After striking out on their four-game Western Conference road trip, the Charlotte Bobcats are back in the Queen City. The Bobcats will look to snap their seven game losing streak tonight against the Brooklyn Nets. The Nets are 34-26 and have twice as many road wins as the Bobcats have home wins. The Bobcats are 13-47 and maintain the worst record in the league.
The Bobcats didn’t take away any positives from their road trip. Their average margin of defeat was a blistering 26 points and defense appeared to be optional. Not much can be said about this team right now other than seeing them painfully limp to the finish line of this 82-game season.
Brooklyn is tied for the fourth playoff seed in the Eastern Conference with the Chicago Bulls. They’re three and a half games back from the Atlantic Division lead of the New York Knicks. Despite firing head coach Avery Johnson at the beginning of the season, the Nets have been impressive in their play. With a backcourt of Deron Williams and Joe Johnson, and the underrated Brook Lopez in the middle, the Nets could certainly be a tough out in the postseason.
This is the Nets first visit to Charlotte, following a 97-81 victory over the Bobcats earlier in the season. That game was interim head coach P.J. Carlesimo’s first game taking over the Nets. The trio of Johnson, Williams and Lopez combined for 61 of the Nets points and had a fairly easy win.
It’s tough to predict whether the Bobcats can pull an upset here, given the recent play and body language from the team. It looks eerily similar to last season when games were often over before they started. If the Bobcats are going to have a chance, they’re going to have contain Lopez in the paint, which they failed to do in the last meeting. The Bobcats don’t really have any individual defenders who are as strong and long as Lopez, so it’s definitely going to take a team effort to do so.
The Bobcats are also going to need to guard the perimeter. The Nets are one of the top ten teams in threes attempted, and attempted 27 in their last meeting against Charlotte. Fortunately, they only made nine of those threes, but the Nets can get hot from distance and if Charlotte has bad rotations as they’ve had all season, it’s going to be another long night.