Keys to Beat Clippers and Hawks

By Matt Rochinski
December 11 , 2012

Kemba Walker vs. Chris Paul and Jeff Teague

Kemba Walker's breakout season continued on Monday against Golden State as he poured in a team-high 24 points, including 17 in the second half as the Cats mounted a comeback against the Warriors. He added six assists, a block, a rebound and a steal. Walker not only runs the show for the Cats at the point, he also leads Charlotte with 17.7 points, 6.0 assists and 2.00 steals on the year as he continues to make his case for one of the league’s most improved players in his sophomore campaign. Walker gets another chance to measure himself against one of the NBA’s best when the Bobcats host Chris Paul and the Clippers in Wednesday Night Basketball at 7:30 p.m. on December 12 and will then square off with another young, rising point guard, Jeff Teague, at 7:30 p.m. in Atlanta on December 13… Paul has the Clips rolling in December, where they’ve won five straight to start the month and six straight going back to November 28. The eighth-year point guard out of Wake Forest has notched double-doubles in points and assists in two of the last three games and is posting averages of 18.7 points, 9.8 assists (2nd in the NBA), 4.4 rebounds and a league-leading 2.65 steals… Teague has also seen his numbers jump in his fourth year with the Hawks. He’s scored in double digits in eight of the last night games for Atlanta and helped lead the Hawks to a 7-2 record over that stretch. Teague has found the most improvement setting up his teammates this season, where he’s 12th in the league with 6.6 assists – well above the 2.8 career average he entered the season with… These matchups against Paul and Teague could show just how far Walker has come in 2012-13.

The Cats enter back-to-back games against the Clippers and in Atlanta looking to snap an eight-game losing skid, but Charlotte can point to the fact that in five of those eight games, their opponent’s margin of victory has been just 5.0 points. Four of the teams in those five games, the New York Knicks (15-5), Atlanta Hawks (12-6), Philadelphia 76ers (12-9) and Milwaukee Bucks (10-9), post winning records and are at or near the tops of their division standings… The key to getting back in the win column has to start defensively. In their seven wins, the Cats were allowing 92.8 points, but have seen that number jump to 109.3 during their slide… Look for November Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month Michael Kidd-Gilchrist to try and help lead the charge defensively, as well as taking on more of the offensive load. In his last game, MKG scored 17 points on 6-for-10 shooting and added seven rebounds, three assists, a steal and a block in a solid all-around performance… The Bobcats can also be buoyed with the return of Gerald Henderson. After missing 13 games with a foot injury, Hendo has averaged 12.4 points on 48.9 percent shooting from the field and 74.1 percent shooting from long range in 21.6 minutes off the bench.

SCOUTING THE CLIPPERS (14-6 as of 12/10)
The Clippers entered 2012-13 intent on showing that they, not the Lakers, were the team to beat in Los Angeles. The rest of the league has heard the message loud and clear, as the Clippers sit atop the Pacific Division five-and-a-half games ahead of “The Lake Show”… Los Angeles has won its last six games by an average of 16.8 points but has had the benefit of some home cooking, with five of those wins coming in the Staples Center. Charlotte is hoping Time Warner Cable Arena® will help provide an advantage with Los Angeles having dropped three of its last four on the road… Jamal Crawford has been the spark off the bench for the Clips, averaging a team-tying-best 17.9 points. He’s tied with Blake Griffin, who has been a monster inside as of late, averaging 20.7 points, 9.3 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 2.17 steals and is shooting 60.2 percent from the field on the current six-game winning streak.

SCOUTING THE HAWKS (12-6 as of 12/10)
After opening the season 3-4, Atlanta has taken nine of its last 11 games and started to put some pressure on the Miami Heat (14-5) in the Southeast Division… The Hawks are getting it done behind the play of the often overlooked Josh Smith. His numbers – 17.3 points, 8.1 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 2.00 blocks and 1.41 assists – are impressive enough to put him in talks as one of the league’s best all-around players, but he’s often overshadowed by some of the bigger-name players… Al Horford has returned from a shoulder injury that limited him to 11 games last season and provided Atlanta with a dominant presence inside. Horford is averaging 16.8 points, 10.2 rebounds and 1.00 block while shooting 54.5 percent from the field in the Hawks first 18 games.

The Cats tip off at 7:30 p.m. in Wednesday Night Basketball against the Clippers at Time Warner Cable Arena®. Come out for specials including $4 12 oz. beers, bottomless large popcorn and $10 Bobcats shirts at the Team Store. Then join us at the Bobcats Watch Party at Ten Park Lane on Montford Drive this Thursday at 7:30 p.m. Watch the Cats take on Atlanta and be the first to see the Making of the 2012-13 Lady Cats Calendar show. You can watch all Bobcats games on SportSouth or listen on WFNZ. Then download the Bobcats app on your smartphone or go to to follow the live in-game chat.

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