Hey, did you know the Bobcats basically obliterated the Pacers on Wednesday night? It was really cool, and kind of solidified my hypothesis (and I'm sure many of you will feel the same way) that the Bobcats would provide any first-round playoff opponent (except for the Heat) with a tough series.
So, based on that, I'm hoping the Bobcats beat the Cavaliers tonight. I'm not expecting another twenty-point drubbing, but they outmatch the Cavs based on talent, and it would be nice to see the 'Cats enter a relatively weak stretch on their schedule with a winning streak. Now three games behind the Brooklyn Nets for the sixth playoff seed, the Bobcats are probably considering every home game against weaker opponents must-wins, and I can't imagine this game would be any exception.
With Gerald Henderson out due to injury, the Bobcats will be starting Gary Neal again. He hasn't been particularly impressive since being acquired by Charlotte at the trade deadline, but his inside shooting percentage has been way below his typical mark, which will almost certainly stabilize soon.
On the other side of the court, the Cavs have played much better recently, winning eight of their last thirteen games, but all five of those losses have come in the last two weeks. It's been a rough season for Cleveland fans, as evidenced by the sponsor of their Basketball Reference page, who appears to have bought the page just to convince owner Dan Gilbert to sell the team. I guess it's just that type of year. We've all been there.
The Cavs have been going with a starting lineup of Kyrie Irving, Jarrett Jack, Luol Deng, Tristan Thompson, and Spencer Hawes lately, which is a fairly solid unit. They don't have a lot of depth, though, and that could be a weakness the Bobcats will look to exploit.
Of note, the Cavs play at the 21st-fastest pace in the NBA, and the Bobcats rank 20th, so it's probably best to not expect a ton of scoring in this game. These teams also rank 24th and 25th, respectively, in terms of offensive efficiency, which will probably also factor into the final score.