By Wesley Robinson, bobcats.com
December 13, 2013
December 13, 2013
KEY MATCHUP vs. PACERS: Josh McRoberts vs. David West
Josh McRoberts is off to a good start in the month of December, averaging 9.2 points, 7.2 rebounds and 3.4 assists. McRoberts has recorded a season-high 10 rebounds in two of his last three games, adding 11 points in Monday’s win over Golden State for his first double-double of the season. McRoberts has had eight games this season with at least five rebounds and five assists, which is tied for the eighth most in the NBA. He is averaging 8.9 points, 6.1 rebounds and 4.3 assists over his last 15 games, including a season-high 19 points on Nov. 11 against Atlanta and a career-high-tying nine assists on Nov. 16 against Miami. Defensively, McRoberts has the ability to force turnovers, averaging 1.2 steals in his last five games… McRoberts will need a strong outing against David West, who plays a similar role for the Pacers. West is averaging 15.7 points, 7.3 rebounds and 4.3 assists on .519 percent shooting in December. He has played a key role for his team in the paint, as the Pacers have scored 40+ points in the paint in eight of the last 11 games. It will be essential for McRoberts to be aggressive defensively as the Cats seek their 11th win of the season.
KEY MATCHUP vs. LAKERS: Al Jefferson vs. Pau Gasol
Al Jefferson has been a key piece to the Bobcats this season, settling in after an early-season ankle injury and finding a home in Charlotte where he averages nearly a double-double (15.1 points and 9.4 rebounds) this season. Jefferson scored 10 points and grabbed 11 rebounds on Wednesday against Orlando and has tallied double-doubles in five of his last six games. Jefferson posted four consecutive double-doubles from Nov. 29- Dec. 6 becoming the first Bobcats player with four consecutive double-doubles since Gerald Wallace had six straight from Nov. 18-28, 2009. During the six-game stretch, he is averaging 16.6 points, 11.6 rebounds and 1.6 assists, while shooting .443 from the field (35-for-79). Jefferson has scored in double figures in eight straight games. Defensively, Jefferson continues to make his mark, averaging 1.5 blocks and 1.2 steals in his last five games… Jefferson’s defense will be challenged as he faces off against two-time NBA Champion Pau Gasol. He is averaging nearly a double-double this season as well, with 14.4 points and 9.5 rebounds in 33.8 minutes. Gasol is a man of many talents on the basketball court and can fill up the stat sheet in just about every category. Statistically speaking, he is one of only six players in NBA history to have 15,000 points, 7,900 rebounds, 2,800 assists and 1,400 blocks for his career. A difference maker in this match up could be if Jefferson can control the boards, lock down on defense and not allow Gasol to get good looks at the basket.
SCOUTING THE BOBCATS
After holding the Magic to 92 points on Wednesday, Charlotte held its opponent under 100 points for the 18th time, which is the most in the NBA this season. The Bobcats are also giving up 92.4 points per game, which remains the second-lowest average in the NBA. In addition, the Bobcats are giving up the fewest second-chance points (11.2), second-fewest fast-break points in the league (10.1) and third-fewest points in the paint (35.0)… In his 170th consecutive game played, Walker tied the third-longest consecutive games played streak in franchise history. Walker’s numbers have gone up in the month of December, while he’s been averaging 20.4 points on .430 percent shooting in his last five games. Walker scored a season-high-tying 31 points, including the team’s final 15 points, in Monday’s win over Golden State. Walker had 27 points in the second half, tying the franchise record for points in a half. Walker, who recorded his first double-double of the season with 15 points and a season-high 10 assists in Friday’s win over Philadelphia, has scored in double figures in 11 consecutive games and 19 of 22 contests this season, including eight games with 20 points or more. Dating back to last season, Walker has scored in double figures in 42 of his last 46 games, including 18 games with 20 or more points. Also with three steals against the Magic, Walker recorded his 33rd game with three or more steals since the start of the 2012-2013 season, which is third in the NBA behind only Chris Paul’s 38 and Ricky Rubio’s 36. Walker recorded a season-high five steals on Nov. 15 against Cleveland.
SCOUTING THE PACERS
Indiana posts a 16-1 record after 17 games for the first time in franchise history and became the 13th team in NBA history to post that mark and first since the 2002-03 Dallas Mavericks. Indiana is also currently undefeated at home (9-0) - a new franchise record to start the season. Despite averaging 98.1 points (19th in the NBA), the Pacers are outscoring their opponents by 8.6 points this season… Indiana is currently first in the NBA in defensive field goal percentage, holding opponents to 40.8 percent shooting and allowing just 89.5 points, also best in the league… The Pacers have allowed the fewest fast-break points in the NBA (9.7) and have also held opponents to 14.3 points per game off turnovers, which is the lowest in the league… The Pacers defeated the Bobcats, 99-74, in the first meeting this season on Nov. 27. C.J. Watson led the team with 18 points, including a career-best six three-pointers in the win. Indiana has won seven straight games over Charlotte at home, with the Bobcats last win in Indianapolis coming on Nov. 28, 2008 in a 115-108 overtime victory. Indiana leads the overall series, 23-10, including a 14-3 record at home.
SCOUTING THE LAKERS
After a torn Achilles ended his 2012-13 season, Kobe Bryant returned to the court on Dec. 8 against Toronto after a summer of rehabilitation to a deafening response from the Staples Center crowd. Bryant tied for the team lead in rebounds (eight), assists (four) and steals (two) in his debut. He also led the team with 20 points, hitting all eight of his free throws on Dec. 10 against Phoenix… So far this season, the L.A. bench has outscored their counterparts 18 times in 21 games and is leading the league in bench scoring (47.8 points). The second unit has accounted for 47.6 percent of the team’s scoring (1,004 of 2,127 points) with the team’s leading scorer coming from the bench nine times this season (one tie). As a result of the bench’s strong play, seven different Lakers have scored in double-figures three different times this season… Coming off the bench this season, Nick Young is averaging 16.3 points, ranking him third in the NBA for points per game among players who have come off the bench in multiple games. As a reserve, Young has scored efficiently, shooting 46.2 percent from the floor and is sixth in the NBA in turnover percentage, committing just 20 turnovers in 538 minutes this year.
Watch the game on SportSouth. The game can also be heard locally on WFNZ, bobcats.com or on the Bobcats App.