By Caroline Sikes
April 1, 2013
KEY MATCHUP vs. BUCKS
Gerald Henderson vs. Monta Ellis
Gerald Henderson played exceptionally well for the Bobcats during March and looks to close the season on the same note. This past month, Henderson averaged 20.1 points, 4.1 rebounds and 3.3 assists while scoring in double figures for 15-straight games. He did this efficiently, shooting 47.2 percent from the field, 38.1 percent from 3-point territory and 83.9 percent from the charity stripe. Hendo’s late push down the stretch has paid dividends for his season totals, where he’s averaging a career-high in points (15.2), assists (2.4) and steals (1.00). He will need to continue to step up for the Bobcats as they travel to Milwaukee to take on Monta Ellis and the Bucks… Ellis has been the Bucks leading scorer all season, averaging 19.4 points while contributing 5.9 assists, 3.9 rebounds and 2.00 steals. Ellis prepares to host the Cats after having an off-shooting night in his last game against the Thunder. He scored just nine points on 3-for-17 shooting but found other ways to contribute with seven assists and two steals… If Henderson can find a way to hold Ellis to single-digit scoring, it will give the Bobcats a good chance of winning, as the Bucks have lost all six games where Ellis has scored less than 10 points.
KEY MATCHUP vs. 76ERS
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist vs. Evan Turner
As Michael Kidd-Gilchrist wraps up his rookie season, his consistency continues to improve. He’s finished in double figure scoring in five of the last seven games, including an impressive 21-point performance on 8-for-11 shooting in the last contest against the Sixers. On the season, MKG has proven he can contribute to the team in more ways than one, averaging 9.1 points, 5.6 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.0 block and 0.7 steal. The high-energy Kidd-Gilchrist will need to pull out a strong defensive performance when facing Evan Turner and the 76ers… In the three games Turner has played this season against the Bobcats he has been unstoppable, averaging 21.0 points on 54.3 percent shooting from the floor, while grabbing 9.0 boards and handing out 2.3 assists. His point and rebound averages against Charlotte are significantly higher than the numbers he has posted over the season, where he contributes 13.5 points and 6.4 rebounds… It will be critical for MKG to slow Turner to give the Cats the offensive edge.
Charlotte Bobcats Tickets
SCOUTING THE BOBCATS (17-56)
With the end of the season in sight, the Bobcats are still playing with as much intensity as they had in November. Despite dropping their last two in close games on the road, the Cats will take on the Bucks before traveling home to host the 76ers, where they have won three of the last four in Time Warner Cable Arena®… The Bobcats have been dealing with an abundance of injuries within the last few weeks with Brendan Haywood sidelined for the season, Ramon Sessions still recovering from an MCL sprain and Byron Mullens nursing a sore left ankle. Newcomers, Jannero Pargo and Josh McRoberts, have been big in filling these roles and bringing experience. Since joining Charlotte’s roster in February, McRoberts has been posting 7.9 points, 6.1 rebounds and 2.0 assists in 26.5 minutes. Pargo has stepped in to back up Kemba Walker and is currently on his second 10-day contract for the Cats. In the nine games since being added to the rotation, Pargo averages 9.6 points, while dishing out 2.6 assists, pulling down 1.1 rebounds and swiping 1.0 steal in 17.2 minutes… With all of the roster and lineup changes the Bobcats have seen this season, Walker has been the only player to both play in and start all 73 games. Walker has led the team all season, averaging 17.5 points, 5.7 assists and 2.0 steals.
SCOUTING THE BUCKS (35-37)
The Bucks are looking to secure their place in the playoffs as the regular season wraps up, but they have lost eight of their last 11 games as the Bobcats travel to Milwaukee… The Bucks are a good rebounding team, ranking fifth in the league with 43.9 boards, so it will be interesting to see if the Cats can focus on getting to the glass and competing… The Bucks rank 21st in the NBA in points allowed (100.4), so the Bobcats will need to get out on the break and push the pace to edge the home team… Milwaukee’s motivation has been in question after Coach Jim Boylan benched Brandon Jennings in the second half of their game on March 27 against the 76ers. On the season, Jennings averages 17.6 points, 6.8 assists, 3.1 rebounds and 1.6 steals. He responded to the coach’s decision by going off for 20 points the next night against the Lakers… Ersan Ilyasova has been solid for the Bucks this season as the team’s third-leading scorer with 13.0 points, 7.1 rebounds and 1.6 assists… Since being traded to the Bucks from the Magic before trade deadline, J.J. Redick has been contributing 11.9 points, 2.6 assists and 1.8 rebounds.
SCOUTING THE 76ERS (30-43)
After having a close battle with the Bobcats on March 30, the Sixers have three days off before traveling to Charlotte on April 3. They have won their last three games, including the 100-92 victory over the Cats… Big man Spencer Hawes has been impeccable for the Sixers in recent games, tallying six double-doubles in their last nine games. On the season, Hawes averages 11.0 points, 7.2 rebounds and 1.4 blocks… Hawes’ job is made easier when Jrue Holiday is the one feeding him the ball in the post. Holiday, a first-time All Star, has posted exceptional numbers this season, leading the team with 18.4 points, 8.5 assists, 4.3 rebounds and 1.6 steals. His Achilles heel is taking care of the ball, as he averages 4.9 turnovers putting him at 120th in the league… Thaddeus Young is the team’s second-leading scorer with 15.1 points, adding 7.6 boards, 1.72 steals and 1.7 assists. With Evan Turner adding 13.5 points, Nick Young (10.8 points) and Jason Richardson (10.5) round out the Sixers double figure scorers.
The Bobcats tip off against the Bucks at 8 p.m. on April 1 in Milwaukee before returning home to take on the Sixers at 7 p.m. on April 3 in Time Warner Cable Arena®. Make sure you come out on April 3 for Wednesday Night Basketball where you can get $4 12 oz. beers, bottomless popcorn and Team Store Item of the Game, as well as awesome deals at the Epicentre. If you can’t make it out, watch both games on SportSouth or listen on WFNZ. Follow the live in-game chat by going to bobcats.com or download the Bobcats app on your smartphone.