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Gameday Preview Charlotte Bobcats vs. Miami Heat

Pump Up Music: Muse -- "Hysteria"

The Big Picture: The Miami Heat must be extremely frustrating to follow. They have a player who can be one of the three best in the league when he's at his best. They have a supremely talented young power forward who can be one of the most unguardable one on one players in the league. And they have a young coach who was groomed under both Stan Van Gundy and Pat Riley and seems to know what he's doing. So how did they end up so middling?

Part of the answer is that their roster is extremely top-heavy. After their top four players, two of whom, Udonis Haslem and Jermaine O'Neal, are there primarily for defense and get scoring opportunities by default, the rest of the guys on the Heat simply don't score. For reference, the Bobcats have four core starters, a rotating cast of centers, and they have Derrick Brown and Ronald Murray to come off the bench and score. Imagine if we'd been going with Stephen Graham's and D.J. Augustin's production all season, and you'd get something akin to what the Heat are getting from their bench, and it would be worse if O'Neal hadn't been rejuvenated this offseason.

Key to Victory: All that's to say, cut off the head, and you kill the body. If Gerald Wallace can't play tonight due to his injured ankle, I'm not a fan of moving Stephen Jackson to the three, and thus, off Dwyane Wade for most of the game. Do we really want Flip guarding their best player? Let's put the guy with great length on him, back off a step, and dare the guy who's never been a great long distance shooter to win by shooting from distance. Of course, that would necessitate something like starting Derrick Brown and sticking him on Quentin Richardson, but doesn't that make more sense than wasting Jax on Q and taking our chances with Flip on Flash?

Reader Comments From the Last Game:

WhatAboutBob_cats: No dunk contest [for Wallace]? Fine by me. Stay healthy for post-season.

dudemanhey: I challenge anyone to name a more important foot in the Charlotte Metro area. It can not be done.

Aisander D: I’m really happy we pulled this game out but it definitely raises concerns some of us have been voicing all season about the minutes played by the starters. When we were up by 20-25, that would have been a good time to sit Jax and Crash. When or if a team starts coming back (like Sac did) then we reinsert the starters. But I just don’t see a reason for Crash to play 40+ in a game where we’re up 20 points going into halftime.

Detail That May Interest .08% of You: Erik Spoelstra's rise to coach of the Heat started when he was hired as video coordinator in 1995.