By Ketrell Marshall
April 4, 2013
KEY MATCHUP vs. HEAT
Jannero Pargo vs Norris Cole
Jannero Pargo has been an excellent addition to the Bobcats since Ramon Sessions went down with an MCL sprain in his left knee. Pargo started on two 10-day contracts, and on April 3 the Bobcats signed him for the remainder of the season…Pargo is averaging 9.4 points and 2.6 assists over his last 10 games and has been an integral part of the Bobcats bench production. He has provided a spark offensively and contributes defensively, almost averaging a steal (.90) in his past 10 games. Pargo should look to use his experience to his advantage as he gets ready to face off against the Miami Heat’s Norris Cole…Cole’s production has increased in his last three outings. During this stretch, he is averaging 13.0 points, 2.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.33 steals in 37.3 minutes, compared to 4.7 points, 1.4 rebounds and 1.9 assists in 18.4 minutes in his previous 69 games. Cole is also averaging 3.3 turnovers the past three games, so look for Pargo and the Bobcats to capitalize on his mistakes. If Pargo can use his veteran leadership to outplay Cole, it could be beneficial for the Cats in earning a victory against the reigning NBA champions.
KEY MATCHUP vs. NETS
Gerald Henderson vs. Joe Johnson
Co-captain Gerald Henderson has stepped up and is averaging 22.9 points on .511 shooting (110-for-215) and .860 free-throw shooting (93-108), to go with 4.3 rebounds and 3.4 assists over his last 14 games. Henderson is showcasing his development and is averaging career highs in points (15.4), assists (2.4), steals (.98), free-throw percentage (.823) and free-throw attempts (4.6). Henderson is proving to be a reliable scoring option and recently scored in double figures in 17 consecutive games. Henderson’s athleticism and explosiveness has helped him elevate his game during this 17-game stretch. Henderson should look to use his strengths, as he gets ready to go against six-time NBA All Star Joe Johnson, who will be coming off a heel injury that caused him to miss five games. Before his injury, Johnson was averaging 15.0 points, 2.4 rebounds and 3.6 assists in his previous 10 games. Johnson has always been known for his scoring ability and has displayed some of his clutch playmaking ability this season… Henderson winning this matchup could translate to a Bobcats win as well.
SCOUTING THE BOBCATS (18-54)
The Bobcats have shown improvement and won 11 more games than they won last season, earning them the largest season-over-season win increase in franchise history. It is the third largest increase in the NBA this season…Home court has been an advantage for the Cats. Charlotte has won five of its last six games in the Time Warner Cable® Arena by an average margin of 9.6 points… Charlotte has found its groove offensively and is averaging 99.1 points in its last nine games. Kemba Walker, Michal Kidd-Gilchrist and Gerald Henderson’s play has been an integral part of the Cats improvement of the offensive end…Henderson and Walker are averaging a combined 42.2 points in games played since March 8. Before missing the game against Milwaukee, MKG scored in double figures in four of his last five outings and was close to averaging a double-double (13.0 points and 7.2 rebounds) during that stretch…The Bobcats look to continue their increased offensive production and their solid play at home for the remainder of the season.
SCOUTING THE HEAT (58-16)
Miami heads into its contest against Charlotte losing its last game to the New York Knicks…. The Heat have won two out of their last three contest since their winning streak was snapped on March 27…Miami thrives on playing tough defense, holding its opponents to an average of 95.4 points (7th in the NBA) and swiping 8.9 steals (3rd in the NBA)…The Heat are also strong offensively, scoring an average of 103.1 points (5th in the NBA), while connecting on 49.7 percent of their shot attempts (1st in the NBA) and converting on 39.4 percent of their shots from long range (2nd in the NBA)…Miami is currently ranked No. 1 in the Eastern Conference and are on the verge of earning themselves a top seed heading in the NBA Playoffs.
SCOUTING THE NETS (42-31 as of 4/3)
Brooklyn has lost two out of its last three games…The Nets are ranked 10th in the NBA in rebounds (42.8), led by Reggie Evans (10.7). The other big man for Brooklyn is Brook Lopez. He earned his first appearance in the All-Star Game this season and is the only player in the NBA averaging at least 19 points, seven rebounds and two blocks…On average, the Nets score 96.4 points per contest. However, when they score 100 or more points, their record is 20-4…If the Bobcats can use their length and athleticism to protect the rim against Brooklyn it could lead to a win for the Cats.
Be sure to follow the Bobcats and their upcoming games as they take on the Miami Heat at the Time Warner Cable Arena. Friday’s home game against the Heat will now be at 8:00 p.m., and general public doors will open at 6:15 p.m. The time has been changed in order to nationally televise this game on ESPN. This game can also be found on FOX SportSouth for our local viewing audience. The Cats then travel to Brooklyn to play the Nets at 7:30 p.m. on March 6. You can watch the Cats on SportSouth or listen on WFNZ. Also, join the conversation by following the live in-game chat at bobcats.com or downloading the Bobcats app on your smartphone.
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