Pump Up Music: Miss Caroline -- "Bad Romance"
The Big Picture: The Sacramento Kings provided the Bobcats with one of their more thrilling games this season, back on January 18, with the Cats barely edging it out 105-103. Tyreke Evans had a monster game, scoring 34 points and dishing 7 assists, but among everyone else, only Donte Greene stepped up with him. Kevin Martin was still feeling his way back from injury and only had 9 points in 25 minutes.
Last night, the Utah Jazz summarily dispatched the Kings in Salt Lake City without Deron Williams or Carlos Boozer. But if the way Sacramento played was an indication of what we'll see tonight, it looks like Evans and Martin are clicking. Martin finished with 33 and 7 rebounds, and Evans finished with 25 and 6 assists. To use a Bill Simmons-ism, the Kings aren't going anywhere this year, but they're certainly frisky.
The Cats already have two wins for the road trip. They could easily lose this one, but it wouldn't be disastrous.
Key to Victory: Last night, the Cats faced a particularly small backcourt. Tonight, they'll face a particularly large guard tandem in Evans and Martin. When Greene, Jason Thompson, and Spencer Hawes join them on the floor, no one is shorter than 6-6. If any teams can play a trapping zone in the NBA, it's the Thunder and this squad. Unless Beno Udrih is out there, it'll be tough for any of our shooters to shoot over anyone, and our guys don't need any added obstacles to their perimeter shooting. Charlotte takes more shots at the rim than any team in the league other than Memphis, and they need to keep attacking the goal.
Detail That May Interest .08% of You: In Paul Westphal's first NBA head coaching season, he helped Charles Barkley, Dan Majerle, Kevin Johnson, and the Phoenix Suns get to the Finals. Less than ten years later, he was coaching Pepperdine University, in the WCC. Three years after leaving that gig, he was back in the NBA with the Kings.