Blackalicious - Day One
Game Overview: The last two games the Bobcats played against the Florida teams left fans and viewers with nearly opposite reactions. The first game featured great performances from nearly everyone to go toe-to-toe with the defending Eastern Conference champs. The latter game featured hardly a handful of players with impressive games for the Bobcats.
Last time, the Bobcats rendered the Heat's bench marginally effective (11 points on 18 shots) and crushed the Heat on the boards (53-30). However, the Bobcats are negating much of those hard-earned extra possessions by giving them up on turnovers. Wednesday, Miami turned 22 Bobcats giveaways into 27 points. The Bobcats could clearly more practice time that they just don't have to smooth out the kinks.
As we've seen, the Heat are faster and stronger than just about any team out there. LeBron James has been arguably the best player in the NBA (incredible scorer, strong defender, great distributor) so far. Dwyane Wade and James seem to fit better in the offense this season, and it definitely helps to have a talented young point guard in Norris Cole. And though Chris Bosh may get disrespected often (unfairly so, I may add), he's become an undervalued part of the Heat. Shane Battier adds little offensively, but contributes strong defense off the bench. A strong team, but certainly not insurmountable, as their past two games have shown.
Once again, the Bobcats must do their best to facilitate an unselfish offense that passes quickly to find holes in the Heat's defense. Turnovers must be limited and though I don't expect the rebounding to be as large as it was, again, the Bobcats must outhustle Miami for rebounds to win more possessions. Defensively, it seems the Bobcats may try out some zone defense, forcing the Heat to shoot over it and find holes in the zones. I wonder how much of that we'll really see, with as disjointed a young team can be without having to adjust to a new defense.
Key Matchup: Gerald Henderson vs. Dwyane Wade - need I say more? Henderson had a rough outing against Orlando and Jason Richardson. Can he bounce back against Wade, whom he played well against last week. If Henderson can shut down Wade once more and put up an efficient offensive night, the Bobcats can be right in this one again.