Charlotte Bobcats Preview: Keys to Beating Wizards, T’Wolves
By Caroline Sikes
November 12, 2012
KEY MATCHUP vs WIZARDS
Jeff Taylor vs. Bradley Beal
Rookie Jeff Taylor has started the past three games for the Bobcats in place of Gerald Henderson (left foot sprain). In the Bobcats overtime win against the Mavericks on Saturday, Taylor doubled his usual playing time with 32 minutes while scoring eight points to go with six boards, two steals and two blocks. Look to Taylor to become more aggressive on the offensive end as he becomes more comfortable in his starting role, while also being called upon to defend one of the opposition’s top scorers… Next up for Taylor will be Bradley Beal, who was picked by Washington third overall during the 2012 NBA Draft. The rookie is leading the Wizards in scoring with 13.0 points to go with 3.6 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.00 steal. Beal faces the Bobcats after scoring 17 points on 3-for-3 shooting from 3-point range against the Pacers on Saturday. It will be interesting to see how Taylor’s assertiveness on defense will affect Beal.
KEY MATCHUP at TIMBERWOLVES
Brendan Haywood vs. Nikola Pekovic
Brendan Haywood is averaging a team-high 8.5 rebounds in 28.3 minutes to go along with his 8.3 points. The 7-0 Haywood has remained consistent, shooting 55.6 percent from the field as he gets accustomed to his leadership role in Charlotte. Haywood proved why his experience is so essential to the Bobcats when he sank a couple of key baskets against the Mavs on Saturday to hold on to the overtime win… Haywood will have to take on Nikola Pekovic, who is averaging team-best 14.5 points for the Timberwolves. In 30.7 minutes, the center also grabs 6.0 rebounds and gets 1.17 blocks… Haywood will need a good defensive effort to shut down the leading scorer for the Timberwolves.
SCOUTING THE BOBCATS (2-3)
Through five games, the Bobcats are ranked seventh in the league in scoring with 99.8 points while shooting 42.6 percent… The Cats have been distributing the ball well and have six players averaging double-figure scoring: Kemba Walker (18.8 points), Ramon Sessions (15.0), Ben Gordon (14.6), Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (12.2), Byron Mullens (11.6) and Gerald Henderson (12.5), who is still out with a foot injury… They are currently averaging 19.0 assists, good enough for third in the league… The Cats continue to improve in their focus areas, most notably defense and taking care of the ball. Charlotte averages 13.2 turnovers and 9.2 steals while forcing opponents to commit 16.2 turnovers and only allows 6.6 steals. After grabbing an impressive eight steals against the Mavericks, Kemba Walker is now ranked fourth in the NBA with 2.8 steals per game… After facing the Wizards at home on Tuesday, the Cats will look to get their first road win against the Timberwolves on Wednesday.
SCOUTING THE WIZARDS (0-5)
The Wizards come to Charlotte on Tuesday after losing their first five games of the 2012-13 season. All of their losses have been by 10 points or less… Back in September it was announced John Wall would have to miss eight weeks due to a stress injury in his left knee and the Wizards have been scrambling to find a suitable replacement. A.J. Price has stepped up, averaging 10.8 points, 8.0 assists and 4.0 rebounds… Washington averages 24.0 assists, fifth best in the league… Both the Wizards and Bobcats have been working hard to improve on the boards, so it will be interesting to see who wins the rebound battle.
SCOUTING THE TIMBERWOLVES (4-2)
With Kevin Love still recovering from a broken hand suffered during the preseason, the Timberwolves have had to look elsewhere for substantial contributions. Currently, the team is shooting 44.0 percent from the field while holding opponents to 41.5 percent. They also distribute the ball well with four players (Andrei Kirilenko, Jose Barea, Alexey Shved and Brandon Roy) averaging four assists. The Timberwolves dropped a close one to the Bulls 87-80 on Saturday and face the Mavs Monday night before taking on the Bobcats on Wednesday.
Make sure you come support the Cats when they take on the Wizards at 7 p.m. on Tuesday at Time Warner Cable Arena®. Tickets start at 10 dollars. If you can’t make it, watch the game on SportSouth or listen on WFNZ. You can also catch the 8 p.m. tip on Wednesday in Minnesota on those channels. Follow the game with live in-game chat at bobcats.com or download the app on your smartphone.