The good news is the Charlotte Bobcats finished the 2013-2014 NBA season with a 43-39 record and will be seeded 7th in the Eastern Conference playoffs. The Bad news is, they will have to face LeBron James and the World Champion Miami Heat in the first round. Lebron dropped a career high, 61 points on the Bobcats in their last meeting on March 3rd, so unless NBA Hall Of Fame owner, Michael Jordan can suit-up and play some D, the playoff experience for Charlotte will be brief.
With the NBA playoffs beginning on Saturday, Al Jefferson and Kemba Walker will lead the Bobcats into the American Airlines Arena on Sunday afternoon to play the Heat in a game one matchup which will tip around 3:30 PM Eastern time. If you’re not making plans to travel to South Beach, you can catch the game on ABC.
The Bobcats are 0-11 against the Heat since 2011, and 0-fer in 2014. I don’t see this series lasting long, as some of the experts are expecting the Heat to sweep Charlotte in four. A few are predicting it might go five games at best. Guard play, and big man Al Jefferson have had some success this year, but just not against the Heat.
Jefferson should be an MVP candidate for the season, leading the Bobcats in scoring at 21.8 PPG and rebounding at 10.8 per contest. Point Guard, Kemba Walker leads the team in assists, and steals. The main factor in determining if this series goes four games or five lies in Walker’s ability to slow down Heat guard, Dwayne Wade.
Wade played in only two of the Heat’s four wins against Charlotte this season, and with Wade’s knee and hamstring problems, it’s not out of the possibility that they can shut the aging super-star down during this series.
Jefferson should be able to keep Heat center, Chris Bosh off the boards and force him to shoot from the perimeter where he can be deadly, if he is on. The Miami Heat have too many weapons however, in both the starting lineup, and coming off the bench. If the starters aren’t doing the job, coach Erik Spoelstra has too many option who are riding the pine if his super-stars are not getting the job done.
The Bobcats have one of the lowest turnover ratio in the league, and with the athleticism of Kemba Walker, still can’t seem to get out and run like he did at UConn. Charlotte is ranked 9th in pace-of-play and the stat is largely due to Jefferson’s inability to run the floor.
Head coach Steve Clifford has done a great job this year in getting the Bobcats into the playoffs, and just ran into some bad luck in drawing the World Champs in the first round. Had Charlotte been able to matchup against the Indiana Pacers, they may have stood a chance of winning a few more games, but would probably have met the same fate.
A trip to the payoff, however brief it might be, is always good for finding out where you stand, and what pieces you will need in the upcoming draft.
For years, we have wondered what a Michael Jordan, LeBron James matchup would have looked like, and now we get a chance to see one. Unfortunately, the 51 year-old Jordan is too old to suit up, and play some D against LeBron. You have to admit, it would have been great to watch Jordan take DWade, and LeBron off the dribble. I’m not sure it would be enough however to get the Bobcats to the next round.