After having a three-game win streak snapped by the Atlanta Hawks, the Charlotte Bobcats are preparing to face another division foe tonight. The Bobcats are on the road to face the Washington Wizards, who are winless ten games into the NBA season. The Wizards are still playing without point guard John Wall, who is healing from an injury.
Obviously no team wants to be “that team” who gave the Wizards their first win, so lets take a look at what the keys will be on both sides of the ball:
- Do not underestimate this Wizards. They have lost seven of their 10 games by seven points or less. Their effort is there and they are competing, but they have trouble closing out games without John Wall and another proven late scorer.
- The Wizards defense will surprise you. They rank 10th in defensive rating, first in the league in opponents threes allowed, and first in opponents PPG. Now some of these stats can easily be attributed to them being one of only two teams to play 10 games this season, but they are playing solid defense, and it isn’t the reason they’re losing games.
- Keep getting to the line. Ramon Sessions has done a great job of attacking the basket and creating contact at the rim off the bench. Hopefully more players follow suit, so we don’t go through the dry spells we did last night. Be aggressive off the dribble.
- Byron Mullens. He’s shooting 36% from the field his last five games, as well as 18% from three in 34mpg. For better or worse, he’s the best offensive big man we have right now, so hopefully he can get up some good shots, be effective tonight.
- Bench scoring. The Bobcats are 7th in the league in points off the bench. Guess who’s #1? The Wizards. The Bobcats bench scoring has been a welcome addition this season, and we’re going to need Sessions, Gordon and others to be big tonight.
- There needs to be more consistency tonight on this end. Last night the Bobcats had stretches where they were fully committed and engaged defensively, but never maintained that energy for 48 minutes. The Wizards rank dead last in points per game and offensive rating so far this season.
- Defend the three-point line. Last night the Bobcats did a terrible job watching where the Hawks three-point shooters were, and they allowed the team to move the ball effectively and get good looks for their shooters. Washington isn’t a great three-point shooting team, but you don’t want to give any of their guys space to shoot, especially at home.
- Rebounding. Both the Bobcats and Wizards rank in the bottom 10 in rebounding so far this year, so something has to give. It’s important to win rebounding battles, especially on the road. The Bobcats lost the rebounding battle yesterday to Atlanta at home.
- Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. He’s always a key defensively for the team. He was all over the place last night, and played a big part in creating offense out of defense. I’m hoping to see more of MKG’s stellar defense tonight.
- Close the game out. Again, this Wizards team is losing close games, and not being blown out. They’re competing and if the game comes down to the last few minutes, the Bobcats are going to win with their defense.
We’ll see if any of these keys play a factor in tonight’s game in the game recap later tonight.