Keys to Beat Hornets, Mavs

By Matt Rochinski and Caroline Sikes
November 8, 2012

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist vs. Al-Farouq Aminu

Kidd-Gilchrist will look to get the better of this all-hyphenated matchup when the Bobcats visit New Orleans… MKG continues to take steps early in his rookie season and is coming off a nine-point, eight-rebound, three-assist, three-block night against the Suns on Wednesday. His game warrants itself to that of a stat-filler, and much of what he does on the defensive end can’t be read about in the box score. He can be a defensive nightmare for opponents, and may be charged with slowing down second-year forward Al-Farouq Aminu when Charlotte tips against the Hornets… Like Kidd-Gilchrist, Aminu has been all over the box score through the Hornets first four games. He’s averaging 12.5 points, 9.3 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 2.00 steals and 1.00 block in 34.5 minutes

Kemba Walker vs. Darren Collison

Through three games, Kemba Walker leads the Bobcats in scoring with 19.0 points. The point guard continues to take care of the ball averaging 5.3 assists and only 0.67 turnovers. Walker knows how to read the defense and when to take an open shot or dish to a teammate if they have the hot hand. He has also stepped up defensively, averaging 1.67 steals. It’ll be interesting to see if he can clamp down on defense against Darren Collison… Collison averages 16.2 points for the Mavs and is shooting 56.1 percent from the field. He has an impressive 5.67 assist-to-turnover ratio and averages 7.2 assists… When Walker and Collison faced off in Dallas last Saturday, Kemba Walker scored 10 points and dished out five assists to Collison’s 18 points and 10 assists. The point guards also met during the preseason, so it should be exciting to see how they match up as they become more familiar with each other.

The Bobcats have been taking care of the ball well through the first three games. Charlotte’s 1.75 assist-to-turnover ratio ranks fourth in the NBA. Kemba Walker’s 8-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio is second best in the NBA, trailing only Jason Kidd’s 11-to-1. In addition, the Cats are forcing 5.7 turnovers per game more than they are committing – the largest differential in the league. Charlotte is averaging only 12.0 turnovers, which is tied with New York for the fewest in the league… The Cats are also having tremendous success from the charity stripe this season. They are shooting an NBA-best 84.0 percent from the line, while opponents are shooting 67.1 percent – the second-worst in the league… Byron Mullens leads Charlotte with eight 3-pointers through three games. Mullens four treys in the third quarter against Phoenix on Wednesday tied a franchise best for 3-pointers in a quarter.

The new-look Hornets are dealing with their fair share of injuries early on in 2012-13. Eric Gordon (knee) is out for the next 4-6 weeks and rookies Anthony Davis (concussion) and Austin Rivers (finger) could both be game time decisions in New Orleans on Friday… David leads the way for the Hornets with 14.5 points while adding 6.5 rebounds and 1.50 blocks but has miss the last two games… Ryan Anderson – another Hornets newcomer in the offseason – is putting up 12.8 points but has yet to find the stroke he had with the Magic last season. He’s shooting 37.5 percent from the field and just 29.6 percent from long range… Still, the Hornets are a gritty bunch that has held their opponents to 86.0 points each contest.

One of the keys to slowing down the Mavericks might be finding a way to keep them in check early in the contest. Dallas is averaging 29.8 points in the first quarter this season and has scored 60-or-more points in the first half three times already… Dallas newcomers Chris Kaman and O.J. Mayo led the Mavs with 22 points apiece in Dallas’ 109-104 win over the Raptors in Dallas on Wednesday… Seeing Mayo and Kaman should not be surprising to the Cats. Mayo dropped 30 points on them on November 3 in Dallas, including a career-high seven 3-pointers, while Kaman scored 16 points to go with four rebounds… The Mavs are hurting at the start of the season, with Dirk Nowitzki (knee), Shawn Marion (knee) and Rodrigue Beaubois (ankle) all out and Elton Brand having missed the last game to be with his wife for the birth of their child.

Watch the Bobcats take on the Hornets at the Watch Party presented by Budweiser at Hickory Tavern Metropolitan at 8 p.m. on Friday. Stick around for the Lady Cats Swimsuit Calendar Fashion Show as well. The Cats return to Charlotte for a 7:30 p.m. contest against Dallas on Saturday. Catch the games on SportSouth or listen on WFNZ. As always, follow the game from the live in-game chat on or download the Bobcats app on your smartphone.

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