Originally written on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 12/18/14
Credit: Joshuak8 As the saying goes, “A win is a win.” But as the Charlotte Bobcats head down the home stretch, these wins will be worth more and more. At this point the Bobcats should be in the clear to make the playoffs barring some miraculous run from the Knicks, which, since it’s the Knicks, isn’t very likely. Now it becomes an issue of seeding. If the playoffs began today the 7th seed Bobcats would be facing a seven game series with the 2nd seed Miami Heat and for all of the excitement of making the playoffs there probably isn’t a faster way of snuffing it out than facing LeBron et all. In fact, the Heat might be the worst possible match up for the Bobcats. Despite having a remarkable defense on the season, the Bobcats have really struggled against superstar players. Both Carmelo and LeBron scored career highs against the Bobcats this season and last night James Harden dropped 31 points. Going against a fully focused Heat squad would be overwhelming in the first round. Tonight’s loss to the Rockets certainly wasn’t good but there were silver linings that could be drawn. First, the team shot poorly from beyond the arc going 4-21. Notably, Gary Neal was 0-8 which is hopefully due to lingering knee soreness that was bothering him over the weekend. The team has been shooting better as of late and so tonight was just an off one. Despite the poor shooting though the Bobcats were able to hang tight for most of the game and the Rockets only pulled away at the very end. There have also been some changes in the roster in recent games as Anthony Tolliver has fallen out of the rotation for the most part. This is probably due to the fact that he was really only relevant for his shooting and now that Luke Ridnour and Gary Neal have arrived he’s probably not needed. He is also a bit undersized and a minus on defense which makes him worth even less now. Instead, it seems that Cody Zeller will be splitting the time at PF. While the number 4 pick hasn’t been Rookie of the Year material, he hasn’t been useless either. His biggest attribute is his ability to crash the glass for offense rebounds and putbacks which gave him several of his baskets tonight. His energy off the bench is something that you always want from a bench player. One of the bigger concerns though might have to be the starters’ minutes load down the stretch. Big Al played 42 minutes and while it was needed against the likes of Dwight Howard and Omer Asik, coming down the stretch it could potentially cause problems. If the starters are playing heavy minutes right up until the playoffs they might be exhausted before the first tip-off. The priority should definitely be to get the wins in the final few weeks but if it’s clear that the Bobcats aren’t going to be moving up then it might be better to give the team the Popovich treatment and rest some of the guys. The post Charlotte Bobcats: The final stretch begins appeared first on isportsweb.
PLAYERS: Gary Neal
TEAMS: Charlotte Hornets

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