Christmas is over, and it’s back to business for the Charlotte Bobcats. The Bobcats will take their 15-game losing streak back home to face the defending NBA Champion Miami Heat.
The Heat are coming off a win over the Oklahoma City Thunder in a finals rematch Tuesday, and have the best record in the Eastern Conference. It’s always a show when the Miami Heat come to town, and Bobcats fans remember their close game against the Heat last season when Dwyane Wade hit a game winning shot to put the Bobcats away.
Miami this season has continued the strategy that helped them win an NBA Championship earlier this year, by playing smallball. In Coach Erik Spolestra’s “positionless” offense, the Heat push the tempo, load the floor with shooters, creating driving lanes and kicking out to shooters.
The Heat also play a lot of isolation ball, with some of the games best one-on-one scorers in the game. It’s the type of offense that has been killing the Bobcats lately, as they’re struggling to defend pick and rolls and get out to shooters.
Rebounding and defense have been the biggest struggles though for Miami. They rank last in the league in total rebounding, and are just 15th in opponents points per game. The Heat aren’t terrible though defensively, and are more than capable of getting stops and locking you down. Plus, there’s that one guy they have, LeBron James or something.
The Heat will be clear favorites on the road, going up against a young Bobcats team that’s starting to get hit by injuries. Byron Mullens will miss several weeks with a left ankle sprain. Ben Gordon seems like a gametime decision with soreness in his knee. Gerald Henderson has been nursing a right shin contusion, and is also a gametime decision. It could be a rough night for the Bobcats, who even without the injuries, are at a talent disadvantage. With that said, lets look at the players to watch for tomorrow:
- Chris Bosh, Miami Heat: Entering today’s game against Oklahoma City, Bosh was averaging just 14.7ppg and 7.1 rebounds in December. To his credit, Bosh is shooting over 50% from the field this month too. Bosh is having another great season in Miami, but could be due for a big offensive night with a Bobcats frontcourt that’s lacking on both sides of the floor. I’d expect a lot of Bismack Biyombo on Bosh tomorrow, and it will be a tough task for Biyombo. Bosh can spread the floor out to the three-point line, and is also capable of facing up and going to the rim. While LeBron James and Dwyane Wade are the bigger names, Bosh could certainly get his tomorrow night.
- Kemba Walker, Charlotte Bobcats: What else is new? Kemba’s been the Bobcats best player this season, and is the most reliable offensive threat going up against the Heat. With injuries in the frontcourt and backcourt, Walker having a big night is a given for this team to have a puncher’s chance at winning. Walker in his last five games is averaging 22.2ppg, 6ast while shooting 46% from the field and 41% from three. Walker is the heart of the Bobcats league-leading perimeter scoring, and along with Ramon Sessions, they’re going to have to a tough task tomorrow.