By Wesley Robinson, bobcats.com
Charlotte, NC October 23, 2013
KEY MATCHUP vs. CAVALIERS: Kemba Walker vs. Kyrie Irving
The Bobcats will host the Cleveland Cavaliers for the second time this preseason at 7.p.m. on Oct. 24 at Time Warner Cable Arena. After suffering a loss on Oct. 19 against the Mavericks, 89-83, the Bobcats look to bounce back against Cleveland. This could be a big game for Kemba Walker, as he matches off against Kyrie Irving for the second time this preseason. The last time these two faced off, both players led their team in scoring as the Bobcats defeated the Cavaliers, 92-74, on Oct. 15 in Canton, Ohio. Walker had 14 points along with five assists and Irving finished with 15 points to go with four assists… Offensively, Walker has continued to be potent, leading the team in scoring with 11.7 points and has managed to keep his turnovers relatively low (2.0). Defensively, Walker has been strong too, averaging 1.3 steals in the preseason, including three takeaways in the last matchup against the Cavs. For a team that relies heavily on scoring behind the presence of Irving, Walker’s ability to force turnovers will come in handy for the Bobcats defense. Walker is known for his active hands and sense of timing on defense, and given Irving’s averages from last season, it will be imperative for Walker to contain Irving’s scoring… Irving has averaged 15.8 points per game on 41.1 percent shooting and 5.8 assists this preseason.
SCOUTING THE BOBCATS (3-3, preseason)
The Bobcats have held their opponents under 90 points in all six preseason contests so far and are giving up a league-low 82.7 points to their opponents. They are the only team in the league to have held their opponents under 90 points in every game, and also rank third in opponent field goal percentage, with opposing teams shooting only .395 from the field… Kemba Walker leads the team in steals (1.3), while Bismack Biyombo leads the team in blocks (2.3) this preseason. Biyombo is also averaging 13.0 rebounds over his last four games, including a 21-rebound outing on Oct. 12 at Milwaukee that is the highest total in the league so far this preseason. He leads the Bobcats in rebounding (9.7) during the preseason and ranks third in blocks and eighth in rebounding in the NBA, respectively.
SCOUTING THE CAVALIERS (4-2, preseason)
Through six preseason games, the Cavs have five players averaging double figures in scoring: Kyrie Irving (15.5), C.J. Miles (12.0), Dion Waiters (12.0), Tristan Thompson (12.0) and Anthony Bennett (10.3). Off the bench, Henry Sims has shoot .809 (17-21) from the field over the past five games. In the win over Philadelphia on Monday, Sims shot a perfect 6-for-6 from the field and finished with 14 points, five rebounds and one block in 20 minutes of play… Irving has recorded at least one block in five of the six preseason games and owns a team-best seven blocks. He has also scored in double figures in each preseason game so far, including his double-double performance (17 points, 12 assists) against Philadelphia on Monday. Coming into Thursday’s game, Irving is averaging 15.5 points while shooting .400 (8-20) from the 3-point line, 5.8 assists, 1.3 steals and 1.2 blocks in 25.3 minutes. He has also shot .926 (25-27) from the free-throw line… Tristan Thompson also recorded a double-double in Monday’s win after finishing with 15 points on 7-for-11 shooting from the field (.636), to go with a preseason-high 16 rebounds (five offensive), two steals and two blocks in 28 minutes. Over the past three preseason contests, Thompson is averaging 12.3 points on .536 shooting, 10.3 rebounds, 1.3 steals and 1.3 blocks in 24.7 minutes.
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