The Eastern Conference feels like it's filled with a bunch of zombies. Every time a team is declared dead in the water for the playoffs they spring back to life and go on a string of wins. The Cavaliers are the latest team to rise from the dead. After it seemed like they were going to sleepwalk through the rest of the season as Kyrie Irving recovered from an injury, a jolt of energy shot through them and now Cleveland is only a couple games back for the 8th seed in the East.
Meanwhile the Bobcats are still trying to make a run for the 6th seed in the playoffs so every game matters at this point. They're still behind Washington but right on their tail, so tonight would be a huge win for the Bobcats by keeping them within striking distance before their next head-to-head matchup next week.
Tonight won't be an easy one for Charlotte. The Cavaliers are hitting their stride just at the right time and Kyrie Irving is back from injury. The Bobcats, meanwhile, are on a back-to-back on the road and not entirely healthy. The odds are against them and you could even say this is a likely loss for the Bobcats. They do, however, have an advantage at frontcourt where I'm not sure anybody on the Cavs really has the ability to slow Al Jefferson down. Spencer Hawes isn't a great defender and Anderson Varejao has been slowed down by age. This should draw some double teams, allowing Big Al to kick out and get the ball moving, something the Bobcats struggle to do at times.
The Cavs meanwhile are going to give the Bobcats a hell of a time with their backcourt. Between Irving's return and Dion Waiters having a strong finish, Kemba Walker and Gerald Henderson will have their hands full. Offensively Walker shouldn't have too many problems as Irving gets very slack on defense sometimes and can be susceptible to watching the ball. The Bobcats like to move Walker off the ball a lot so this might give them an advantage in this department.
As for who wins tonight, it's really a toss up due to being a back-to-back on the road. I'm going to give the edge to Cleveland just because of the circumstances but it's not like a win by the Bobcats would shock the basketball landscape.