By Caroline Sikes
February 25, 2013
KEY MATCHUP vs. CLIPPERS
Kemba Walker vs. Chris Paul
Since the All-Star break, Kemba Walker is arguably playing some of his best basketball to date. Through the last four games, Walker averages an astounding 24.8 points, reaching the 20-point plateau in each of those contests, while shooting 53.0 percent (35-for-66). During that stretch, Walker also has 4.0 assists, 3.8 rebounds and 1.5 steals. On the season, he is ranked 21st in the NBA in scoring (17.7 points) and eighth in steals (1.8). Walker will need to continue playing at a high caliber when taking on Chris Paul and the Clippers… In his eighth season in the NBA and second with the Clippers, Paul has proven to be one of the premier point guards in the league. This season, the Winston Salem native averages 16.2 points, 9.4 assists (third in NBA), 3.5 rebounds and 2.5 steals (first in NBA). Paul is the most important player on the Clippers roster with his ability to dictate the offense and influence the game. Walker will need to have a big game to keep Paul from running his offense effectively.
SCOUTING THE BOBCATS (13-43)
The first time these two teams met, the Clippers pulled out a close one at Time Warner Cable Arena®, despite double-figure scoring from six Bobcats… More recently, the Cats have been getting a lot of production from their young guys since returning from the break. Rookie Michael Kidd-Gilchrist has scored in double figures in the last three contests and has seemed to be reenergized on the offensive end. The other rookie, Jeffery Taylor, posted a career-high 18 points against the Nuggets on Saturday and Head Coach Mike Dunlap still looks to Taylor as a defensive specialist. Bismack Biyombo has also been playing well on both ends of the court. Since Byron Mullens has returned from injury, it seems to have taken some of the pressure off of Biyombo in the frontcourt and Biz has allowed his game to flow naturally. In the last two games, Biyombo averaged 8.0 points, 10.5 rebounds and 2.5 blocks… Defense will be key for the Cats moving forward. In their 13 wins this season, the Bobcats have allowed opponents to score just 93.5 points, compared to the 105.6 points they allow in losses.
SCOUTING THE CLIPPERS (40-18)
The Bobcats look to sneak a win in Los Angeles on February 26, regardless of the Clippers 21-6 home record this season. To beat the Clippers, the Cats will need to match their high-powered offense. This team currently ranks ninth in the league in points (100.4) and fourth in points allowed (94.1). The Clippers also come in at fifth in assists with 23.3, which is no surprise with the amount of lobs and dunks they convert on… With Chris Paul running the offense, his main target has been Blake Griffin, who leads the team in scoring and rebounds with 18.5 points and 8.6 boards. Jamal Crawford has been having a good season for Los Angeles and is the second-leading scorer, contributing 16.7 points, 2.6 assists and 1.7 rebounds coming off the bench every game.
Catch the first game of a four-game West Coast swing when the Bobcats tip off against the Clippers on February 26 at 10:30 p.m. in Los Angeles. Watch the game on SportSouth or listen on WFNZ. Chat with other Bobcats fans by going to bobcats.com or download the Bobcats app to follow the live in-game chat.