By Ketrell Marshall
January 14, 2013
KEY MATCHUP vs CELTICS
Ben Gordon vs. Avery Bradlery
Ben Gordon has scored in double figures in eight-straight games. In the past five games he has been an effective scorer, averaging 18.4 points, shooting 51.4 percent from the field and contributing defensively with 1.20 steals. Gordon looks to keep his double-figure scoring streak alive as he goes up against one of the Boston Celtics toughest on ball defenders, Avery Bradley… Bradley, who missed Boston’s first 30 games with a shoulder injury that occurred in the offseason, returned for the Celtics six games ago. Boston has only lost one game since his return and has elevated their team defense holding their opponents to a .405 field goal percentage. Avery Bradley averages 7.5 points and 1.17 steals for the Boston Celtics… It will be exciting to see if Gordon can maintain his high level of offensive efficiency against the defense of Bradley.
KEY MATCHUP vs PACERS
Hakim Warrick vs. David West
Hakim Warrick has produced solid numbers in his last nine games, averaging 9.7 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.1 assists. In his last outing against the Pacers on January 12 he scored 13 points, pulled down seven rebounds, dished out two assists while contributing defensively with a block and a steal. The Cats will rely on Warrick’s length and athleticism to slow down Indiana Pacers second leading scorer, David West… West is averaging 16.3 points and 8.0 rebounds this season. Last time David West played against the Bobcats he recorded a triple-double finishing with 14 points, 12 rebounds, 10 assists and one steal… The key in this game could be if Warrick can reduce some of the productivity of West.
SCOUTING THE BOBCATS (9-27)
The Bobcats are looking to snap a three-game losing streak and end their road trip as they head back to the Time Warner Cable Arena® on January 15. Offensively, the Cats have been scoring at an efficient rate scoring over 100 points in three out of their last five outings… Ben Gordon and Kemba Walker have led the offense and scored in double figures in every game this month. The guards are responsible for the majority of the scoring for the Cats, with four players averaging double figures –Walker (17.6), Ramon Sessions (14.1), Gordon (13.9) and Gerald Henderson (12.9)…Defensively the Cats continue to use their length to their advantage protecting the rim as they rank seventh in the league in blocks (6.4). Walker is also a key contributor on the defensive side of the ball. He leads the Bobcats and ranks eighth in the NBA in steals (1.86).
SCOUTING THE CELTICS (19-17)
The Boston Celtics are on a five-game winning streak as they get ready to compete against the Cats. The Celtics have held their opponents to an average of 84.4 points and beat three of the top five teams in the East (New York Knicks, Indiana Pacers and Atlanta Hawks) during their run. Boston ranks seventh in the NBA in points allowed (96.1) and sixth in steals (8.7) led by all-star point guard Rajon Rondo (1.87)… On the offensive end the Celtics are ranked fourth in assists (23.2), sixth in field goal percentage (.463) and seventh in free-throw percentage (.788)… Much of Boston’s success comes from its big three, where Rondo (13.0 points, 5.0 rebounds, 11.1 assists), Paul Pierce (19.6 points, 5.5 rebounds, 3.8 assists) and Kevin Garnett (14.8 points, 7.0 rebounds, 2.2 assists) combine for 47.4 points, 17.5 rebounds and 17.1 assists.
SCOUTING THE PACERS (23-15)
The Indiana Pacers are third in the Eastern Conference and have won seven of their last 10 games. Dominating the paint has been essential to the success of the Pacers, earning them a No. 2 ranking in rebounding (46.3), fourth in blocks (6.7) and a top ranking in opponent points in the paint (34.8)… Indiana’s record is much better at home (15-3) compared to their 8-12 record on the road… The Bobcats will be looking to beat the Pacers for the second time this season at Time Warner Cable Arena.
Keep up with the Cats as they battle the Boston Celtics on Monday, January 14 at 7:30 p.m. Also, catch the first of two home games this week as the Bobcats take on the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday, January 15 at 7:00 p.m. You can watch both games on SportSouth or listen on WFNZ. Then download the Bobcats app on your smartphone or go to bobcats.com to follow the live in-game chat.