Preview: Keys to Beat Hawks
Preview: Keys to Beat Hawks

By Shane Skeary, bobcats.com

April 14, 2014

KEY MATCHUP vs. HAWKS: Josh McRoberts vs. Paul Millsap

The last time these teams faced one another, the Hawks came away with 97-83 win on Mar. 17 at Time Warner Cable Arena, marking their third win over the Cats this season. Paul Millsap was the leading scorer for Atlanta with 28 points and added five rebounds and a couple of blocked shots to his stat line. Josh McRoberts wasn’t much of a factor for the Cats, finishing with just five points on 2-of-10 shooting, five rebounds and four assists… Since scoring a team-high 19 points with six boards and seven assists against the Hawks on Nov. 11, McRoberts hasn’t had much success against Atlanta combining for 10.0 points, 6.5 assists and 5.0 boards in the last two games. However, anyone familiar with the Bobcats offense will tell you that scoring isn’t necessarily McRoberts’ role. His job is to space the floor for fellow big man, Al Jefferson and he’s doing so thanks to his improved three-point shooting. McRoberts has made a career-high 103 treys this season and is shooting a respectable 36.8 percent from long range. McRoberts has also become a fixture of Charlotte’s starting lineup for his passing abilities. He is averaging 4.2 assists, including a career-high 13 on Feb. 11 against Dallas. McRoberts can pass without giving the ball away as he is fourth in the NBA in assist to turnover ratio (4.0)… Millsap has torched the Bobcats this season, averaging 23.3 points, 7.7 rebounds and 1.7 blocks while shooting 53.3 percent from the field and 44.4 percent from three. Like McRoberts, Millsap has become more of a stretch power forward this season, converting on a career-high 76 three pointers at 35.8 percent. He is having one of his best years as a pro with 17.9 points, 8.5 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 1.7 steals and 1.1 blocks. Millsap is the only player in the NBA this season averaging at least 16.0 points, 8.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.0 steal and 1.0 block.

SCOUTING THE BOBCATS

Last time out, the Cats defeated the Philadelphia 76ers, 111-105, on Apr. 12 and have won six of their last seven games… The Cats defense this season continues to be one of the team’s biggest strengths. Charlotte is only giving up 97.3 points per game, which is the fifth-lowest average in the NBA. In addition, the Bobcats are giving up the fewest fast break points (10.3) and the fourth-fewest points in the paint (38.9). They have held their opponent under 100 points in 50 of their 77 games this season, which is the fourth-most such games in the NBA… The Cats can also score the ball as well, having topped the 100-point plateau 12 times over their last 20 games, compared to just five times for their opponents. The Cats are also averaging 102.1 points over that 20-game stretch and surrendering just 96.7 points per game to their opponents… Al Jefferson continues his All-NBA level of play for Charlotte in recent games. Against Philadelphia on Apr. 12, Jefferson posted a game-high 29 points, 12 rebounds, three assists and two blocks, which was good for his 40th double-double this season. It was also Jefferson’s seventh-straight double-double, marking the third longest double-double streak in franchise history…The Cats close out the regular season by hosting the Chicago Bulls on Apr. 16 at Time Warner Cable Arena.

SCOUTING THE HAWKS

The Hawks come into this one riding a three-game winning streak and lead the season series with the Bobcats, 3-0. Their last game resulted in a 98-85 win on Apr. 12 against the Miami Heat in Atlanta. The victory eliminated the New York Knicks from playoff contention and secured the Hawks a playoff berth for a seventh-consecutive season, the longest active streak in the NBA… Atlanta has established itself as one of the best passing teams in the NBA this season. The Hawks rank second in the NBA (first in the Eastern Conference) in assists at 24.8 per game, dishing out at least 20 helpers 72 times, and 25-or-more on 39 occasions, including 13 30-assist nights (12). The Hawks are recording assists on 66.5 percent (1985-of-2986) of their made baskets, best in the league… Atlanta also has some of the quickest hands in the league, ranking ninth in the NBA in steals per game (8.26) and has recorded double-digit thefts 26 times this year. Three Hawks are averaging better than 1.0 steals per game – Paul Millsap (1.74), DeMarre Carroll (1.46) and Jeff Teague (1.13)… The Hawks will travel to Milwaukee on Apr. 16 to battle the Bucks to close out the 2014 regular season.

TUNE IN

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