The Charlotte Bobcats are having poor luck with the Philadelphia Sixers this season. This past weeekend the Sixers added another win in their column against the Bobcats with a 100-92 victory in Philadelphia. The two teams will meet one last time this season tonight in Charlotte, where the Bobcats will look for their 18th win of the season.
The Bobcats are coming off one of their worst losses of the season in Milwaukee. The Milwaukee Bucks scored 131 points on the Bobcats, which is the second highest total of an opponent this season. At the beginning of the season, the Bobcats defense showed a little bit of promise and potential, but that quickly went downhill.
There doesn’t seem to be much organization, communication or effort defensively on this team, and a lot of fans are going to look at head coach Mike Dunlap for those downfalls. The Bobcats are giving up 103.5 points this season, which is the highest number in Bobcats history. Evaluating body language and post game quotes, the players are all clearly frustrated with their defensive ineptitude and unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be many signs of it changing this late into the season.
Starting forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist will presumably be back in the starting lineup. Kidd-Gilchrist returned to the team today after missing Monday’s game against the Bucks with a family matter. Kidd-Gilchrist has started 69 games for the Bobcats this season. He’s averaging 9.1 points, 5.9 rebounds and one block in 70 games.
Kidd-Gilchrist started his rookie campaign strong, averaging just under 11 points in November and December. He shot over 56% from the field in December. Since then his field goal percentage has been down and his play hasn’t been noticeable. In March he shot 49% from the field after shooting below 40% in January and February. It’d be great to see Kidd-Gilchrist have a strong finish to the season and he can get a start on it with his return to the lineup tonight.
The Sixers haven’t been a good team this year, but they’ve done enough to avoid losing to the Bobcats. Offensively, they’re one of the most challenged teams in the league. They’re 29th in scoring and 27th in offensive rating. One of the key things that sticks out is their lack of free throw attempts. The Sixers are last in the league in getting to the line and also 25th in FT% when they do arrive at the charity stripe.
There isn’t much outside shooting, as the Sixers rank 24th in three-point makes and 25th in attempts. Like the Bobcats, they’re a young team who doesn’t have an identity on offense. They thought they would have an identity this season with the acquisition of Andrew Bynum, but he’s scheduled to miss the remainder of the season without ever playing in a Philadelphia uniform.
Are the Bobcats capable of beating the Sixers? Yes. Their losses are only by 6, 11, and 8, which would seem to indicate that they can keep the games close and just play smarter. Then again, we haven’t seen much of that from Charlotte this season. If they’re going to have a chance, as always they’ll need big games from Kemba Walker and Gerald Henderson, who combined for 44 points Monday against the Bucks.
They’re also going to need strong outings from Josh McRoberts and their guards on the bench in Jannero Pargo and Ben Gordon. The Bobcats have won four of their last five games at home and could look to continue that trend back home tonight in the Queen City.