By: J.M.Poulard

Fresh off a home loss at the hand of the Hornets Wednesday night, the Golden State Warriors (19-26) will host the Eastern Conference’s eighth seeded Charlotte Bobcats (19-25) tonight at Oracle Arena. The Bobs will be seeking retribution for a New Year’s Eve loss that came at the hands of the Warriors.On offense, Charlotte averages 93.2 points per game (28th in the NBA) on 44.9% field goal shooting (21st in the league). Upon viewing the amount of points that the Bobcats score, one would think that they have a terrible offense but such is not the case. In actuality, their low scoring numbers are a direct result of the tempo at which they play. Indeed, the Bobs average 77.2 shots per game (29th in the association) and have the 24th slowest pace in the league.

Their shooting numbers are not great but they do find ways to manufacture high percentage shots. Given the fact that Boris Diaw and Stephen Jackson are good passers and also have good low post games, Paul Silas often times posts them up–Stephen Jackson is taller and stronger than most shooting guards–and has them feed cutters going to the basket. The end result is that Charlotte generates 25.5 shots at the rim per game, which is the second most attempts in the league. Although they do a great job of creating shots at the rim, finishing them is an issue. The Bobcats only convert 60.5% of their field goal attempts at the basket (24th in the NBA), which translates into 41.4 points in the paint per game (14th in the association).

Also, because the Bobcats generate so many attempts at the basket, they put a lot of pressure on opposing defenses to contest and foul; consequently they attempt 25.0 free throws per game (10th in the NBA).  In their last meeting with the Warriors, Paul Silas’ team generated 37 shots at the basket on their way to 44 points in the paint and 28 free throw attempts.

Charlotte obviously does not get all of their scoring from post ups. With talented players such as Stephen Jackson and Gerald Wallace on the roster, this Bobcats team runs a lot of isolation plays at the wings for their perimeter guys, where they ask them to attack their defenders and create shots for themselves or their teammates. This strategy works more often than not, but both players are turnover prone and thus can at times bring the offense to a halt. On December 31st, Wallace and Jackson combined for seven of the Bobcats 13 turnovers.

On defense, the Bobcats surrender 96.5 points per game (11th in the NBA) on 44.7% field goal shooting. Charlotte has arguably two of the best defensive players at their respective positions in Stephen Jackson and Gerald Wallace; hence perimeter players typically have a tough time getting loose for uncontested shots.

Also, the Bobcats have quality big men like Nazr Mohamed and DeSagana Diop that do a terrific job of making opposing big people compete for post position. Once they do get a chance to finally park down low, their size and length make it awfully tough for players to score on them. So although the Bobcats surrender 22.6 shots at the rim (23rd in the NBA), they only allow their opponents to convert 58.6% of those attempts. As a result, Charlotte’s opponents only score 38.8 points in the paint per game (10th in the league) and attempt 23.3 free throws per game (seventh best mark in the association).

When the Bobcats faced the Warriors earlier this season, Paul Silas’ team did a solid job on defense, limiting Keith Smart’s squad to 36 points in the paint and 16 free throw attempts.

One area of concern for Charlotte is their defensive attention. They tend to overreact to ball fakes and consequently get out of position. Keep in mind, the Bobs will occasionally throw out a zone at their opponents; and well, a zone defense that overreacts to ball fakes is a bad zone. It allows a lot of open areas on the court and leads to open shots. Indeed, Charlotte allows opposing teams to put up 19.9 three points shots per game (24th in the association) and to convert 36.9% of them (21st in the NBA).

In the December 31st match up, Golden State converted 10 out of 24 three point field goal attempts. Further compounding the problem for Charlotte, the Dubs only missed five of their 19 attempts at the rim. The Bobs did a great job of keeping the Warriors off the line (16 attempts), but their inability to defend short range and long range shots led to their demise that night on their home floor.

Charlotte game notes: In their previous game against Golden State, Stephen Jackson and Gerald Wallace combined for 42 points on 12 for 37 field goal shooting (32.4%) and 14 for 19 free throw shooting.

Golden State game notes: The Dubs starting backcourt combined for 49 points on 21 for 40 field goal shooting (52.5%) and six for 10 three point shooting the last time they faced the Bobcats.