Los Angeles Lakers: Shaun Livingston

Lakers vs. Bobcats: What to watch with Queens City Hoops

March, 4, 2011
Kamenetzky By Andy Kamenetzky
Are five consecutive wins coming out of the All-Star break enough to ease the minds of Lakers fans with the dreaded Bobcats on the docket? No. Okay, what about the recent trade jettisoning Gerald Wallace (unquestionably the best player in franchise history) to the Blazers? Not there yet. Well, surely a two-game losing streak -- the most recent a 40 point thumping at the hands of Denver -- and the 10-20 road record will push things over the top.

Not so much. The willies are still there.

It's undeniably inexplicable that competition against a franchise with one playoff appearance in its admittedly young history would spark such uneasiness. Then again, eight losses in the last 10 games against Charlotte is pretty darn loopy, too. Ridiculous as it may sound, a few wins will likely be required before nerves are entirely settled. That first step (hopefully) begins today.

For a better perspective on this pesky foe, we called upon Brett Hainline from Queen City Hoops. Here are a few points to consider before the ball is jumped.

Q: With Wallace now in Portland, how different are the Cats? What changes have you noticed in the way they play, or even body language? Also, how much does Nazr Mohammed's absence matter?

AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli
Crash looks weird in a Blazer uni.

Brett Hainline: Without Gerald Wallace, the Bobcats are smaller and play smaller. Gerald provided strong rebounding from the 3 spot and with Stephen Jackson sliding over and Gerald Henderson taking over as the starting 2, the Bobcats aren't as strong on the glass as they were. With Gerald, Charlotte got away with starting Boris Diaw at the 4 and letting him ignore rebounding for the most part - they aren't able to ignore that anymore. Gerald Henderson (G2 for the duration) rebounds pretty well for the 2 spot but with a team that struggles to score like the Cats do, anything extra they give up at the other end is just more points they struggle to score.

That "Crash" was also the Bobcats most efficient scorer (among the primary options) only further compounds their shortcomings.

As for Nazr - the fan outcry over Charlotte trading Gerald so overshadowed Nazr's departure that is hard to remember he is gone. As hard as he worked and as professionally as he carried himself, the move made sense for Charlotte to take a look at a younger player in D.J. White rather than continue to trot Nazr out there for the backup minutes in the middle. Nazr is a solid post scorer, for an undersized center. But on a team that's best trait is its defense (as the Cats' still is, despite the drop off from last year), Nazr wasn't a good match, as he was just a bit too slow and too short to rotate and challenge shots from the weak side.

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Kobe Bryant
22.3 5.6 1.3 34.5
ReboundsJ. Hill 7.9
AssistsK. Bryant 5.6
StealsR. Price 1.6
BlocksE. Davis 1.3