If you’ve been laying down a ton of money betting against the Charlotte Bobcats over the past month in a half, you could probably call it your day job. Loyal fans want to know when betting in favor of a Bobcats win will pay off, though, so we dive into another NBA matchup to see if that can happen on Friday night.
After five straight losses, the Bobcats travel to Orlando to try to stop the bleeding against the Magic. Ironically enough, Orlando just ended their own woeful losing skid a few games ago.
Charlotte enters tonight’s matchup an abysmal 4-14 on the road, while the Magic are 8-12 on their home floor. Let’s break this one down by each position and see who comes out on top:
1. The Point – Edge: Bobcats
Jameer Nelson can be a boss at the point at times, but in all reality, he’s a shoot-first scorer who has the ability to pass but doesn’t do it at an elite level. With that said, he’s actually at over seven assists per game right now, and he’s manning the position the best that he has in years. However, he lacks size and great defensive ability, so I’m giving the edge to the deeper Bobcats. Kemba Walker is the more explosive scorer and improving at the point every week, while Ramon Sessions gives Charlotte better depth and more versatility than Orlando has at the position. It’s very close, but I like the Bobcats at the point more in this matchup.
2. The Wings – Edge: Magic
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist might be exceptional eventually, but right now he’s inconsistent and sometimes barely there. The aforementioned Sessions combines with Gerald Henderson and Ben Gordon to make a solid crew, and overall gives Charlotte some really nice wing depth, as we’ve fallen on many times before. However, Orlando is arguably even deeper and much more consistent. Arron Afflalo alone is an excellent wing player who plays good defense and can do a lot with the ball in his hands. J.J. Redick is finally getting his due as a quality defender and excellent spot-up shooter, while he’s also turned into a savvy offensive facilitator (4.5 dimes per game). Toss in a healthy Hedo Turkoglu’s versatility, and the Magic own the Bobcats out on the wings.
3. The Bigs – Edge: Magic
Byron Mullens is nearing a return, but he’s not back yet and we all know one of the worst parts of Charlotte’s rotation is the lack of production or consistency out of their bigs. They can be strong on defense at times (emphasis on ‘at times’), but really can come up short far too often. The same can be said for the Magic on the defensive end these days, but the Bobcats don’t touch their size and talent inside right now. Glen Davis is back and healthy again, and combined with the solid Nikola Vucevic, gives the Magic a solid one-two punch inside. Davis also provides solid range with his jumper, while Josh McRoberts is a good energy guy that can offer matchup problems at times. This one might be closer if Mullens were healthy, but even if that were the case I’d take the Magic bigs.
4. The Coach – Edge: Magic
You certainly can’t blame it all on Mike Dunlap, but losing streak after losing streak can’t be ignored, especially when one was approaching 20 and the Bobcats look like they have their sights on a 10-game skid again if they keep it up. I like what I’ve seen in spurts, but so far it’s not enough for me to firmly say Dunlap deserves a second season just yet. Jacque Vaughn hasn’t exactly been sensational in Orlando, but take away their 10-game skid just a little while ago, and he’s actually fielding a very competitive roster on a nightly basis. The Magic don’t have a single superstar player on their roster, yet they typically gives teams hell. I like Vaughn’s upside and he’s shown a lot in his rookie year after learning under Greg Popovich in San Antonio.
5. The Verdict: Magic Win
I can just see another long skid for the Bobcats. I think they can keep pace with anyone because of their solid and generally consistent guard play, but they really need Mullens back to give them some type of presence near the paint. He typically shoots jumpers, but he’s still being missed right now. There’s a chance the Magic play down to the competition in this one, but they’re at home and the Bobcats are atrocious on the road. Call it your classic toss-up, but I like the Magic by 10+ in this one.
My Pick: Magic 106, Bobcats 94