By Ketrell Marshall
March 18, 2013
KEY MATCHUP vs. RAPTORS
Ben Gordon vs. DeMar DeRozan
With Ramon Sessions inactive due to an MCL sprain, the need for Ben Gordon to be effective as a reserve is even more critical to the Bobcats success. Gordon has the ability to produce points at a fast rate. It only takes one or two made shots to get him going. Gordon has posted four games of 25 points or more off of the bench this season, which is tied for the third most in the NBA by a reserve. Gordon has also scored in double figures in seven of the last eight games, averaging 14.3 points in his last six outings. Gordon’s veteran leadership will help him out as he gets ready to go against Toronto’s young shooting guard, DeMar DeRozan… DeRozan is the Raptors second leading scorer with 17.5 points (22nd in the NBA), is tied for the team-high in minutes with 37.1, ranks sixth on the team in rebounds (4.1) and ranks fifth on the team in assists (2.7). DeRozan has gained plenty of on-court experience this year and ranks sixth in the league in total minutes (2,447). He is making the most of his time on the court by showing improvement and attaining career highs in points, rebounds, assists and minutes this season. The 6-7 shooting guard knows how to attack, draw fouls and convert, ranking seventh in the NBA in free throws made (300) and ninth in attempts (358)…Limiting DeRozan’s effectiveness could be critical in the Bobcats securing a victory.
SCOUTING THE BOBCATS (15-52)
The Cats look to extend their success at home by winning their second consecutive game at the Time Warner Cable Arena®…Charlotte has stepped it up on the defensive end by taking away successful possessions from their opponents. The Bobcats have forced an average of 16.6 turnovers over the last 12 games, up from 13.7 in the season’s previous 55 games. Bobcat’s opponents have committed at least 18 turnovers in five of the 12 games, including a season-high 25 turnovers on March 6 against Brooklyn. The Bobcats had forced their opponents into 18-or-more turnovers only eight times in the season’s first 55 games...In addition to their defensive efforts, the Bobcats have shown that they value each possession. Over the last nine games, the Bobcats have not had more than 14 turnovers in a game and are committing an average of just 11.5, down from the season average of 14.1 in the previous 58 games…Gerald Henderson has improved his level of play in his last six outings, averaging 23.2 points, 3.3 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 1.00 steal and connecting on 48.9 of his field goal attempts…Kemba Walker continues to improve and is averaging a career-high in points (17.2), assists (5.6), minutes (34.5) and steals (1.97).
SCOUTING THE RAPTORS (26-41)
The Raptors head into their contest against the Bobcats having lost six out of their last nine games. The road has been unkind to Toronto, during their last six away games, as they have only been able to come away with one victory…The Raptors showcase a balanced scoring style with seven players averaging double figures led by Rudy Gay (20.4)...Toronto struggles to outrebound their opponents only pulling down an average of 40.2 rebounds, earning them a 28th ranking in the league. However, Amir Johnson has been on a rebound spree, averaging 19.5 rebounds in his last two outings…The Raptors are adept at scoring from the charity stripe. They convert on 78.5 percent of their free-throw attempts, good enough for sixth in the NBA…Toronto struggles with not committing fouls as they are first in the league in fouls with 22.8…If the Cats can take advantage of this, attacking the rim and converting at the free-throw line could be essential in ensuring a Bobcats victory.
Checkout the Bobcats as they tip off against the Raptors this Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Time Warner Cable Arena®. You can watch the Cats on SportSouth or listen on WFNZ. Also, join the conversation by following the live in-game chat at bobcats.com or downloading the Bobcats app on your smartphone.