Charlotte Bobcats Preview: Keys to Beating Suns
By Caroline Sikes
November 5, 2012
KEY MATCHUP vs SUNS
Byron Mullens vs. Luis Scola
After leading the Cats in scoring during the preseason, Byron Mullens’ overall game is coming along well at the start of the 2012-13 regular season… Mullens filled the stat sheet in the Bobcats home opener on November 2 with seven rebounds, six points, two assists, two steals and two blocks. He followed his performance against the Pacers with his first double-double of the season (16 points, 10 boards) on November 3 in Dallas… Mullens is progressing on both ends of the court, extending his range from beyond the arc and going to the glass defensively… The Suns claimed Luis Scola this summer after Phoenix placed the highest bid for the 6-9 power forward, who was waived by the Rockets via the amnesty provision. Scola leads Phoenix in scoring through its first three games with 17.3 points while adding 9.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.67 steals and 1.33 blocks… Mullens against Scola will be an interesting matchup, since both big men can step outside to hit an open shot or compete in the paint, but the 7-0 Mullens has some size on Scola and has been active on the boards early on, which should play in his favor.
SCOUTING THE BOBCATS (1-1)
After winning their season opener against the Pacers in dramatic fashion on Friday, the Cats fell to the Mavericks 126-99 on Saturday in Dallas. Ramon Sessions has come off the bench and been a key factor to the team’s offense through two games. Sessions is second on the team in scoring with 16.5 points, shooting a team-best 52.4 percent from the field and hands out a team-high 4.5 assists. He led the team against the Mavs, dropping 22 points in 28 minutes as the team tried to mount a comeback. Recognizing Sessions’ poise and leadership abilities, Head Coach Mike Dunlap opted to leave Sessions on the court late in the game against the Pacers… The key to the Bobcats pulling out victories might lie in their first-quarter shooting. Against the Mavs, Charlotte was 8 of 27 (29.6 percent) from the field in the first and was outscored, 31-19. The Cats fought their way back in Dallas, eventually taking a 53-52 lead late in the second quarter before losing steam in the third. If the Bobcats come out shooting better against Phoenix, they’ll put themselves in good position to set the tone for the contest… Coach Dunlap has made it known defense will be a cornerstone for the team and the Cats continue to improve in this area. Against the Pacers Charlotte held Indiana to 39.8 percent shooting and forced 19 turnovers. In Dallas, the Cats put together good stretches on the defensive end and forced 22 turnovers. Buckling down on defense all four quarters will be what makes the difference for Charlotte… On the offensive end, the Bobcats have been distributing the ball evenly and getting contributions from several guys. Kemba Walker leads the way in scoring with 20.0 points, including a career-high 30 points against the Pacers. Sessions (16.5), Gerald Henderson (12.5), and Byron Mullens (11.0) are also scoring in double figures.
SCOUTING THE SUNS (1-2 as of 11/5/12)
Phoenix looked to change the face of its organization during the offseason, sending long-time Sun and perennial All-Star Steve Nash to the Lakers in a sign-and-trade deal. To fill the point guard position, Goran Dragic returned to Phoenix and is averaging 14.7 points through three games while ranking ninth in the league with 8.7 assists… Michael Beasley is another Suns player sporting a new uniform and having a strong showing early in the season. He’s averaging 15.3 points while grabbing 5.7 rebounds… Keep an eye on Shannon Brown coming off the bench for Phoenix. He’s averaging 9.3 points, 2,0 rebounds and 2.0 assists as the team’s top reserve.
Make sure you come support your Cats on November 5, when they take on the Suns at 7 p.m. at Time Warner Cable Arena® for Wednesday Night Basketball. Tickets start at 10 dollars. If you can’t come out, catch the game on SportSouth or listen on WFNZ. As always, follow the game from the live in-game chat on bobcats.com or download the Bobcats app on your smartphone.