Preview: Keys to Beat Knicks, Raptors

Preview: Keys to Beat Knicks, Raptors

By Jace Darling,

November 5, 2013

Chat Live vs Knicks

KEY MATCHUP vs. KNICKS: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist vs Carmelo Anthony

As the Cats prepare for the first of two games this week against the New York Knicks, all eyes will be on the matchup between Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Carmelo Anthony… MKG is beginning to find his rhythm in Head Coach Steve Clifford’s offense. The four-out, one-in style of play being instituted by the Cats this season has allowed MKG to play to his strengths, playing some with his back to the basket and attacking the rim off the dribble. MKG is averaging 8.3 points, 5.7 rebounds and 0.7 steal on 43.5 percent shooting… Carmelo Anthony has started this season on par with his career averages. Through three games Anthony is averaging 21.3 points, 11.0 rebounds and 2.3 steals while shooting only 37.7 percent, while playing 41.7 minutes, whereas MKG is averaging 28.3 minutes.

KEY MATCHUP vs. RAPTORS: Gerald Henderson vs DeMar DeRozan

With the new offense here in Charlotte, it is understandable that it will take some time for the Cats players to adjust in Coach Clifford’s system. By design, outside shooting attempts are going to be way up from previous years, now the trick is to knock down the shots when the looks are there. Gerald Henderson has started out this season two points below his career average of 11.3 points. Through three games he is averaging 9.3 points, 2.3 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 0.7 steal in 28.9 minutes. Henderson had success against the Raptors last season, finishing with 21 points, seven rebounds and five assists the last time these two teams squared off…Henderson will be matched up against former first round pick (2009) DeMar DeRozan, who has been playing well so far this season averaging 20.3 points, 3.0 assists, 4.0 rebounds, 1.7 steals and is shooting 44.6 percent from the field in 37.3 minutes. DeRozan shot a season-best 6-for-8 at the free throw line for 17 points Nov. 2 at Milwaukee and scored a game-high 31 points on Nov. 1 at Atlanta.


The Cats defense has been sound to start the season and ranks seventh in opponents’ points per game, but they are still in search of their first win on the road… Oct. 25 the Cats traveled to Madison Square Garden for the final preseason tune up and got behind early but showed determination and kept fighting and clawed their way back for a two-point victory… During the absence of Al Jefferson (right ankle sprain), the Cats are being led in scoring by Kemba Walker with 16.3 points, with Ramon Sessions playing solid minutes so far this season and averaging 15.0 points. Jefferson didn’t travel with the team to New Orleans, instead he stayed in Charlotte to receive treatment on his ankle and earn a couple extra days rest. The Cats want to get Jefferson back to 100 percent before plugging him back in the starting lineup. Until then the Cats will rely heavily on Bismack Biyombo (shooting 70 percent from the floor and averaging 7.0 rebounds) and Jeff Adrien (11.6 minutes per game and 5.3 rebounds)… Winning the rebound battles and knocking down shots are the major keys to victory this week.


Carmelo Anthony led the Knicks with 27.5 points, 7.0 rebounds and 2.0 assists over two games against Charlotte last season. While former Cat, Tyson Chandler added 18 points and 17 boards in one contest… So far this season the Knicks are shooting 43.5% from the field and 81.8% from the stripe while being ranked third in opponent’s points per game… Only three Knicks players are averaging double digits in points (Anthony 21.0, Raymond Felton 13.0, and Iman Shumpert 11.7)… Tyson Chandler has been a force down low (9.0 points, 3.0 blocks, and 11.3 rebounds)… Rookie Tim Hardaway Jr. has been averaging 7.0 PPG in 22.3 minutes…


This season has seen Toronto start fast, as it currently sits in second place in its division. As a team, the Raptors are shooting 43.3 percent from the field and 64.3 percent from the foul line… Four Raptors players are averaging double digits in points (DeMar DeRozan 20.3, Rudy Gay 17.0, Kyle Lowery 13.7 and Amir Jonson 12.3)… Gay set career highs with 15 total rebounds and 13 defensive rebounds on Nov. 2 at Milwaukee and scored a game-high 18 points against the Bucks for his 48th career double-double… Former North Carolina standout, Tyler Hansbrough, joined the Raptors this offseason, signing a multi-year deal. He has averaged 20.4 minutes thus far while posting 6.0 points and 7.3 rebounds.


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