Sixers-Bobcats Preview: Charlotte's Defensive Web

Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Six points of note headed into tonight's game against the Charlotte Bobcats.

1. The Sixers and Bobcats face off tonight. For the second time in franchise history, and for the last time in their current logo incarnation, the Bobcats will make a playoff appearance. Charlotte's currently behind the Washington Wizards by one game with three remaining, including tonight's. Our prayers for Cardboard Gerald have worked!

2. In the last matchup, Al Jefferson tore up Henry Sims for 25 points and 10 rebounds as the Bobcats won by 30. The game was never close. Kemba Walker played 20 minutes in that game, but per Bobcats brodcaster Stephanie Ready the former UConn NCAA Tournament hero will not play tonight.

3. Charlotte's biggest strength as a team has been defense, which given the personnel (especially thoughts on them before this season started) may be the biggest surprise in the NBA this season, even moreso than the upstart Suns and division champion Toronto Raptors. Per basketball-reference, the Bobs rank 6th in defensive efficiency, despite starting a center who was thought to be a complete liability in Jefferson.

Meanwhile, Al Jefferson's old team (the Utah Jazz) is 30th. As much as Jefferson is limited, his new team this season skyrocketed in defensive efficiency, and his old team somehow got worse. Tyrone Corbin is not a good coach. Steve Clifford certainly has done a lot with a little, however. He should get some COY love.

The Bobcats don't ask Jefferson to help much outside the paint, because he doesn't have the foot speed to cover guards in space. It'll be up to the Sixers guards, primarily Michael Carter-Williams, to still drive to the basket when the midrange shots look enticing.

4. If there's a weakness in the Charlotte defense, it's in defending the three point line. Charlotte allows an average of just under 22 three point attempts per game, which is around league-average, but they give up the fourth highest three point percentage. The Sixers usually can't take advantage of this since the team as a while struggles with shooting. They shot 4-18 on April 2nd against the Bobs.

5. However, the Sixers do have one good shooter. Hollis Thompson is up to 40% three point shooting on the season, and while he didn't have much of an outing in the last Charlotte game, he's as good of a bet as any to have a strong game.

6(ers). With only three games remaining in the season, we have precious little time to appreciate the masterpiece of a roster put together by Sam Hinkie post-trade deadline. Learn to appreciate Brandon Davies' effort, because if he gets another NBA contract something went really, really wrong. Learn to love Casper Ware for the final times, because he's not a long-term NBA player. Neither are many of the other journeymen that have passed through the halls at the Wells Fargo Center. But they wouldn't have had a chance to prove that without this painful, wonderful season.

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