Playoff Preview: Bobcats-Heat Game 2

The NBA Playoffs continue at 7 p.m. on TNT as the Heat host the Bobcats, hoping to build a 2-0 advantage in the Eastern Conference first round. Before each game, we will have a quick preview of the upcoming game with a matchup to watch and a stat to chew on as you watch the game.

Previously on Lost:

The Bobcats looked game to hang with the Heat, using the interior presence of Al Jefferson and the spark-plug play of Kemba Walker. Then Jefferson injured his foot and the tenor seemed to change. Miami took control, put on its big run and never looked back. Thanks for trying, Charlotte.

The Bobcats could only last so long and they could only limit their mistakes so much with their main offensive weapon hobbled. Miami proved to be too much. Maybe a full game to re-adjust its gameplan will help Charlotte keep pace this time. Maybe it will not.

Matchup to Watch: Kemba Walker vs. Mario Chalmers

With Jefferson dealing with his injury, the offensive pressure falls on Kemba Walker to carry the load. Walker has double duty as he will have to help Charlotte control the pace and limit Miami’s possessions. That is not the easiest thing to do for Walker who probably works best when he can get out into the open floor and change speeds against a defense. He will have to pick his spots to do that.

This matchup gains more intrigue considering Mario Chalmers appeared to be nursing a minor injury through Game One and the Heat had to rely on Norris Cole on Walker. Walker’s eyes lit up at that prospect. Walker scored 20 points and dished out six assists in the Game One loss. He will have to limit his turnovers though as he committed six going up against the hounding Miami defense.

DwyaneWadeHeat_Mavs010213Stat to Chew On: Wade on rest

Dwyane Wade played in only 54 games this year as the Heat opted to try to preserve his health the entire season, knowing how much they will need him for the rest of the Playoffs. Wade posted modest numbers, averaging 19.0 points per game, although he shot 54.5 percent from the floor.

Wade on rest has looked refreshed and rejuvenated generally. He scored 23 points and dished out six assists in Game One. It continued an interesting trend for Wade of playing on more than a few days’ rest. Wade average 18.9 points per game on two days rest and 18.4 points per game on three or more days’ rest this season.

Surprisingly, his best game comes after just one day in between games. He averaged 20.2 points per game and posted a +8.9 points per 100 possessions on just one day rest. Wade has had two days off to prepare for Game Two.

Bloggers’ Corner:

Matt Pineda of Hot Hot HoopsJefferson aggravated his plantar fascia during Game 1 and had him hobbled the rest of the game, even after getting pain shots to continue playing. “I just felt it pop — like somebody shot me. A terrible feeling” said Jefferson. It’s an injury so annoying Chris Bosh felt bad and sympathetic for him, as he has had it in the past. But Jefferson, although in a walking boot since the end of Game 1, insisted that he will play in Game 2. Medics cleared him without a chance to further the injury by playing.

twarner50 of Rufus on FireGame 1 inspired a sense of optimism within me, actually. Only as much optimism as an eleven-point playoff loss can cause, to be fair, but that’s optimism nonetheless. Like most of their double-digit losses this season, the Bobcats were undone by one bad quarter rather than a continuous string of inadequate play, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see a closer score in Game 2. Here’s how the Bobcats can improve upon in tonight’s game as they try to steal an away game from Miami.

Philip’s Running Prediction: The Heat continued to bide their time and pounce at the right moment in Game One. Charlotte, with Al Jefferson on one bad wheel, is not going to be able to keep up when Miami gets things going. It did in the middle of Game One and that was it for Charlotte. Not budging on this one, I still think the Heat sweep this one in four.

About Philip Rossman-Reich

Philip Rossman-Reich is the managing editor for Crossover Chronicles and Orlando Magic Daily. You can follow him on twitter @OMagicDaily