By Wesley Robinson, bobcats.com
October 23, 2013
October 23, 2013
KEY MATCHUP vs. CAVALIERS: Kemba Walker vs. Kyrie Irving
The Bobcats will host the Cleveland Cavaliers for the second time this preseason at 7.p.m. on Oct. 24 at Time Warner Cable Arena. After suffering a loss on Oct. 19 against the Mavericks, 89-83, the Bobcats look to bounce back against Cleveland. This could be a big game for Kemba Walker, as he matches off against Kyrie Irving for the second time this preseason. The last time these two faced off, both players led their team in scoring as the Bobcats defeated the Cavaliers, 92-74, on Oct. 15 in Canton, Ohio. Walker had 14 points along with five assists and Irving finished with 15 points to go with four assists… Offensively, Walker has continued to be potent, leading the team in scoring with 11.7 points and has managed to keep his turnovers relatively low (2.0). Defensively, Walker has been strong too, averaging 1.3 steals in the preseason, including three takeaways in the last matchup against the Cavs. For a team that relies heavily on scoring behind the presence of Irving, Walker’s ability to force turnovers will come in handy for the Bobcats defense. Walker is known for his active hands and sense of timing on defense, and given Irving’s averages from last season, it will be imperative for Walker to contain Irving’s scoring… Irving has averaged 15.8 points per game on 41.1 percent shooting and 5.8 assists this preseason.
KEY MATCHUP vs. KNICKS: Bismack Biyombo vs. Tyson Chandler
The Bobcats will make their first trip to New York this preseason on Oct. 25 to face the New York Knicks. Bismack Biyombo has had a strong start to the preseason, averaging 6.0 points, a team-best 9.7 rebounds and 2.3 blocks in 26.2 minutes of action – including a 21-rebound performance. Biyombo will have a strong matchup on the boards against Tyson Chandler, who is a good rebounder and a defensive force in the paint… Chandler is averaging 7.3 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.25 blocks this preseason. The Bobcats will have to get past him to score in the paint and rebounds will be a key focus for Biyombo as Chandler can deliver second-chance points off the offensive glass. If Biyombo can hold Chanlder off the glass and keep him out of the paint, that should open up scoring opportunities for the Bobcats in the paint.
SCOUTING THE BOBCATS (3-3, preseason)
The Bobcats have held their opponents under 90 points in all six preseason contests so far and are giving up a league-low 82.7 points to their opponents. They are the only team in the league to have held their opponents under 90 points in every game, and also rank third in opponent field goal percentage, with opposing teams shooting only .395 from the field… Kemba Walker leads the team in steals (1.3), while Bismack Biyombo leads the team in blocks (2.3) this preseason. Biyombo is also averaging 13.0 rebounds over his last four games, including a 21-rebound outing on Oct. 12 at Milwaukee that is the highest total in the league so far this preseason. He leads the Bobcats in rebounding (9.7) during the preseason and ranks third in blocks and eighth in rebounding in the NBA, respectively.
SCOUTING THE CAVALIERS (4-2, preseason)
Through six preseason games, the Cavs have five players averaging double figures in scoring: Kyrie Irving (15.5), C.J. Miles (12.0), Dion Waiters (12.0), Tristan Thompson (12.0) and Anthony Bennett (10.3). Off the bench, Henry Sims has shoot .809 (17-21) from the field over the past five games. In the win over Philadelphia on Monday, Sims shot a perfect 6-for-6 from the field and finished with 14 points, five rebounds and one block in 20 minutes of play… Irving has recorded at least one block in five of the six preseason games and owns a team-best seven blocks. He has also scored in double figures in each preseason game so far, including his double-double performance (17 points, 12 assists) against Philadelphia on Monday. Coming into Thursday’s game, Irving is averaging 15.5 points while shooting .400 (8-20) from the 3-point line, 5.8 assists, 1.3 steals and 1.2 blocks in 25.3 minutes. He has also shot .926 (25-27) from the free-throw line… Tristan Thompson also recorded a double-double in Monday’s win after finishing with 15 points on 7-for-11 shooting from the field (.636), to go with a preseason-high 16 rebounds (five offensive), two steals and two blocks in 28 minutes. Over the past three preseason contests, Thompson is averaging 12.3 points on .536 shooting, 10.3 rebounds, 1.3 steals and 1.3 blocks in 24.7 minutes.
SCOUTING THE KNICKS (2-4, preseason)
The Knicks are coming off a 105-95 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks on Oct. 23 and will be looking to bounce back against the Cats… Carmelo Anthony led New York with 22 points against Milwaukee, and continues to lead his team is scoring with 15.5 points in 25.8 minutes this preseason… New York is averaging 98.6 points, while holding its opponents to 105.0 points. The Knicks are also averaging 7.8 made 3-point field goals on 31 percent shooting… New York won the season series last season 2-1, with the Knicks winning the lone game at Madison Square Garden. Anthony led the Knicks with 27.5 points 7.0 rebounds and 2.0 assists over two games against Charlotte. J.R. Smith posted 25.0 points in two battles with the Bobcats, while Chandler added 18 points and 17 rebounds in one contest.
Join us for the live chat against the Cavs. Both games can be heard locally on WFNZ or on bobcats.com.