Charlotte Bobcats at L.A. Clippers
February 26, 2013
7:30 p.m. PST
FOX Prime Ticket
The team that has the longest winning streak of the NBA season should always be favored over the team with the longest losing streak of the year. That’s the case here. The Clippers reeled off 17 consecutive wins starting at the end of November, a time period that almost perfectly overlapped with the Bobcats’ 18-game skid. The Clips won game one against the Cats 100-94, a closer-than-it-should’ve-been game in Charlotte. But should a healthy Clippers squad be favored by double digits at home against Charlotte? We’ll answer in 3-on-3:
1. If the NBA had a redraft of last year’s picks, where would Michael Kidd-Gilchrist go?
Spencer Percy, Queen City Hoops, (@QCsportscrave): Probably 4th. I think that it’s pretty clear that Anthony Davis, Damian Lillard and Andre Drummond are the projected stars of this past draft class. That being said, I do believe that MKG affects the game in more ways than any other player of this class, minus Anthony Davis. I don’t know that he’ll ever be a 20 PPG type of player, but Kidd-Gilchrist will forever be the type of guy that never gives up on a play and is probably an elite defender for most of his career
Seerat Sohi, (@DamianTrillard): Before I answer this, I’d like to start off by saying that Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is one of my favorite players in the NBA. He’s absolutely destructive on the defensive end, ranking in the top 100 in isolation, pick-and-roll, off screen, and post-up defense according to Synergy Sports. All of this is despite the fact that he’s just 19 years old and is backed by one of the worst defensive units in the NBA. He can’t shoot worth a lick, but he knows that so he plays within his limits. Oh, and he did this to Greg Monroe last week. That said, there’s no way that he’d get selected in the top two again. Those spots belong to Damian Lillard and Anthony Davis. At the third, most GM’s would take Andre Drummond, who was passed on by eight teams. Beyond that, the next couple slots would probably be a toss-up between Dion Waiters, Bradley Beal and MKG. A top 4-6 pick is still not too shabby for a guy that’s still in his teens, four months into his first season in the NBA.
Jovan Buha, (@jovanbuha): Fifth, behind Anthony Davis, Andre Drummond, Damian Lillard and Bradley Beal. Which, judging by recent No. 2 picks, isn’t all that bad. MKG is pretty raw offensively, but he makes up for that with his potential as a long, athletic lockdown defender. He needs to learn to not tell the media his 50-year-old boss beat him one-on-one, though.
2. What do the Bobcats need to do to win this game? (Aside from scoring more points than the Clippers.)
Percy: Make a ton of shots. I don’t see them being able to stay in front of CP3, because well, nobody can. I also don’t see that Cats’ closing out on shooters, because they rarely do a good job of that. Don’t crowd the Clippers on defense and be careful on how much you help off shooters should be Dunlap’s message, but let’s be real. Only way Clippers lose this game is if they forget to show up to the arena.
Sohi: If the Bobcats want to have a shot at winning, they’re going to have to play like a team that’s … not the Bobcats. If things go as they should, the Clippers should give Charlotte nightmares. The Cats rank in the bottom three of the league in offensive efficiency, defensive efficiency and rebounding rate. The Clippers are in the top ten of all these categories. L.A. scores 45.1 percent of its points in the paint, Charlotte allows the second most points in the paint in the entire league, behind only the Portland Trail Blazers. The Clippers lead the league in points off turnovers and are ninth in fast break points. The Cats are top five in fast-break points allowed. There might be a pattern here. Charlotte is an absolute mess. Mike Dunlap’s dribble drive offense is a disaster and his oft-employed zone defense makes you wonder if they even hold team practices.
Buha: Well, you took my answer. In all seriousness, they have to get hot from beyond the arc. Most of the Clippers’ losses to subpar teams — Cavs, Magic, Hornets — have come from their inability to defend the 3-pointer. That said, I don’t see it happening (Charlotte’s 22nd in 3-point shooting).
3. True or false: The Clippers win by double digits.
Percy: True. They’re a double digit margin better than the Bobcats 9 out of 10 games played between these two.
Sohi: True. Since Chris Paul’s return, the Clippers have gone 5-2, and have won five of their last six games by double digits. The worst team they faced in that stretch were the Philadelphia 76ers, who aren’t even close to being as bad as the 13-43 Bobcats.
Buha: True. I think Spurs’ loss, and all the public backlash, upset the Clippers and has given them much-needed motivation this late in the season. There’s no point in making a game like this, against a terrible opponent, a struggle. I would go so far as to say they win by 15-plus.