Gametime: 10:30 p.m. EST
Though the Bobcats won the last matchup against Golden State, this game has potential to get really ugly really fast on the road.
The Bobcats defense has been solid all season but the moments when they look really bad come most often against teams with stout jump shooting talent and that beat the Bobcats in transition.
The Warriors' offense can capitalize on mistakes to put up a lot of points quickly and their weapon of choice is a deadly penchant for three-pointers. Warriors point guard Stephen Curry is so good at shooting the long ball, when his three-point percentage dipped below 40 percent, it was considered a shooting slump.
Curry's partner in crime, shooting guard Klay Thompson, a killer three-point shooter himself, is knocking down 41 percent of his attempts from long range. However, unlike Curry, Thompson struggles at creating on his own shot and is best used spotting up or coming off screens. Thompson also has a reputation as being a decent defender, while skilled, I don't think he's as good in that department as his reputation says he is. Curry and Thompson are considered one of the best backcourts in the NBA, though I'd take Chris Paul and J.J. Redick of the Clippers over them, but that's just me.
Andrew Bogut's value to the Warriors defense has been undoubtedly legitimate so far. This season he's finally reaching that same level of defense he used to display in Milwaukee. Bogut has also earned himself a reputation as the guy that you love to have on your team but can't stand if he's on the other team. Al Jefferson had a terrific scoring streak until the most recent game against the Suns. He could have a very difficult time getting that going tonight against a defensive center as good as Bogut.
The Bobcats could try to get pick and roll sets or off-ball screens going to try and get David Lee defending Al Jefferson. Lee's defense often lacks awareness and Jefferson could do some work on him. However, what Lee lacks in defense he more than makes up for in offense. Josh McRoberts is not a horrible defender by any means but Lee is a fantastic scorer and his offensive ability far exceeds McRoberts defensive ability. I think the key to this game will come to how well the Bobcats will do at exploiting David Lee's weaknesses on defense.
The most important player to the long term success of the Warriors this season has been Andre Iguodala. Iguodala is a top perimeter defender in the NBA and has fantastic handles. His ability to create for others goes largely under-appreciated and is a major reason why the Warriors starting lineup is so successful.
The Bobcats should exploit two areas to have the best chance of winning on the road against a West Conference playoff team and in the presence of one of the loudest and most passionate NBA fanbases. The first is David Lee's defense. I would suggest they try and force Al Jefferson and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist on him whenever he's on the floor to overpower him or out-finesse off the ball, respectively. Exploit his bad defense. The other will be the Warriors' bench. The Warriors bench has struggled a lot at times this season and will be something the Bobcats can exploit.
I'd say the Bobcats' chances of winning tonight are not high, but not impossible. The Warriors have been known to slack at times and the Bobcats aren't a team you can slack against this year.