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Charlotte Bobcats vs Toronto Raptors game preview

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John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Spo

Gametime: 2: 00 p.m.

It's odd to prepare for a game against the Raptors, the team Kemba Walker defeated as time expired in the last matchup, but now without the young guard.

I'm not sure what to expect with Ramon Sessions starting at point guard in his stead. Sessions has been merely adequate off the bench and moving him to a larger role doesn't have easily defined or hypothesized parameters for what to expect -- mostly because this hasn't happened in his time in Charlotte yet.

Sessions isn't a great passer, but the statistics say he isn't much worse than Walker. Still, if you just watch the team nightly, it's not hard to see the offense struggles with Sessions. The Bobcats have to run a bunch of Walker-Sessions backcourt lineups to counter the deficiencies. The team's passing seems more inconsequential when Sessions is the lone point guard on the floor and the offense stalls when this kind of passing happens. I'm going to take a longer look at this tomorrow for Tuesday to see if the facts back up what my eyes see, but going solely on the so-called "eye test", Sessions isn't a great fire-starter for an offense outside of himself.

Anyway.

The Raptors are the third seed in the Eastern Conference. The third seed. Behind the Pacers and the Heat. The Raptors. The Toronto Raptors. At 20-19. At one game over .500.

I hate the Eastern Conference.

Still, fair is fair: Over their last 21 games, they've won 14. And that is daggone superb for the East! Pats on the back all around!

Ok, well, beating the Pacers, Thunder, Mavericks and Timberwolves is pretty good too, I suppose. All right, that's rather terrific. Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan have been spectacular catalysts for this change in the Raptors offense (yes, as much as Rudy Gay's absence has been). The Raptors frontcourt has been encouraging, as well. Amir Johnson and Jonas Valanciunas aren't star scorers but do well in their roles and help a lot to shut down the pain defensively. And Patrick Patterson has been very good since coming over in the Rudy Gay trade.

All in all, this doesn't look great for the Cats with Walker out. The Bobcats will need big scoring games from Henderson, Sessions, Jefferson, Kidd-Gilchrist or McRoberts -- well over their average to make up for Walker's now missing 19 points per game.

Good luck, friends.