|2008/2009 NBA Regular Season|
|November 16th, 2008|
|Time Warner Cable Arena|
|Jameer Nelson||PG||Raymond Felton|
|Mickael Pietrus||SG||Matt Carroll|
|Hedo Turkoglu||SF||Gerald Wallace|
|Rashard Lewis||PF||Sean May|
|Dwight Howard||C||Emeka Okafor|
I'm never quite sure what to make of the Charlotte Bobcats. The decision they made to hire Larry Brown as their head coach only further complicated the issue, as Brown is an advocate of the "right way" style, yet his team is ill-suited to play that style. This team needs an identity and a direction. The assemblage of talent is eclectic, to say the least:
- Raymond Felton is the NBA's equivalent of Trent Dilfer: he's not good enough to win many games, but he's not bad enough to lose many, either. That would all change if he could shoot straight.
- Emeka Okafor will never be more than a fringe All-Star, but he's good enough to anchor a defense with his rebounding and shot-blocking.
- Jason Richardson, who might miss today's game after undergoing an exploratory knee procedure earlier this week, can score in bunches... but he doesn't do anything else particularly well. To succeed, he needs to be the second or third option on offense, not the first, as he is in Charlotte.
- Gerald Wallace, like Okafor, will never be more than a fringe All-Star. And like Okafor, he's a solid defender. His health is an issue, as is his contract, and the Bobcats have decided that they're going to deal him soon.
So yeah, the team is a mess, but I think trading Wallace might fix some of its problems. The fact that it's finally getting something from Adam Morrison, who was the worst started in the NBA two seasons ago, has to be encouraging.
The only givens in this game are that the Bobcats will slow it down and try to control the tempo; and that Dwight Howard will dominate Emeka Okafor. Stats LLC notes that Howard has recorded double-doubles in 15 straight games versus Charlotte, and that his 19.6 points-per-game average against them is his highest against any opponent.
The Magic's confidence should be fairly high after gutting it out against Dallas two nights ago, after which coach Stan Van Gundy said he was proud. Additionally, the Magic beat the Bobcats twice this preseason. But the Bobcats, coming off a victory against the injury-depleted Utah Jazz, are confident and know they have what it takes to win. They made an impressive comeback against the Magic last year, so they are not to be taken lightly.
Tip's at 5:30--what is it with Charlotte and weird game times?--on FSN, so good luck trying to find it on TV in Orlando. A Magic victory gets them off to a respectable 7-3 start. Woohoo.
Who will win tonight's game?
This poll is closed
The Orlando Magic
The Charlotte Bobcats