Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: the Charlotte Bobcats will aim to end a losing streak tonight. Blah, blah, blah, right? Yes, the Bobcats have another quality losing streak on their hands again, this time being of the three-game variety.
And luck them, they get to try to prevent it from advancing to a four-game skid against the Boston Celtics on Monday night – on the road, mind you.
The Celtics aren’t quite as formidable as they have been in the past, but they’re definitely not an easy out, either. The Celtics are a fairly average team in terms of wins/losses at just 19-17 on the year, but they still have the talent to whip you around on defense and school you on offense.
The only question is, will it happen against Charlotte tonight? Let’s break down the game as we try to pick this one accurately:
1. The Point – Edge: Celtics
Kemba Walker is a heck of an offensive player and is really improving in all respects, but he’s still not a great defender and Rajon Rondo can pretty much do it all. Rondo is the better rebounder, passer and defender, and he can get his offense going when he needs to, as well. Avery Bradley can fill in for him at the point, and he brings a mean punch on defense, too. This matchup is actually closer than some would think due to more offensive out-put coming from the position for Charlotte, but I have to give Boston the edge because they’re simply more experienced and versatile at the point.
2. The Wings – Edge: Bobcats
The Bobcats can get a moral win here, as they have really nice guard depth. Beyond Kemba Walker, they have the always versatile Ramon Sessions, the solid and improving Gerald Henderson and rookie swing man Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, who is popping with potential in every game. Avery Bradley and Courtney Lee give the Celtics some really nice defensive pieces, but outside of Paul Pierce, they don’t have a lot of explosive offense out on the wings. Jason Terry has been a bit of a free agent bust and appears to be in decline. This one is pretty close, but I’ll give the narrow edge to the younger and deeper Bobcats.
3. The Bigs – Edge: Celtics
When Tyris Thomas and Byron Mullens are both back in the rotation, I think Charlotte can play at a high level down low. Especially when you combine the efforts of Hakim Warrick, Bismack Biyombo and Brendan Haywood. Unfortunately, even if they were all healthy and pounding down low together, I’d still take the Celts here. Kevin Garnett is still a beast in is how right, and he doesn’t get pushed around too often. Besides, while Brandon Bass and Jared Sullinger aren’t always the most consistent of performers, they alone make Boston tougher insider than Charlotte. They’re thicker and stronger than anyone the Bobcats have.
4. The Coach – Edge: Celtics
Not even close. Doc Rivers is one of the best coaches in the league, and many would say he’s even the best. I won’t go quite that far, but he’s a top-5 NBA coach in my book, and Bobcats’ rookie screamer Mike Dunlap isn’t even close. Like Charlotte, Dunlap continues to show greatness in random spurts, but it isn’t enough in year one to hold a candle to a stand-up guy like Rivers.
5. The Verdict – Celtics win
Charlotte is knee-deep in another skid, and it might be a while before they get out of the mud again. It could happen tonight, sure, but Boston has better talent and more veteran leadership. They also have something called pride and are playing at home. I don’t necessarily expect this one to be all that close.
Celtics win, 97-84.