When: 7:00 PM ET
Where: Time Warner Cable Arena, Charlotte
Tickets: Bobcats Tickets @ Heat
Starting Line Up:
PG Kemba Walker PG Mario Chalmers
SG Gerald Henderson SG Dwyane Wade
SF Michael Kidd-Gilchrist SF LeBron James
PF Josh McRoberst PF Shane Battier
C Al Jefferson C Chris Bosh
Al Jefferson ( plantar fascia strain) Day to Day
Michael Beasley (sprained ankle) Day to Day
Match Up to Watch:
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist vs. LeBron James pt. III-MKG had the game of his career against the defending champs and the best player in the NBA. His aggressiveness driving the lane and grabbing boards made all the difference in keeping Charlotte in the game late. If he can do it again, and make things a little more difficult for James on the defensive end, then the Bobcats have all the tools necessary to take Game 3 at home.
Kemba Walker vs. Mario Chalmers- Walker has played very well in his first playoff appearance so far (18.0 pts, 7.0 ast, 4.0 reb), but he needs to take more advantage of the mismatches he has against a hobbled Chalmers and inexperienced Norris Cole. If he can slip into the lane a bit more and draw a few fouls here and there, Walker can really cause some headaches for a slower Heat team that lacks depth and skill in the back court.
The Bobcats maybe down 2-0 to the 2-time Defending NBA champs, but their still confident they can turn the series around,”I think we know that we can challenge these guys and win,” said a confident Kemba Walker on Friday.
And why not? Despite their recent history of failure and permeating culture of losing, the Bobcats are actively changing their league wide perception from unlovable losers to blue collar fighters. Much of that has had to do with Al Jefferson’s unbelievable grit playing on a bad foot and Walkers everlasting confidence. But it’s also the growing sense of toughness and beat-em-up play that Steve Clifford has instilled in a young Bobcats team that the National audience is beginning to take notice of.
As the Bobcats get their first home playoff game in four years tonight, there is an undeniable electricity in the Queens City that has fans thinking and hoping for a franchise first playoff win in front of the growing Bobcats/Hornets fan base. That’s why the Bobcats may actually have a home court advantage against the Heat for the first time since LeBron made his way to South Beach.
If the crowed gets into it tonight and the Queen City big three of Jefferson, Walker and Kidd-Gilchrist light it up; and the Cats allow a little less turnovers and fouls, an upset maybe be in the cards. If that happens, maybe Buzz City will return a little sooner than the start of next season.