The Charlotte Bobcats will go up against the Los Angeles Clippers for the second time this season Wednesday night. The last matchup between these two was on Jan. 1, and let’s just say the Clips controlled the whole game. They won by a final of 112-85. Wednesday will be a whole new ball game as star point guards Chris Paul and Kemba Walker won’t be in the active lineups.
Don’t sleep on L.A. without CP3. They’ve won six of their last seven in his absence. Who needs to step up? What needs to be done to secure the win? Here are the three keys to victory for the Cats over the Clippers tonight.
1. Control the big men
The impact Chris Paul’s absence has been downgraded significantly by fellow lob city poster boys Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan. It’s clear that the Clippers are a team that runs on big men without the presence of their All-Star point guard. Both add extreme rebounding as well as scoring presence when on the floor as a pair, and if the Cats cant match up against the two then a loss may be very evident.
Jordan just added 21 rebounds in the Clippers’ previous game, so you know Al Jefferson is just going to have a battle in the post with him (19 rebounds last game). If the Cats subdue the impact of both than it can be a whole new game, but if not they will have to most likely dig out of a big deficit.
Jordan is averaging an NBA-high 13.7 boards while Griffin is posting 26.8 a game over the last six. Jefferson will need to have his top defensive as well as offensive game if Charlotte wants to steal a win. Help defense must be there, especially on L.A.’s big man duo.
2. Make Ramon Sessions the x-factor
Ramon Sessions is a player not too many people go crazy about even if he has a phenomenal game. In his starting debut at point guard (filling in for Kemba Walker) against the Toronto Raptors on Monday he scored a season-high 23 points. There’s no doubt in anyone’s mind that such a performance wasn’t expected from the bench contributor. A surprising game like that is what will make a player an x-factor, and if the Clippers slack off of Sessions it could be a whole new ball game.
His prime scoring ability will be a huge necessity to the team since the Clips are an extremely high scoring team (third in the league). If you were to take a guess it probably will be a high score when the game goes final. If the Cats want to stay in this one or even sprint ahead Sessions will be an option that will get you points when needed.
Don’t slack off of him, because if you do it could be a big mistake. He has been extremely undervalued, so watch for him to be a big contributor.
3. Improved defense in the post
Let’s face it; the Bobcats may have a great defensive team but not in the post. The Cats are allowing an average of 37.2 points inside the paint so far this season. The non-enjoyable statistic ranks them among the top 5 in the category within the NBA.
The Clippers are a team that thrives scoring in the post. If the Cats can’t control any of the Clips’ big men in the post it will most likely lead to a loss, but what if the defense is there you got yourself an even looking matchup. Star defender Michael Kidd-Gilchrist along with guys like Bismack Biyombo and Josh McRoberts will need to aid Al Jefferson when defending inside the post.
Tip off is at 7 p.m. ET in Time Warner Cable Arena!