The Bobcats didn’t put up much of a fight on Friday night against the Utah Jazz. Not only did backup center Enes Kanter absolutely destroy them for an impressive 20-20 line, but they also lost by 30 and scored just 68 points. Good thing they have an equally dysfunctional squad on the docket on Sunday when they take on the Sacramento Kings.
The bad news, however, is that Charlotte is once again waist-deep in a losing streak (currently a quality five game skid), and they’re playing on the road, where they’ve won just six games all season. Yikes, right?
Yes, but the Kings can be a baffling bunch, as well, so you have to like Charlotte’s chances to pull one out. Let’s take a closer look at the matchup and see who might come out on top on Sunday:
1. The Point – Edge: Bobcats
Isaiah Thomas is solid and I actually like Jimmer Fredette off the bench, but Keither Smart messes with these guys’ heads too much and neither is all that great at defense. Kemba Walker is a legit Most Improve Player of the Year candidate and is the better natural PG of the three. He also has been more consistent and is probably a better defender, as well.
2. The Wings – Edge: Kings
Charlotte has some solid wing depth with Gerald Henderson and Ramon Sessions, but they don’t touch the talent and potential the Kings roll out on a nightly basis. Marcus Thornton is killing it right now with 20+ in three straight games, while Tyreke Evans, John Salmons and even the aforementioned Fredette all can pack a scoring bunch and stretch the defense. Sacramento has a ton of problems, but talent on the outside is not one of them.
3. The Bigs – Edge: Kings
Byron Mullens can shoot jumpers, but his efficiency is awful and he’s pretty much all the Bobcats have. The Kings have a beast in DeMarcus Cousins and two solid thumpers in Jason Thompson and Patrick Patterson. They really shouldn’t have traded away Thomas Robinson, though.
4. The Coach – Edge: Bobcats
Keith Smart is an idiot. Thornton has been a boss at scoring since he entered the league, yet he’s gotten inconsistent minutes from day one. Beyond that, Smart has done the most lineup shuffling in the entire league, and he’s looked like a damn idiot while doing it. If he was actually “smart”, he’d start Fredette and see what he can do, considering the Kings stink and the season isn’t going anywhere. But even aside from that, his in-game coaching is questionable and his lineup shifting borders on ridiculous. Dunlap isn’t a world-beater, either, but at least he’s remaining fairly consistent. He’s also operating with far less overall talent, and still has just seven less wins than Smart. Give Dunlap the Kings, and I’ll bet he gets 5-10 more wins just by not being an erratic fool.
5. The Verdict: Bobcats Win
It’s not that I have an overwhelming amount of faith in the Bobcats winning or the Kings losing. It’s just that this is an opportunity, and after five straight losses, sometimes things can just sort of go your way. The Bobcats will have to be on top of their game, but since the Kings play little defense and are extremely inconsistent, Charlotte has a real shot to get off the schneid here.
My pick: Bobcats 93, Kings 91