Gametime: 8:00 p.m. EST
They were without Ramon Sessions following the trade deadline but had not yet incorporated Luke Ridnour and Gary Neal into their rotation. And even still they escaped with a 3-point win at home behind Kemba Walker's 31 points over a team with a (then) record of 14-5 against Eastern Conference teams.
Not much has changed since then for Memphis. Zach Randolph was ill for a bit but returned yesterday against the Bulls. Courtney Lee is still starting at shooting guard as Tony Allen's missed a bunch of the season with hip and hand injuries.
The Bobcats, on the other hand, have reeled off two consecutive victories, one a blowout on the NBA's top team and another last night taking down the Cavaliers at home.
Considering Marc Gasol's defensive efforts and how well they affected Al Jefferson last time around, it should be no stretch to say Kemba Walker will be depended upon for another strong performance to supplement Jefferson's possible struggles.
If Jefferson plays better, which he can, the Bobcats will have an easier time on offense and with Ridnour and Neal's added depth to the roster, Charlotte can spread the floor better. Though Memphis' offense gets as little three-point production as any team, they utilize a low-turnover rate and high offensive rebounding percentage to limit mistakes and to give them second chance opportunities. Defensively they're not at the top anymore, but they're above average thanks to talented defenders in Gasol and perimeter talent in Mike Conley, Courtney Lee, Tony Allen and Tayshaun Prince.
Oh and don't forget about James Johnson, nicknamed "Little Ali" for his fighting skills. This isn't a joke. He could be an MMA fighter. He was 20-0 as a kickboxer and fought one MMA fight. Holy crap.