to pull him away from the basket to space the floor for big men Al Jefferson and Bismack Biyombo.

SCOUTING THE BOBCATS

In just his second game back in the lineup after missing five of the first six games with an ankle injury, Al Jefferson showed how beneficial he is for Charlotte when healthy with a season-high 22 points and 11 rebounds… Ramon Sessions continues to be effective leading the Cats bench (12.3 points) and has scored in double figures in six of his last eight games. Since joining the Bobcats prior to the 2012-13 season, Sessions has put up some of the top numbers in the league among players who have not started a game. Sessions ranks first in free throws made (332) and attempted (398), second in assists (252), third in points (964), fourth in rebounds (180) and fifth in steals (51)… Jeffery Taylor also adds effective minutes off the bench for the Cats. Taylor has scored in double figures in four of the last five games, averaging 10.6 points during that stretch. Taylor scored a season-high 13 points in back-to-back games on Nov. 5 at New York and Nov. 6 against Toronto.

SCOUTING THE CAVS

The Cleveland Cavaliers return to Quicken Loans Arena tonight to take on the Charlotte Bobcats for the second of four regular season matchups between the two teams… When the Cavs and Bobcats last squared off exactly two weeks ago, C.J. Miles (22 points) and Jarrett Jack (15 points) combined for 37 points off the bench, as the Cavs reserves outscored Charlotte’s reserves, 43-31. Cleveland also pulled down 11 offensive rebounds that led to a 21-3 edge in second-chance points. On the season, the Cavs bench is averaging 33.1 points, outscoring the opponent’s bench in eight of nine games this season. The team is also averaging 12.1 offensive rebounds per game, which is eighth-best in the NBA… In 2013-14, the Cavs are undefeated at The Q with a 3-0 record. Cleveland is averaging 106.0 points per game at The Q, which is the third-highest among Eastern Conference teams playing at home (seventh in NBA). Cleveland is also dishing out 23.7 assists at home… Defensively, the team is averaging 9.0 steals and 8.3 blocks, while holding opponents to .415 shooting.

SCOUTING THE HEAT

The Miami Heat outscored the Milwaukee Bucks by 23 to take a 118-95 win their last time out. Miami shot 60 percent in the first; jumping out to 32-23 lead after one. The Heat pushed their lead to as many as 18 in the second before closing out the quarter up 56-45 heading into halftime. Miami’s defense held the Bucks to only 30 percent from the field in the third as they took a 22- point, 84-62, lead into the final stanza. The Heat’s lead would not go below 19 in the fourth as Miami closed out the 118-95 win. LeBron James scored a game-high 33 points as Michael Beasley dropped in 19 points off the Heat bench. Both John Henson and Gary Neal led Milwaukee with 18 points apiece… If Dwyane Wade and 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 BULLS

With their 97-73 victory over the Jazz on Friday, the Bulls made 52.8 percent of their shots while Utah made 29.4 percent. It was the first game in the Bulls' 48-season history in which they shot better than 50 percent from the floor while holding their opponents below 30 percent from the floor… As great as Bulls star and former league MVP Derrick Rose is, it has been Carlos Boozer who has lead his team in the scoring column. Boozer is averaging 18.0 points and 8.3 rebounds this season. Since he joined the Bulls in 2010, Boozer has posted 94 double-doubles, good for second-most in the East behind Dwight Howard’s 109 double-doubles.

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