The Charlotte Bobcats don’t have much time to rebound from a heartbreaking loss to the Lakers Tuesday night.
The Bobcats will take their 12-game losing streak into Phoenix, for their second and last meeting with the Suns for the season. Both teams are among the worst defensive teams in the league so far this season. ranking in the bottom five in opponents points. The Suns defeated the Bobcats 117-110 in the first game, led by Shannon Brown’s three-point heroics in the fourth quarter.
With Steve Nash now wearing a Lakers uniform, the Suns look to different players to pick up wins. Free agent acquisition Goran Dragic leads the Suns in points and assists and has a 19.5 PER.
He is one of six Suns players who averages double digits in scoring for the season. The team does a good job of moving the ball and spreading the attack between their players. While Dragic is the leading scorer, there’s no consistent #1 option on this team, and they operate more by committee.
It could be a tough guard for Charlotte’s struggling defense.
Covering multiple scorers and defending the three-point line has been a huge problem for the Bobcats. Rotations are either slow, or missed, and shooters are often forgot about. Phoenix isn’t a great three-point shooting team, at just 18th in makes, but they aren’t afraid to shoot it, ranking just 13th in attempts.
The Bobcats will have to regroup after an emotional loss to the Lakers yesterday. The Bobcats led by as many as 18 points, but could not close against Kobe Bryant’s fourth quarter magic.
While the loss continued a dark December for the team, Kemba Walker has been a consistent highlight. Walker had 28 points, seven assists and five rebounds against the Lakers, and has been on a tear for the season. The Bobcats backcourt scoring continued to be a strength as they got over 60 points between their guards.
Before yesterdays game Coach Dunlap spoke on Walker’s breakout this season, and said that he wants him to grow into more of a Chris Paul-type of leader. Dunlap wants Walker to get on his teammates more and push them for the better of the team. A game like this could be another test in reaching that type of leadership level.
Players To Watch:
- Jared Dudley, Phoenix: The former Bobcat is having a great December, averaging 14ppg, shooting 55% from the field and 51% from three. Many wondered if Dudley’s three-point shot would trail off without Nash creating space for it, but Dudley’s been just fine this season. With the way Phoenix spreads out the attack, and the Bobcats struggles guarding the perimeter, Dudley could be in for another hot shooting night.
- Kemba Walker, Charlotte: Kemba’s the man right now for Charlotte, and games after tough losses like these can often be tough to win. The Bobcats are going to need another big night out of Kemba on both sides of the ball. He’s the leader of the team, and the heart of the Bobcats deep backcourt scoring. He’ll have an interesting matchup against Goran Dragic, and I like his chances to take advantage of it.
The Bobcats will tip off from Phoenix at 9pm.