The Charlotte Bobcats will embark on their second (and final) playoff journey in franchise history Sunday in Miami against the two-time defending NBA champions. It appears that the ‘Cats drew the absolute worst first-round matchup possible by getting the Heat this early in the playoffs. But, if the Bobcats are going to win the 2014 NBA Championship might as well go through the toughest teams first, right? …Right.
Anyway, when wondering about the web the past few days, I have yet to spot an expert picking the Bobcats to win this series in advance. In fact, of the countless predictions that have been made, it seems the experts are spilt pretty evenly on what the outcome of this series will be. Half think this series will be a cake-walk sweep for Miami, while the other half think the Bobcats are just good enough to steal one and force this series to go five games.
Regardless, any Bobcats fan will tell you that this season is a success, no matter if they get swept by the two-time defending champions or not. But, truth be told, every Bobcats fan is desperate to just win at least one game against the Heat. Winning the first playoff game in franchise history would put a cap on an already overwhelmingly successful season and give this young team the confidence they need heading into the offseason and their first season as the Charlotte Hornets.
While all of this makes it seem Charlotte is just happy to be here, I have a sneaky suspicion this series will be a lot more competitive than many experts may think. So competitive in fact, I think this series will be tied at two games apiece before the Heat ultimately wins the series in six games.
The truth is, for as good as the Heat is, they have no one who can come close to guarding Al Jefferson for 40 minutes a game for the entire series. I suspect that Big Al will but up pretty ridiculous numbers – something to the tune of 26 points and 12 rebounds per game over the series. That domination alone, along with the Charlotte defense that is one of the best in the NBA, is a combination good enough to win at least one game.
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Also, despite his shooting struggles since the All-Star break – Kemba Walker is shooting less than 36 percent since that time – I think this will be Walker’s coming out party to the rest of the world. Kemba has mostly flown under the radar this season as Big Al, rightfully so, has gotten all the attention. But, as we have seen in the past, Kemba comes up biggest on the brightest stages and his match-up with Mario Chalmers is one that I think leans in favor of the Bobcats.
The Heat is obviously the much-better team, and should probably roll through this series relatively easily. However, don’t be surprised if the so-called “experts” are talking about how good the Bobcats really are in two weeks when this series is still going and Charlotte has made life difficult for arguably the best team in the NBA.
Game 1 @ Miami: Bobcats – 96 Heat – 94
Game 2 @ Miami: Heat – 103 Bobcats – 88
Game 3 @ Charlotte: Heat – 99 Bobcats – 90
Game 4 @ Charlotte: Bobcats – 101 Heat – 98 (OT)
Game 5 @ Miami: Heat – 111 Bobcats – 86
Game 6 @ Charlotte: Heat – 105 Bobcats – 92
Heat win series 4-2.
Read more news, rumors, and opinions on our Charlotte Bobcats team page.