The Portland Trail Blazers (25-7) will host the Charlotte Bobcats (14-19) tonight at the Moda Center. The Trail Blazers are coming back home after a quick two game road trip in which they went 1-1. On Tuesday in Oklahoma City, the Blazers rallied back from an 11 point deficit in the fourth quarter to beat the Thunder 98-94. The win came in yet another close game for the “Cardiac Blazers”.
Enter the Charlotte Bobcats. The poor, lowly Bobcats. Charlotte comes into Portland (like a lot of other teams this year) on the second game of a back-to-back. Last night in Los Angeles, the Clippers thumped the Bobcats 112-85. They have lost four in a row, a season high, and are in the midst of a five game road trip.
The Blazers have a good chance to string a few wins together starting tonight. Portland’s next six games are against sub-.500 teams. Another plus for Portland during that six game stretch is that only one of the games is on the road (at Sacramento 2/7). If the Blazers want to flex their muscles and pile on the W’s, now is the perfect time.
Portland Trail Blazers
- No injuries. CJ McCollum, who has been sidelined all season, was assigned to the D-League yesterday.
- Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (hand) will sit out but did have his cast removed last Friday.
- Jeff Taylor (Achilles) is out for the season with a ruptured Achilles tendon.
- Brendan Haywood (foot) is still out due to surgery performed in October to stabilize a stress fracture.
Keys To The Game:
Blazers Offense vs Bobcats Defense. Although this is a generic match up to watch, I believe it will tell us a lot about the Blazers. Even though the Bobcats are a sub-.500 team, their defense is one of the best in the NBA this season. Through 33 games, the Bobcats are holding teams to 42.9% shooting (fourth best) and only allowing 94.4 points per game (third best). On the flip side, the Blazers are one of the best offenses in the league. They currently sit at 45.5% shooting, which is good for twelfth best in the league (second ranked from 3-point territory at 39.6%) and are the highest scoring team with 108.3 points per game.
Don’t Fall For The Trap. Games like this are a dime-a-dozen during an NBA season. An ailing, defeated team comes in to play one of the hottest teams. Tell me if you’ve seen this movie before. The hot team doesn’t take their ailing opponent seriously and end up losing the game. With a favorable stretch of games in front of them, the Blazers cannot afford to let up on the gas pedal. I hope to see solid, focused play continue from the starting five and allow court time for deep bench players so they can learn and grow.