Television: Fox Sports Ohio
Tipoff: 7 p.m.
Line: Charlotte -1.5
The Charlotte Bobcats and Cleveland Cavaliers will meet for the second time in exhibition play tonight in Charlotte. The Bobcats won the last meeting 92-74.
Charlotte will again be without veterans Al Jefferson, Brendan Haywood and Ben Gordon. Haywood is sidelined for three months, while Jefferson and Gordon are expected to be available when the Bobcats make their season debut next week in Houston.
Gordon was the team’s second leading scorer in preseason before undergoing a knee procedure in Phoenix.
Gordon’s absence has further highlighted the team’s miserable three-point shooting. The Bobcats were one of the league’s worst teams from three last season and continue to struggle in preseason. They’ve made a little over 5 threes per game at 31%; only the Denver Nuggets have been worse.
The team’s starting lineup isn’t projected to feature an above-average three-point threat. Kemba Walker, Gerald Henderson, and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist don’t rely on jump shots and prefer to attack the basket and force the issue.
Rookie Cody Zeller has been touted as a stretch forward by team management, but has yet to attempt a three in preseason, and only attempted two in college.
Charlotte’s defense isn’t having the struggles the offense has. Bismack Biyombo has been a competent replacement for Jefferson and has helped with the improved defense. Biyombo is averaging 7 points, 13 rebounds and 2.5 blocks in his last four preseason starts. The third-year center has been making strides to improve his rebounding, after only reaching double figures in rebounding 20 times last season.
The Bobcats were 29th in points allowed last season, but figure to be much improved.