The Mavs will try and get back on track tonight against the Charlotte Bobcats, a franchise that has never beaten the Mavericks. The Bobcats are 0-6 against the Mavs, but things are finally starting to look a little better for a team that has had little success in its 3 1/2 seasons of existence.
J-Rich and G-Wallace
Former Maverick killer (or maybe still) Jason Richardson teams up with Gerald Wallace to create a potent 1-2 punch that has carried this Bobcats team to many of its 16 wins. Both are averaging 20+ points, 5+ rebounds and 3+ assists per game. Wallace earns his living at the free-throw line while Richardson has been soaring from three-point range all season. There are other peripheral pieces that help carry the Bobcats too, but without both of these dynamic athletes, the Bobcats are probably middling around 10 wins.
Don't forget the point and the center
Richardson and Gerald Wallace may get all the highlights, but point guard Raymond Felton and center Emeka Okafor are just as vital. Felton is a big part of setting up his team in scoring and is tied for 9th in the league in assists with 7.1 per game. On the other end of the spectrum, Okafor holds down the post and is averaging a double-double with 13 points and 10.1 rebounds. He is 14th in the league in rebounding and is also averaging 1.8 blocks and 1.1 steals.
Despite all that...
The Bobcats still aren't very good. They have streaks where they look good—beating the Celtics, Blazers and Magic—but the bad has outweighed the good yet again for the Bobcats. They are dead last in the league in free-throw shooting, 28th in rebounding and 21st in offense. Their defense is mediocre at 99.2 points per game allowed and their shooting percentage is also rather low at 44.9 percent as a team. The bottom line for the Mavs is to contain the point guard and stick to Charlotte's main scorers when they start to heat up.
-Scooter Hendon, Hoops Nerd