Preview: Keys to Beat Kings, Raptors
Preview: Keys to Beat Kings, Raptors

By Wesley Robinson, bobcats.com

December 16, 2013

KEY MATCHUP vs. KINGS: Kemba Walker vs. Isaiah Thomas

As the Cats prepare for the first of four games this week against the Sacramento Kings, all eyes will be on the matchup between Kemba Walker and Isaiah Thomas. Walker has been a vital important piece to the Bobcats offense this season. He leads the team in scoring with 17.1 points and has averaged 19.9 points in the month of December. Walker has scored in double figures in 13 consecutive games and 21 of 24 contests this season, including nine games with 20 points or more. Walker recorded his first double-double of the season with 15 points and a season-high 10 assists in the win over Philadelphia on Dec. 6. Dating back to last season, Walker has scored in double figures in 44 of his last 48 games, including 18 games with 20 or more points… Walker will need to use his strengths, as he gets ready to match up against Isaiah Thomas. Currently, Thomas ranks third in scoring on the Kings with 18.8 points to go along with 2.5 rebounds and 5.2 assists. Thomas has started the last three games and is averaging 24.3 points (.510 field goal percentage, .533 three-point percentage, 15-for-15 free throws, 25-for-49 field goals, 8-for-15 three pointers), 7.0 assists, 3.7 rebounds and 1.0 steals. Thomas has scored 20 or more points in each of the last four games, including the last three (all starts). He has also shot 50 percent or higher from the field in three of the last four contests. Walker winning this matchup could be the key to getting the Cats a victory.

KEY MATCHUP vs. RAPTORS: Gerald Henderson vs. DeMar DeRozan

Guards Gerald Henderson and DeMar DeRozan will play a key role in the Bobcats matchup against the Raptors on Dec. 18 in Toronto. Henderson scored 13 points on Saturday against the Los Angeles Lakers, reaching double figures for the 14th consecutive game and the 21st time this season. He scored a season-high 24 points in Monday’s win over Golden State. Over his last seven games, Henderson is averaging 16.6 points on .467 shooting from the field (51-for-109) and .807 free-throw shooting (21-for-26). During his 14-game double-figure scoring streak, he is averaging 15.9 points, 4.5 rebounds and 2.9 assists, while shooting .426 from the field (87-for-204) and .870 from the free-throw line (54-for-62). Henderson is proving to be a reliable scoring option and his explosiveness has helped him elevate his game this season… So far this season, DeRozan currently ranks 10th in scoring (21.7 points) and fifth in minutes (38.4). He is also shooting a career-best .342 (27-for-79) from three-point range this season. Henderson will need to utilize his scoring and athletic ability as the Cats seek a win in Toronto.

SCOUTING THE BOBCATS

The Bobcats giving up only 92.5 points per game, the third-lowest average in the NBA. Last season, the team allowed 102.7 points per contest, ranking 29th in the league. … The Bobcats have now held their opponent under 100 points in 20 of their 24 games this season, the most such games in the NBA. Prior to the game against Golden State on December 9, the Bobcats held 13-straight opponents under 100 points, which tied the second-longest streak in franchise history. The 13-game streak also tied the longest in the NBA this season, set by the Spurs from Nov. 5-29. … Since being drafted in 2011, Kemba Walker has played in all 172 regular-season games, joining Golden State’s Klay Thopson as the only two players in their draft class who have yet to miss a game. Walker’s streak of 172 consecutive games played surpassed Raymond Felton’s 170 to become the third longest in franchise history, behind only Boris Diaw’s 245 and Emeka Okafor’s 175… Al Jefferson has scored in double figures in 11-straight games and has recorded double-doubles in five of his last eight contests. He came up one rebound shy of a double-double against the Lakers (14 points, nine rebounds)

SCOUTING THE KINGS

The Kings have scored 100 or more points in each of the last five games, averaging 106.4 points ... Sacramento has dished out 20 or more assists in 15 games this season and in eight of the last 10 games ... In the last two games, the Kings have dished out a total of 25 assists while turning the ball over 29 times…The Kings had recorded 10 or more steals in four of the last five games ... Sacramento is averaging 29.0 trips to the free throw line in the last seven games after going to the charity stripe a combined 25 times in the previous two contests ... In the last two games, Kings opponents are shooting .532 (25-47 3pt) from three-point range ... In the last five games, the Kings have been outscored in the fourth quarter, 133-110 (26.6 points to 22.0). Rudy Gay made his first appearance as a King on December 13 at Phoenix. Gay finished with 24 points (8-for-12 field goals, 8-for-9 free throws), one rebound, one assist, one steal and two blocks in 36 minutes. Gay’s 24 points is the second-most points scored by a Kings player in his debut in the Sacramento era, trailing only Spud Webb’s 27 points in his first game as a King. It is also tied for the fourth most points in a Kings debut in franchise history.

SCOUTING THE RAPTORS

Toronto has scored 100+ points in three straight games (Dec. 8-13), and the Raptors lead the Eastern Conference in scoring (102.5) through six games in December… Toronto has shot .456 (227-for-498) from the field and .847 (116-for-137) at the free throw line this month. The Raptors rank seventh (.784) in the NBA in free throw shooting this season… DeMar DeRozan ranks 14th in the NBA in both free throws made and attempted (107-for-132)… The Raptors matched their season-high with 24 assists Friday night against the Sixers. Kyle Lowry led Toronto with a season-high 11 assists. DeMar DeRozan added six dimes and has now totaled 18 assists over the last three games (Dec. 8-13)… The Raptors are 4-1 this season when they record 20+ assists and 5-0 when they finish with more (or same) assists than their opponent. Toronto is averaging 106.0 points when dishing out 20+ assists… The Raptors made 10 three-pointers Friday night. It was the fifth time (3-2) this season they have made 10 or more shots from beyond the arc… Terrence Ross converted 4-of-7 attempts from downtown against the Sixers and is now shooting 50 percent (12-for-24) from three-point range in December.

TUNE IN

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