Cut Chemist - The Garden
Game Overview: The last time these two teams met, the Bobcats had a completely different roster while Toronto's has remained nearly the same, now with the addition of James Johnson. The Raptors, though still weak defensively, are improved with James Johnson inserted into the starting lineup. He's very active and adds athleticism and strength to the Raps. However, the Raptors still have some porous defense, as we've so often seen. But they can also be a very scary offensive team with DeMar DeRozan's excellent midrange shot and his ability to finish at the rim. Andrea Bargnani isn't anything to sneeze at either, if he gets going (but by all means, sneeze at his rebounding - a lot). If Leandro Barbosa plays, watch out for him to shred Augustin as Barbosa is one of the fastest guards in the league. Reggie Evans is a fantastic rebounder and will split time with rookie Ed Davis who has been very impressive so far. I think we'll see a bunch of D.J. White again, to no one's displeasure, I'm sure. But I don't think we'll see as much of Cunningham who may have some trouble with the bigger power forwards. According to The Score's Raptors beat writer Holly MacKenzie (follow her on Twitter @stackmack), PF Amir Johnson will most likely be out today and Leandro Barbosa will probably play with a sore back.
If the Bobcats want to make the playoffs this is simply a must-win.
Key Matchup: I want to say D.J. Augustin again, but I think that's a given by now. I'm going to go with Stephen Jackson today. I think he'll be able to get to the line a good bit, as the Raptors foul a lot (8th most in the NBA). If he can score efficiently, that may be enough for the Bobcats, who can play pretty decent defense.
Fun Ajinca Story: I can't remember if I ever told y'all this, but back when former-Bobcat, current-Raptor Alexis Ajinca was in Charlotte, one time I went with a friend to the Five Guys restaurant uptown in the Epicentre (by the arena, for those who don't know), both of us dressed in Bobcats gear. My friend had his jersey signed by the legend, Ajinca. The server at Five Guys recognized Ajinca's number, which he had included in his autograph. She proceeded to tell us that Ajinca would come to Five Guys nearly every day and get about five or so chili dogs every time. We guessed it was to beef up. I don't think it worked.