Sam and Dave - Hold on I'm coming
Game Overview: The Bobcats are on a three-game win streak trying to recover from their stumble against Indiana last week to get to the eighth seed in the East to reach the playoffs. On the heels of the past few games, the Bobcats have relied on strong team play characterized by effective ball movement and cuts with fervent defense. However, the team suffered injuries to both point guards, D.J. Augustin (bruised knee, sprained ankle) and Shaun Livingston (bruised tailbone) and their status for tonight is uncertain. Garrett Temple could start, which is both intriguing and a little scary. But Temple is a great defender and played really well against the Bucks so it's not too frightening.
The Cavs are coming off their biggest win of their season -- both figuratively and literally. Beating LeBron and the Heat was just what the Drew Carey ordered, providing the team and the city with the cathartic release they've needed for months on end. And according to Cavs blogger, John Krolik, it was their first double-digit win of the season too. Much of this came from effectively dominating the paint on defense and shooting the ball well from deep. They also brought the big effort, and Baron Davis played a big part of that. J.J. Hickson and former-Bobcat Ryan Hollins controlled the paint on offense, too, forcing the Heat's weak frontcourt into fouling. The Bobcats, though, have a better frontcourt, especially defensively and shouldn't have many problems with the Cavs as long as they don't come out lackadaisically. At this point in the season, every game is pretty much a must-win and the Bobcats can't afford to play down to their opponents tonight by putting in a subpar effort. The Cavs are on the tail end of a back to back and will likely be drained physically and emotionally after such a big win. I'd like to see Boris be aggressive, both posting up on offense and facilitating ball movement considering the possible lack of Augustin and Livingston. We will need Diaw to come with the chalance instead of the nonchalance. Kwame Brown also is expected back tonight, so that will solidify the Bobcats front line. For one of the few times this season, the Bobcats should outclass their opponent in talent. Let's not blow it.
Injuries: Bobcats - Questionable - Augustin (knee, ankle), Livingston (tailbone) Cavs - Anderson Varejao (ankle - out for season), Antawn Jamison (finger - out for season)
Key Matchup: Boris Diaw vs. JJ Hickson - On defense, Hickson is more of a spot-up midrange shooter. He's working on his game in the post, but it's not quite there. Diaw is a good enough defender to contain Hickson, even though Boris can have trouble guarding athletic 4s (but if he has too much trouble, that's what Tyrus is for). I'm more looking at Boris' effectiveness on offense. Boris' passing is always welcome, but it's always much preferred he look for his shot first. I want to see him take Hickson in post or drive from the top of the key like we saw him do against the Celtics and Knicks and look to pass from there. Aggressive Diaw > Passive Diaw.