Game 1: Mavs vs. Bobcats Preview

Well, here we are Mavs fans, with the preseason finally done and out of the way, its now time for the start of the regular season! Looking at our first game ahead….

 

Charlotte Bobcats

Opening night brings a team in transition, the Bobcats, into town. After years of building, Charlotte finally made its first trip to the playoffs last season. Led by stars Gerald Wallace and Stephen Jackson, the team finished over .500 at 44-38 and made the playoffs as the 7th seed in the Eastern Conference. In the playoffs, though, they were dominated by the Magic and Dwight Howard as they were swept out in 4 games. Although the majority of the roster returns intact from last year, there are some notable exceptions. Raymond Felton, who had spent the first 5 years of his career with the team and was their starting point guard, is now in New York, which is going to place a lot of pressure on DJ Augustin, the former UT star, who will have to man the role of PG by himself. On a similar note, the Bobcats also lost Tyson Chandler, who was traded to the Mavs as part of the Erick Dampier deal. After having released Dampier, it seems that they will be relying heavily to man the middle on former Mav DeSagna Diop and Nazr Mohammed.

As the Bobcats head into 2010-11 season, they are in a very tough position. At their current state, they are looking at another 4th place finish in the division and a shot at one of the last playoff spots in the East. While the team certainly has talent, they still have work to do, specifically big man-wise, in getting some more help for Jackson and Wallace. Rest assured, though, they do have some talent and will definitely pose some problems for the Mavs on opening night.  

Stat Leaders (from Last season):

Pts

Stephen Jackson

21.1

Tot

Gerald Wallace

10.0

Ast

Raymond Felton

5.6

FG%

Tyson Chandler

57.4

FT%

Raja Bell

100.0

3PT%

D.J. Augustin

39.3

Blk

Theo Ratliff

1.5

Stl

Stephen Jackson

1.6

 

Last meeting: These two teams last met each other on March 1st of last year in Charlotte. The Mavs entered the fourth quarter trailing by 2, but lead by Dirk’s 27 and Caron Butler’s 22 pulled out an 89-84 win. The Bobcats were lead by Tyrus Thomas, who had a double-double with 16 points and 12 rebounds.

 

What to look for:

 

  •  Watch the match-up at shooting guard between Jackson and Butler. A test from a notorious Mavs’ killer will provide an early gauge on how much we can make of Caron’s "Great" offseason thus far.
  •   The Mavs should have a huge advantage in the post. Not even factoring Dirk into the equation, they still dominate with Haywood and Chandler being much better than the Bobcats’ trio of Mohammed, Diop, and Brown.
  •  Tyrus Thomas really seems to have found a nice fit in Charlotte after an uneventful first couple of years in Chicago. Look for him to be a big factor on Wednesday.
  • Seeing how many former Mavs the Bobcats have, it will be interesting to see how well the crowd reacts.
  • Lastly, a big part of the Bobcats’ season is going to be based on how well Augustin plays at point. If he can come out and distribute the way Larry Brown wants, the Bobcats can be a pretty good team. However, considering his tendency to shoot, it will be a question. Chalk up the matchup at point between him and Kidd as key.

 

Prediction: Mavs 105-Bobcats 97. With a raucous AAC, the Mavs should be too much for the Bobcats on opening night.

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