Bob James - Nautilus
Game Overview: Gerald Wallace makes his return to Time Warner Cable Arena, the first time as an opponent. In interviews yesterday, Gerald was quite bitter and feels betrayed by the Bobcats, especially Rod Higgins. Ouch.
From a team focus, the Trail Blazers seems to be hitting their stride, more or less, after having to adjust with the addition of Crash and defeating the Heat a few days ago. Just think - Portland is bringing Gerald Wallace and Brandon Roy off their bench. The Blazers run a very slow paced offense that centers around LaMarcus Aldridge but also has good offensive weapons in Wesley Matthews and Andre Miller. Nicolas Batum has been starting at the small forward position but many Portland fans think Wallace may replace his spot soon enough. Batum is a pretty good defender and a three point threat with athleticism to boot. As noted above, their bench is pretty strong, as we saw last time with Patty Mills dropping 4 three-pointers and Rudy Fernandez is an athletic guard who can be hot or cold with his shot. However, they're very thin at the center. They start Marcus Camby who still rebounds very well and shouldn't have much trouble keeping Kwame in check. But if Kwame or other Bobcats players can get Camby in foul trouble, the Blazers will be forced to go small or to subbing in Jarron Collins. Holding Portland to inefficient shooting from deep is also instrumental for the Bobcats.
The Cats should be getting Stephen Jackson back from injury today (barring some unforeseen problem) and Tyrus Thomas is a gametime decision. Joel Przybilla is out with knee pain. The Bobcats will have a larger margin of error than the last game against Portland with Jackson back to help take the scoring relief off of Henderson and the rest of the shorthanded team. But for a chance at a win, the Bobcats have to limit their turnovers and utilize ball movement. Getting up the court and running in transition could work well for Charlotte as well.
Here's the link to Blazersedge, the Portland SB Nation site.
Key Matchup: D.J. Augustin vs. himself / Andre Miller / Patty Mills - Seriously D.J., where have you been? Please show up soon.
And a Final, Special Note: As I'm writing this, news is developing about the earthquakes and tsunamis in Japan that has decimated their country, leaving waters sweeping across their land, ensnaring buildings, boats and cars. It is unknown how many may be dead.
What I'm getting at is that in the realm of things, this doesn't matter much at all. This may be my livelihood and our passions or whatever basketball is to you, but in the grand scheme of things, this one basketball game. It will hardly matter. So if we lose or win, just keep it in perspective. By all means, have fun watching the game - I just wouldn't act like a trade or how the Bobcats play is the end of the world.