Charlotte Bobcats: Streaking before rough stretch starts

Kemba Walker (15) was named Eastern Conference Player of the Week for the week of February 17, 2014.

Kemba Walker (15) was named Eastern Conference Player of the Week for the week of February 17, 2014.

The Charlotte Bobcats have won four in a row, and seven of their last 10 games. However, the ‘Cats are about to encounter one the toughest four-game stretches that any NBA team has played this season with games against the San Antonio Spurs, Oklahoma City Thunder, Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers over a span of six days. The first three of those games take place on the road.

However, this hot streak has improved Charlotte’s overall record to 27-30, which is currently good for the 7th seed in the Eastern Conference playoff race. More importantly, the Bobcats are 3.5 games above the Detroit Pistons – the first team outside the playoff picture.

Charlotte has been so good recently that Kemba Walker was named Eastern Conference Player of the Week for the week of February 17th. In the Bobcats’ four games, Walker averaged 22.5 points per game to go along with more than 8 assists and 5 rebounds per contest.

With the recent play of Walker, plus the outstanding efforts Al Jefferson (20.5 points and 10.4 rebounds per game) the Bobcats definitely look like one of the top-8 teams in the Eastern Conference. Plus, Charlotte added two solid three-point shooters at the NBA trade deadline with the addition of Gary Neal and Luke Ridnour from the Milwaukee Bucks. The three-ball has been the biggest problem for the Bobcats this season, but with the addition of these two shooters it should help the offense spread out and will create even more opportunities for Jefferson on the block.

[Charlotte Bobcats making the right moves]

However, for the next four games – no matter how well the Bobcats play – a winning record is highly unlikely. There is no shame in saying that these four teams are significantly better than Charlotte and if the ‘Cats were even to win just one game, the team would have to view it as a successful four-game stint.

After this next four-game gauntlet, Charlotte only plays two of their remaining 21 games against teams that have significantly better records than them (home games against the Portland Trail Blazers and Houston Rockets).

In total, the Bobcats have 25 games left in their 2013-2014 regular season. As long as they can win 10 or more of these 25 games, they should be able to make the playoffs with little difficultly. But, if they can somehow win 13 games in their last 25 – which would get the Bobcats to 40 wins for just the second time in franchise history – Charlotte could be much closer to the 4th or 5th seed in the East. Seeding becomes very important if the Bobcats can avoid being the 7th or 8th seed and not have to play the aforementioned Pacers or Heat in the first round of the playoffs.

Nevertheless, one thing is for sure – it’s nice for Charlotte to be relevant this late in the season rather than already looking at mock drafts four months in advance. Although, the next four games could be rough for the Bobcats.

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