The Bobcats and Raptors are both 1-6 going into this game, which means the loser will have sole possession of last place in the Eastern Conference. The Raptors’ poor start isn’t particularly surprising but I didn’t expect the Bobcats to be this bad. To be fair, five of their six losses were by 10 points or less and their last two losses were by a combined seven points to the Magic and Spurs. So while they probably aren’t going to match their 44-win total from last season, they’re probably not as bad as their record suggests.
The biggest difference between this season’s and last season’s Bobcats is their defence — they had the top Defensive Rating in the NBA last season with 102.8 points allowed per 100 possessions while they’re 19th so far this season with a 107.6 D-Rating. The loss of Tyson Chandler and Raymond Felton from last year’s squad probably has something to do with that, at least that’s what coach Larry Brown alludes to when he said, “We caused more turnovers (last season) simply because of quickness.”
As I pointed out in my recap of the Raptors’ loss to the Warriors, Jay Triano might be coaching for his job this game because a loss tonight could be easily followed by a string of losses in the subsequent road games against the Magic, Heat, Wizards and 76ers. If I was an anthropomorphic clipboard, I’d probably find a nice closet to hide in at the Air Canada Centre tonight.
Toronto: Leandro Barbosa will miss tonight with a shoulder strain but Jarrett Jack and Sonny Weems are expected to play through their injuries.
Charlotte: Nobody significant, although Kwame Brown is out indefinitely until they determine why his hands persistently smell like cabbage.
1. Can Andrea Bargnani bounce back from his worst game of this young season?
2. Why doesn’t Larry Brown give Tyrus Thomas more playing time? Even though his per-36-minute averages for points, rebounds and steals lead the team, he’s averaging just 21.6 minutes per game.
3. If the Bobcats keep losing, how long do you give Larry Brown before he “retires” due to “health reasons”?
4. Did you know that DeSagana Diop is the only one out of 133 active players with over 1,000 career personal fouls who has more fouls (1,152) than points (1,125)?
5. Do you think Stephen Jackson got annoyed when he learned that Marquis Daniels got a gun-related tattoo more messed-up than his?
Start time: 7:00 PM ET
Liveblog: James Borbath on theScore.com and ScoreMobile
Probable starting lineups
Toronto: Jarrett Jack, DeMar DeRozan, Linas Kleiza, Reggie Evans, Andrea Bargnani
Charlotte: D.J. Augustin, Stephen Jackson, Gerald Wallace, Boris Diaw, Nazr Mohammed
Your pregame song is “Mince Meat” by Danger Doom because whichever team loses this game is, well… you know.