Game On: Charlotte Bobcats at New Orleans Pelicans

Published: November 2, 2013

Over 86% of teams that start 0-2 fail to make the playoffs. Man, that is a sobering fact that should leave Pelicans dismayed and even give them permission to start to panic.

Wait, hold on a minute, what’s that? Oh, that is an NFL stat? 86% of NFL teams that start 0-2 fail to make the playoffs? Well, that makes sense because there are only 16 regular season games in that sport, while this sport has 82. Two NBA games is the equivalent of about a quarter of one NFL game. Huh, so then why are Pelicans fans freaking out about such a relatively small sample size?

Quick answer – I just don’t know.

Yes, last night’s Orlando game was frustrating, but it was still just one game after all. The team is 0-2, but the way they played on opening night was applause worthy, and quite honestly, would have been enough to beat Orlando. There was more good than bad in the Indiana game, and while there was plenty to shake your head about in the Orlando game, some of it was likely an aberration. Can we really expect Jason Smith, one of the games best mid-range shooters, to miss six wide open 17-footers again? How many games do you expect Tyreke Evans to go 0-7 or Eric Gordon to miss half of his free throws?

Yes, things are far from perfect right now, but the overreaction needs to stop. Monty Williams is not going anywhere, nor should he until he gets some real time to work with this newly constructed, young roster. He just signed a three-year extension, and oh yeah, WE ARE ONLY TWO GAMES INTO THE SEASON!

Okay, got that off my chest. Moving on, the Pelicans have a game with a suddenly frisky Bobcats team tonight. Charlotte is fresh off a 90-84 victory of the Cleveland Cavaliers after putting up an impressive fight against the Rockets in their opener. They seem to be much better defensively than in years past, as opponents are shooting just 41% against them on the season and are just 7-30 from three-point range. Both teams are playing their second game in two nights, and for the Pelicans to get their first win of the season, a couple of things must happen:

Keys to the Game

1.) Protect the Ball

Kemba Walker is averaging 3.5 steals per game on the young season, and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is lightning quick when he jumps passing lanes. And surprisingly, Josh McRoberts has been very active as well, deflecting numerous passes to the interior. The Bobcats have been competitive this season because they keep their mistakes to a minimum while they simultaneously cause the opponent to take chances. The Pelicans need to avoid falling into the Bobcats trap to get this win tonight.

2. Win the Battle of the Boards

The Bobcats are -11 per game on the glass. They rank 26th in defensive rebound percentage and 27th in offensive rebound percentage. Bismack Biyombo and Michael Kidd- Gilchrist are far and away their best rebounders, but it is tough to keep them both on the court together because of how big of liabilities they are offensively. Instead, Cody Zeller, Al Jefferson, and Josh McRoberts are often down low for Charlotte and they have combined for a defensive rebound rate of right around 15% this season (that is Lopez-ish). The Pelicans bigs have to control the glass on both ends to ensure that they end this game with more possessions than Charlotte.

3. Push the Pace

The Bobcats want to play at a slow pace, limiting possessions so that you can’t expose their lack of talent offensively, as they rank 30th in offensive rating currently. Despite playing one of their two games with the uptempo Rockets, the Bobcats are 23rd in pace. In two games this year, the Bobcats have shot just 40.5% from the field, and when you combine that with the fact that they get so few offensive rebounds, they should be plenty of opportunities for the Pelicans to fly in this game.


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