Gametime: 7 p.m. EST
The Bobcats begin a three-game home stead starting with the Celtics tonight. They play the Pacers on Wednesday and wrap up on Friday against the Bucks. If all goes according to plan (lol) the Bobcats could be two games over .500 at 9-2. For real. For really real.
Anyway, let's take things one step at a time.
This game will be easier to gauge considering the Bobcats had Al Jefferson in the lineup the last time Boston and Charlotte faced off. Jefferson's offense came through to help the Bobcats pull out a six-point win in a craptacular offensive effort featuring two teams that couldn't shoot close to 40 percent from the field. Defensively, these are two well-coached teams. They're young and lack talent but rotate well. The Bobcats do especially well rotating inside to defend the rim and clog the paint while the Celtics maintain focus on the perimeter to the tune of holding opponents to 31.8 percent shooting from the 3-point land, second best in the league.
Last time out, the Bobcats basically won on the shoulders of the usual culprits: a healthy positive differential in free throws, turnovers and rebounding. They took care of the ball better than Boston, played terrific defense and forced the Celtics to beat them with a weak offensive unit. Boston had better shooting but they were still sub-par and couldn't overcome the deficit.
A similar effort would be welcome tonight. The Celtics are still without Rajon Rondo, but this time they are also without Kelly Olynyk, who suffered an ankle sprain recently. In his absence, the Celtics will give more minutes to Kris Humphries and Vitor Faverani. Both are better rebounders than Olynyk, so the Celtics could make up some ground on the glass there.
As a final note, it would probably be helpful if the Bobcats got a half-decent outside shooting performance. Just wanted to throw that out there.