When you think about powerhouses in the NBA, you’re not thinking about the Charlotte Bobcats or the Toronto Raptors - nor should you. The Bobcats are 9-25 and the Raptors are 13-22, both teams being already pretty far out of the Eastern Conference playoff picture.
Just because these teams have losing records though, doesn’t necessarily mean that this couldn’t be a good game. What makes this game have the potential to be ugly is the inefficiency and offensive struggles of both squads.
Both teams are in the middle of the pack in the league in points per game, Charlotte at 17th with 96.2 points per game and Toronto at 15th at 96.5 points per game. These teams don’t normally compete in high-scoring affairs.
One of the reasons is that both of these teams struggle in regards to their shooting percentages.
The Bobcats shoot an abysmal 42.5 percent from the field, 27th in the NBA, and shoot 34.8 percent from three-point range, tied for 18th in the league. They struggle to score on the interior, and have a tendency to take closely-contested shots from mid-range and the outside.
The Raptors aren’t lighting it up either. The Raptors are 24th in the league in field-goal percentage, shooting 43.7 percent. That’s slightly better than Charlotte. However, Toronto’s three-point percentage is slightly worse than the Bobcats’ at 34 percent, which puts them at 25th in the NBA.
Given all of that, this game has a chance to be a low-scoring, grinding affair with a whole bunch of shots being missed. Because of that, rebounding will be a key in this game.
If that’s the case, the Bobcats have an advantage over their opponents. The Bobcats average 41.9 rebounds per game and 12.1 offensive boards per contest. In comparison, the Raptors average only 39.7 boards per game and only 10.3 on the offensive glass per game.
Because there are likely going to be a ton of shots missed, the offensive rebounding numbers are key. Second-chance points are going to be vital to either of these teams succeeding since made baskets are important.
When these two teams met on Nov. 21, the Bobcats edged-out the Raptors 98-97. The rebounding numbers were almost identical, with both teams grabbing nine offensive boards, and the Raptors snatching 36 total rebounds in comparison to Charlotte’s 37 total rebounds.
This current matchup is probably going to be another close one. Subsequently, if either team can get an edge in the rebounding category, it’s going to be huge.
Either way, don’t expect this game to be a barn-burner. It’s probably going to be dirty and ugly. Fitting, really, with how the Bobcats’ season has gone.