By Cody Williams @TheSizzle20 on April 17, 2014
After winning just 28 games over the previous two seasons, the Charlotte Bobcats are bound for the playoffs for just the second time in franchise history. However, they’ll almost surely get an unwarm welcome from the two-time defending champions, the Miami Heat. Here’s how the two teams with vastly different recent-histories match up.
Kemba Walker has continued his growth into one of the better point guards in the NBA this season while Chalmers is probably best known for getting yelled at constantly by his teammates. Chalmers is, in fact, a solid player that can provide a spark for the Heat. However, Walker has the advantage when it comes to the one-on-one matchup.
Henderson and Wade have both missed a good deal of time this season, but for different reasons. Henderson was injured while Wade has mostly been resting to ensure his health for the playoffs. Both guys should be fresh, but Wade is still clearly the bigger factor and holds the advantage in this matchup.
Kidd-Gilchrist has the chance to be one of the best defenders in the league in the near future, but this is LeBron James. He may be a bit tired having not rested much this season, but there aren’t many players who can stack up to LeBron.
There’s hardly a lot of star-power in this matchup, but it also could be a hugely important one. Whoever steps up between Haslem and McRoberts could potentially swing a game or two in this series. Though it’s hard to believe, McRoberts gets the edge in that regard.
The matchup between Bosh and Jefferson may be the most fun to watch in this series. Jefferson will have to find a way to stay with Bosh when he stretches the floor while Bosh will need to find a way to combat Big Al in the post. Given how he’s played this season, I give the edge to Jefferson; however, things are certainly open to swinging in favor of Bosh.
The Heat’s bench prowess absolutely dwarfs that of the Bobcats. While Chris Douglas-Roberts and Gary Neal have proven to be valuable to Charlotte, they hardly have the talent of guys like Ray Allen, Rashard Lewis, Michael Beasley, and even Greg Oden. The bench minutes could make this a long series for the Cats.
Steve Clifford deserves some talk for Coach of the Year voting for what he’s done with this team. However, Spoelstra continues to be an underrated coach with a ton of playoff experience now under his belt. That’s something that Clifford doesn’t yet have and gives the edge to the Heat’s leading man.
Miami swept their season-series with Charlotte this season, 4-0. In the final matchup of that series, LeBron went off for 61 points. The Bobcats’ defense has improved, but they are susceptible to big scoring performances from opposing forwards. Charlotte could make it a fight, but the Heat are clearly outclassing them in this matchup.
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