By Jace Darling, bobcats.com
March 4, 2014
March 4, 2014
KEY MATCHUP vs. PACERS: Al Jefferson vs. Roy Hibbert
Al Jefferson has continued his dominance in the paint this season. As strong as his first half of the season was, it seems there is no end in sight for the 10th year big man. Jefferson is the only player in the Eastern Conference and one of only five players in the NBA averaging at least 20+ points (20.9) and 10+ rebounds (10.5). On Monday at Miami, Jefferson scored 38 points and grabbed 19 rebounds in 37.3 minutes and has scored 30 points or more in eight of 15 games since Jan. 25, which is the fifth-most 30-point games in the NBA during that stretch. Over that span, he ranks sixth in the NBA in scoring (26.5), eighth in rebounding (10.7) and is tied for sixth in double-doubles (eight). He also joins Minnesota’s Kevin Love as the only two NBA players averaging at least 25.0 points and 10.0 rebounds since Jan. 11… This will be the third and final matchup between two of the East’s best big men. In the two previous games, Jefferson and Roy Hibbert have had solid battles on the blocks. Jefferson has averaged 18.5 points, 9.0 rebounds and 2.5 blocks to go with 2.0 assists in 30.1 minutes, while his counterpart Hibbert has averaged 16.0 points, 10.5 rebounds, 2.5 blocks and 1.5 assists in 31.1 minutes. On the season, the Pacers All-Star center has averaged 11.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and 1.3 assists. With at least 10 rebounds in Wednesday’s game, Hibbert will reach the 3,000-rebound plateau for his career. Hibbert currently ranks third in the NBA with 2.46 blocks (145 on the season) and has blocked five or more shots 11 times this season, with the Pacers being undefeated in those games.
SCOUTING THE BOBCATS
After a difficult road-trip that saw the Bobcats go 0-3 against three of the four best teams in the NBA this season (San Antonio, Oklahoma City and Miami), the reward for Charlotte is to play host to the other of the four best teams – the Indiana Pacers. Indiana comes back to town for the third and final regular-season meeting between these two teams. Charlotte dropped the first two meetings and is 10-24 all-time against the Pacers. However Charlotte owns a winning record when playing Indiana at home (8-7)… After having a good shooting night - 51.2 percent (42-for-82) - in a loss against Miami on Monday, the Bobcats are 8-1 this season when they shoot over .500 from the field… The Bobcats are giving up 97.5 points per game, which is the fourth-lowest average in the NBA and have held their opponent under 100 points in 38 of their 60 games this season, the third-most such games in the NBA… With victories over the Golden State, Dallas, Detroit (twice), New Orleans and Memphis, the Bobcats went 6-4 (.600) in the month of February, marking the 11th time in franchise history the team has recorded a winning record in a month and the sixth-best winning percentage in a month in franchise history… The Bobcats handed out a franchise-record 42 assists against Dallas (Feb. 11), the most in the NBA this season… Charlotte has won 27 games so far this season, already surpassing last season’s total of 21 wins and just one victory away from matching the total number of wins from the past two seasons combined. Over the course of the first 60 games, the Bobcats have tied their total of home victories from last season (15) and also have 12 road wins, doubling their total of six road victories from last season and only one shy of equaling the franchise record for road wins in a season. With 27 wins through 60 games, Bobcats head coach Steve Clifford has the most victories by any Bobcats head coach over his first 60 games with the team.
SCOUTING THE PACERS
Indiana kicks off a three-game road trip Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Time Warner Cable Arena for the second time this season and the final regular-season meeting with the Bobcats. The Pacers took the first two meetings with Charlotte this year, including a 94-77 win in Charlotte on Nov. 27 as C.J. Watson poured in a career-best six three-pointers… Despite averaging 99.1 points, which is 19th in the NBA, the Pacers are outscoring their opponents by 7.9 points this season – the best scoring differential in the NBA… Indiana is currently first in the NBA in defensive field goal percentage, holding opponents to 41.5 percent shooting and allowing just 91.2 points, also best in the league, and are 24-1 this season when holding opponents under 90 points… Although only averaging 18.2 assists, which is the lowest in the NBA, the Pacers still hold the best record and are first in the NBA, only allowing 34.9 points in the paint. Opponents are shooting just 48.9 percent from less than eight feet away from the basket, the lowest such percentage in the league. Indiana is 33-4 this season when outscoring its opponents in the paint and is currently fourth in the NBA with 45.5 rebounds, but first in the league with 35.2 defensive boards per game... The Pacers have been to the line 151 more times than their opponents and are converting 78.1 percent of their attempts (1090-for-1396), the fifth best team percentage in the NBA.
This game can be seen on Fox SportSouth or NBA League Pass or you can listen live on bobcats.com, the Bobcats app or WFNZ 610 am.