Gametime: 7 p.m. EST
It's a good time to be a Bobcats fan these days. They've won three out of four despite missing one of their best players, Al Jefferson, and now will look to pounce on a Knicks team that is missing one of their top players -- Tyson Chandler. If you remember, Chandler left Tuesday's game against, oh hey, the Bobcats and will likely miss the next 4-6 weeks with a fractured leg. And on top of that, New York comes in having lost four games in a row.
When these teams met on Tuesday, the Bobcats were able to get quality performances from both Kemba Walker and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. Walker went for an efficient 25 points, six assists and five rebounds despite suffering a late game injury that held him out a while. The Bobcats' ability to hit shots opened up the lanes for Kidd-Gilchrist to get points cutting to the basket, adding 16 points, eight rebounds and three blocks. On an obvious note regarding defense, the Bobcats would ideally like to see Carmelo Anthony do a little worse than the 32 points than he put up earlier in the week.
Without Chandler down low for New York, Charlotte has the opportunity to take advantage of them missing their rim protector by being able to get easier than they normally would be able to. Whether it's Walker rolling towards the basket, Kidd-Gilchrist cutting to the lane or one of the team's young bigs working down low, the opportunity will present itself for good looks at high percentage shots. I mean, if your opponent is going to make you go through Andrea Bargnani, you should just go through Andrea Bargnani and make your life that much simpler.
Chandler's absence will also affect the rebounding matchup as the Knicks are currently the 25th ranked team in Defensive Rebounding Percentage (Tells you what percentage of available defensive rebounds a team or player is able to grab). The Bobcats have not been much better at 21st, but they've played all season without their best rebounder, and the Knicks just lost their nine rebound per game center, so it will be a larger area of concern for New York. Plus, if you look at it on the flip side, 25th in defensive rebounding means sixth-worst in opponent offensive rebounding. That's a bigger concern considering the Bobcats are the 10th best in offensive rebounding percentage and you're missing your best defensive rebounder and a crazy good offensive rebounder.
However, despite these apparent advantages, they can all be undone if they don't watch the turnovers. While the Bobcats have done well taking care of the ball, the Knicks have excelled at forcing turnovers as the league's third-best team in opponent's turnover percentage. The Knicks have Iman Shumpert and Metta World Peace who have been able to make some shots so far, so you want to avoid giving them extra points that are also quick and easy. And you really don't want to test Carmelo Anthony, even though he's off to a slow start to this point.
Tonight, the Bobcats will look to make it three wins in a row, and two over the Knicks in the same week. If they can get added contributions from players like Gerald Henderson and Bismack Biyombo like they've done lately, then they will be even better off. Personally, I can't think of a better way to start off the weekend than a Bobcats win!