By Jace Darling, bobcats.com
Charlotte, NC October 18, 2013
KEY MATCHUP vs. MAVERICKS: Josh McRoberts/Cody Zellar vs Dirk Nowitzki
As the 2013-14 preseason has progressed, Head Coach Steve Clifford has been using Josh McRoberts and Cody Zellar equally at the four. While McRoberts has started the last three games, Zellar has averaged more minutes. That trend held true until Zellar found himself in foul trouble on Oct. 17 against the Sixers and was only on the floor for 14 minutes. With the Mavericks coming to North Carolina to face off against the Bobcats at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Greensboro Coliseum, both players will need to have strong outings against 15-year veteran, Dirk Nowitzki. So far this preseason, the power forward tandem of the Bobcats has averaged 14.6 points (McRoberts 7.6, Zellar 7.0), while Nowitzki has averaged 15.3 points… Given the new offensive philosophy of the Bobcats, both McRoberts and Zellar spend a lot of time on the perimeter, and the same can be said for Nowitzki. At 7-0, Nowitzki has always been one of the best outside shooting big men in the NBA and he currently ranks 17th on the all-time scoring list… If McRoberts and Zeller can slow down Nowitzki both inside and outside, it could be the key to the Cats getting a victory.
SCOUTING THE BOBCATS (3-2, preseason)
After a dominating performance against Philadelphia, on Oct. 17 at ninth annual Cool School Field Trip presented by Jordan Brand at Time Warner Cable Arena, the Bobcats head into game six of the 2013-14 preseason on a three-game winning streak… Ben Gordon led all scorers against the Sixers, coming off the bench, with 22 points in 27 minutes while going 4-for-4 from behind the arc. The rest of the Cats backcourt chipped in with 32 points (Kemba Walker, 13; Gerald Henderson, nine; Ramon Sessions, seven; Janero Pargo, three)… The game was a perfect example of how Head Coach Steve Clifford wants his team to play – behind strong transition defense and up-tempo offense that works inside out with a four-out, one-in offense… The Bobcats will again be without Al Jefferson who is still recovering from his right ankle sprain. This allows Clifford to continue to evaluate his team and experiment with different player rotations in preparation for the regular season.
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SCOUTING THE MAVERICKS (2-2, preseason)
The Mavericks attempted to get younger last season and began to try and put pieces together to build for the future. But as it stands in the 2013-14 preseason, the Mavs are again leaning heavily on a trio of veterans with a combined 44 years of experience. (Vince Carter, 15 years; Shawn Marion, 14 years; Dirk Nowitzki, 15 years) As his career has progressed and he’s moved around the league, Carter has become a solid sixth man for the Mavericks. After being given Wednesday night off against the Pacers, Carter should be back in the lineup on Saturday… Along with the veteran presence, the Mavericks added three rookies to their roster via trades and the draft. Not unlike each of the Bobcats opponents this preseason, the Mavericks are working on continuity and getting to know one another. The core is still there, but the addition of many new pieces has Head Coach Rick Carlisle (sixth season with the Mavs) looking to find the right mix.
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