By Caroline Sikes and Ketrell Marshall
January 8, 2013
KEY MATCHUP vs. JAZZ
Bismack Biyombo vs. Al Jefferson
In his sophomore season, Bismack Biyombo has shown improvement and growth essential to this young Bobcats team. He has started the past 15 games, and is averaging 5.7 points, 8.7 rebounds and 1.2 blocks during that stretch. He has become a defensive specialist, protecting the paint for the Cats, and is the team’s leading rebounder with Byron Mullens sidelined due to an ankle injury. Biyombo faces Al Jefferson and the Jazz coming off his second double-double of the season when he had 10 points and a career-high 17 rebounds, including seven offensive boards, as the Cats beat the Pistons in overtime on Sunday… Biyombo will have his hands full dealing with the 11th-leading rebounder in the league in Al Jefferson. On the season, Jefferson leads the Jazz with 16.8 points, 9.8 rebounds and 1.3 blocks. Jefferson is also 11th in the NBA with 15 double-doubles this season.
SCOUTING THE BOBCATS (9-24)
The Cats enter their game against the Jazz having won two of their last three contests, including two road games against the Bulls and the Pistons. The Bobcats have been led by guard play recently with Kemba Walker (17.9 points), Ramon Sessions (14.5), Gerald Henderson (13.5) and Ben Gordon (13.5) providing the biggest lift on the offensive end… The Cats have shown how aggressive they can be at attacking the basket and are currently ranked third in the NBA in free throw attempts (26.3)… The Cats have been forced to deal with injuries and illnesses recently, which have provided other players with breakout opportunities. Tyrus Thomas finished with 13 points against the Pistons, including six in the overtime period, in his second game back from a calf injury. Hakim Warrick is another post player that has seen a significant increase in playing time, however he missed the game against the Pistons due to illness.
SCOUTING THE JAZZ (18-18)
Before heading to Charlotte, the Jazz beat the Mavericks 100-94 on January 7. Utah will have won three of its last four games coming into Wednesday’s game but is 7-14 on the road this season. However, the Jazz rank 11th in the NBA in points (98.2), 10th in assists (22.5) and ninth in 3-point shooting (36.0 percent). Five players average double-figure scoring for the Jazz: Al Jefferson (16.8 points), Paul Millsap (14.6), Gordon Hayward (13.3), Mo Williams (12.9) and Randy Foye (10.7). The Jazz are currently dealing with an injury to starting point guard Mo Williams, who is out after having surgery on his right thumb.
The Bobcats tip off against the Utah Jazz at 7 p.m. on January 9 in Time Warner Cable Arena®. Make sure you come support your Cats for Wednesday Night Basketball where you can get bottomless large popcorn and $4 beer among other awesome promotions. If you can’t make it out, catch the game on SportSouth or listen on WFNZ. As always, follow the live in-game chat by going to bobcats.com or downloading the Bobcats app on your smartphone.