The Bobcats play their fifth preseason game tomorrow when they head to Detroit to play the Pistons. The Bobcats are 1-3 so far in preseason action, while the Pistons are 2-3. The Bobcats have lost three straight in preseason after defeating the Wizards in their opener. Both teams linked up over the summer in a deal that sent Corey Maggette to Detroit in exchange for Ben Gordon and a future first round draft pick. It will be Gordon’s first game in Detroit since the trade.
In the past two games, the Bobcats have come out with poor offense in the first quarter. I’m really looking to see what they’ll change to avoid an immediate drought. So far Mike Dunlap has changed starting lineups for each of the four preseason games, so maybe he’ll go with his best offensive lineup to start. It’s also probable that he won’t tinker with the lineup much. The Bobcats aren’t going to push teams over with their offense, but at the least you want to see better, sharper execution on that side of the ball.
Another thing to look for is the continued sharp shooting of Byron Mullens. Mullens is currently shooting 44% from three in the preseason, and definitely has the green light from Coach Dunlap to continue blasting. Mullens three-point range has been one of the most welcome additions so far in the preseason. He’ll likely see a mixture of Greg Monroe, Jason Maxiel and rookie Andre Drummond on him during the game. Drummond could probably be the biggest threat to matchup against him with his long arms, quickness and athleticism defensively.
I’m hoping for a noteworthy performance out of Michael Kidd-Gilchrist as well. MKG hasn’t had a stunning preseason, at least statistically, so hopefully tomorrow he comes out on the road and shows his activity on both ends. MKG is more than capable of stuffing the staff sheet, and he’ll have a chance to do it against veteran Tayshaun Prince and possibly even Corey Maggette.
Will Kemba Walker play tomorrow? If not, expect another 30+ mpg night out of Ramon Sessions, who’s looked pretty solid so far in preseason. If Kemba does play, he’ll be matched up against fellow second-year point guard Brandon Knight. That could be pretty fun to watch.
There isn’t a ton to watch for in this game. Both of these teams are probably long shots to make the postseason, with the Pistons having a noticeably better shot. But I expect the games to be competitive in the regular season, as well as tomorrow’s game.
Pistons (2-3) (Starting Lineup vs. Miami):
PG – Brandon Knight, SG – Rodney Stuckey, SF – Tayshaun Prince, PF – Jason Maxiel, C – Greg Monroe
Bobcats (1-3) (Starting Lineup vs. OKC):
PG – Ramon Sessions, SG – Gerald Henderson, SF – MIchael Kidd-Gilchrist, PF – Byron Mullens, C – Brendan Haywood