Key Matchup vs. Miami Heat: Frank Kaminsky vs. James Johnson
The third meeting of the season between the Charlotte Hornets and Miami Heat tips off on Saturday night at Spectrum Center with a pair of reserve power forwards possibly playing key roles for both sides.
Third-year pro Frank Kaminsky has quietly been having one of the best months of his career for the Hornets, currently ranking ninth in the NBA in bench scoring since Dec. 17 (12.4 PPG; mini. 12 GP). The former Wisconsin Badger is also shooting 45.5 percent from the field, 40.8 percent from three-point range and 82.1 percent from the line during this stretch as well.
Kaminsky could spend a lot of his time matched up against James Johnson, who is in his second season down in South Beach. The 16th overall pick in 2009 out of nearby Wake Forest is one of eight NBA forwards averaging at least 10.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game this season, which comes one year after he finished fifth overall in the NBA's Sixth Man of the Year Voting.
A versatile player, Johnson's game is largely predicated on physical post play combined with above-average big-man passing abilities and occasional spot shooting. Kaminsky should look to stretch the floor with his offensive game on point right now, while not being afraid to mix things up down low either.