One of the recurring images of the Charlotte Bobcats’ 2012-2013 season is opposing players shooting wide-open threes. The Bobcats tend to collapse into the paint on dribble penetration and overload one side of the court defensively. Subsequently, opposing wing-players are left open beyond-the arc.
That’s why the Bobcats are the worst in the NBA in opposing three-point percentage (39 percent) and opposing threes made per game (9.4). They also have allowed their opponents to make 162 more threes than they have on the season, the worst in the league and 65 more threes than the 29th ranked team.
This was never more on display than on Dec. 8 when they played the San Antonio Spurs and allowed them to make 19 threes and shoot 55.9 percent from long range as a team in the game. The Spurs were victorious, 132-102.
Tonight, the Bobcats roll into San Antonio for the second meeting of the season between the two squads. With Tim Duncan out for the game, the Spurs are likely going to rely on their perimeter play and the long-ball.
If the Bobcats continue to display the same effort when defending the three as they have for most of the season, it’s likely going to be another painful blowout for Charlotte.
The Spurs average 22.6 three-point attempts and8.6 made threes per game and are shooting 37.9 percent from three as a team this year. Factor in Duncan’s absence and those attempts are definitely going to increase. If the Bobcats play their normal perimeter defense, their made attempts will increase as well.
Charlotte has to be more disciplined when it comes to defending outside shots, especially tonight. They need to not overload the floor with perimeter help defense and trust their big-men inside to take lockdown the post if there is a blow-by.
More than that, they have to get a hand in the face of a Spurs player when he’s taking a three. The Bobcats have been notorious this season for showing a lack of effort when it comes to closing out on shooters on the perimeter.
If they are able to play with a higher defensive effort and IQ, the advantage would probably still go to the Spurs, the fifth most efficient offense and fourth most efficient defense in the league.
However, if Charlotte’s three-point defense does improve, it won’t be a blowout and they could potentially be in the game near the end. Given the outcome of their last meeting with the Spurs, that would be a solid moral victory.