Raise your hand if you predicted that eight games into the season the Charlotte Bobcats would be second in the Southeast Division and the Milwaukee Bucks would be first in the Central Division. If you’re hand is raised, please use a fire extinguisher on your trousers because you’re a big fat liar.
The Bobcats have jumped out to a (relatively) solid start by holding onto the basketball, nailing free throws and, amazingly, grabbing rebounds.
The Bucks have raced out their great start by being second in the league in assists per game, a stat which has led to their ranking as the fifth best offense in the NBA.
They’re also not too shabby on the boards and on defense ranking 11th and 16th in those categories respectively.
The keys to winning this game for the Bobcats are stopping Monta Ellis and Larry Sanders from doing what they do best; Scoring and rebounding (again, respectively).
Brendan Heywood has proven he can bang with the big boys this year, and he might just be able to neutralize Sanders. It’ll be tough, though, for Kemba Walker to do the same to Ellis. Walker has been great this year (so far, knock on wood), but he’s still not the greatest defensive point guard in the league, and I don’t think he’s quite ready to get into a scoring contest with Ellis.
Ramon Sessions will help spell Walker at times, but, then again, the Bobcats also have to worry about Brandon Jennings going off… And he has a tendency to do that, kind of, like, whenever he feels like it.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist has seen a dip in minutes since his 25 points and 12 rebounds in 41 minutes against the Mavericks; in his past three games he’s played in 27, 17 and 22 minutes.
Barring injury, Mike Dunlap is going to have to unleash him on the Bucks defensively if he wants a real shot at winning this game.
For what it’s worth, while the ‘Cats are coming off a hard fought 94-87 loss to Memphis, the Bucks just beat the New Orleans Hornets 117-113.