The Charlotte Bobcats host the Minnesota Timberwolves on Saturday night, currently suffering through yet another losing streak, this time with three straight losses. To make matters worse, Charlotte hasn’t won at home in almost two months, and basically is eyeing the number one overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft.
At this point, most Bobcats fans probably just want the season tanked anyways, in an effort to land the best possible talent in this year’s draft. However, there are still the spirited few that realize this is a young but talented team, and would like to avoid further embarrassment.
As difficult as that seems to be lately, the Bobcats still generally put up a solid fight through the first three quarters. Let’s see if they have what it takes to put in a complete game at home against Minnesota:
1. The Point – Edge: Bobcats
Ricky Rubio isn’t himself yet in recovery from a knee injury and his minutes and attitude aren’t right yet, either. The Timberwolves still have Luke Ridnour and J.J. Barea to toss in at the point, but not a single one of these guys in their current state can top what Kemba Walker has to offer on either end, while Ramon Sessions is just as solid as them in a backup and complementary role. I really like both team’s guard play, but for Saturday night I think the matchup weighs in the favor of the Bobcats.
2. The Wings – Edge: Bobcats
This is such a close battle, as Minnesota and Charlotte both have a really solid group of guards and nice depth at the guard position as a whole. Obviously Luke Ridnour is as balanced as they come and J.J. Barea can put on an offensive show, but outside of AK-47, the Bobcats have the edge here in explosiveness, size, and depth. Even outside of the point guard position, they have Ben Gordon off the bench and a steady Gerald Henderson. You also can’t forget about rookie Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, who hasn’t been lights out, but has been playing efficient basketball lately.
3. The Bigs – Edge: Timberwolves
Even without Kevin Love and Nikola Pekovic, Minnesota is a little more formidable in the paint than Charlotte. Yes, the Bobcats can lean on Bismack Biyombo defensively and could get Byron Mullens back, but they don’t have the offense or versatility from their big men that the Timberwolves do – even with the current set up. Even though Andrei Kirilenko is a wing guy, he can still slide down and is a shot-blocking presence. It’s not a big edge at all, but I’m giving the slight nod to Minnesota here.
4. The Coach – Edge: Split
Terry Porter never impressed me in Milwaukee or Phoenix, and he certainly isn’t impressing me now. I could say the same for Charlotte’s Mike Dunlap, but his team isn’t as good and it’s his first season. I’ll call this one a wash.
5. The Verdict: Bobcats Win
Mother Mary, thank the Lord. Yes, the Bobcats get a home win – finally. Call me Mr. Reach, but I just am not enamored with a Timberwolves team that is currently lead by Terry Porter and doesn’t have Kevin Love.
Charlotte is fully capable of choking this one away in the final stanza, but every streak has to end sooner or later, and it’d be lovely to have their current skid and their home skid to end on the same night. Call it a blessed weekend. Give me the Bobcats, 91-87.