Charlotte's? A more impressive, rarer road win. Charlotte is coming off a mighty impressive win last night (following a loss to the Nets??? And for the second time), scoring a 110-93 decision over the Cavaliers. It was the first time Cleveland lost on the road in over a month -- since Jan. 14 in Utah on that Sundiata Gaines buzzer-beating three. In fact, last night marked the Bobcats' second win of the season over the Cavaliers; they rather incredibly also beat LeBron and co. in Cleveland 91-88 in January and they won 94-87 in Charlotte back in November.
Home/road. Charlotte's win in Cleveland was doubly improbable considering the Cavs' home dominance (24-4) and Charlotte's ineptitude on the road (7-19). All of this should give the Cavs some worry since Charlotte currently stands eighth in the Eastern Conference, which would pit them against the Cavs in a first round series if the season ended today.
Similarly, tonight's game has all sorts of consequence for the Bucks, who are coincidentally chasing the Bobcats for the final playoff spot Charlotte currently occupies. I've assumed the Bobcats would be the least likely team for the Bucks to catch of the 6-8 group, but Miami (five wins in a row) and Chicago (three in a row) trending upward.
Milwaukee is two games behind Charlotte, and so this qualifies not only as an important game but also a should-win. The Bobcats' aforementioned home/road splits astound: 20-7 (.740) at home, 7-19 (.269) on the road.
Think of it this way, for (four?) baseball fans reading: The Bobcats at home (.740) are much better than the overall Yankees (.636) of last season and on the road (.269) are much worse than the overall Nationals (.364) of last season.
Similar. In some respects, like the ones listed at the bottom of the table on the top of this preview, the Bucks and Bobcats are rather similar. Neither team is too hot offensively (Bobs 23rd, Bucks 24th), but both teams are quite good defensively (5th and 9th respectively). And so maybe it shouldn't be surprising that they are so close in the standings, as Charlotte currently has a two-game advantage.
One difference is that Milwaukee is very average when it comes to pace (15th) while Charlotte is one of the slowest teams (27th) in the Association. Despite having some real athletes, the Bobcats prefer to play in the halfcourt.
Tyrus. From one playoff contender to another (the Bulls did a lot of this, clearly), the Bobcats acquired Tyrus Thomas from Chicago for Acie Law and Flip Murray. Law plays for a different team (or two) every year and Flip Murray is, well, Flip Murray, but Thomas had been grating in Chicago for quite some time.
Leaders of the Bucks. While it wasn't an all-around masterpiece, John Salmons led the team in scoring in his Bucks' debut with 19 points, making him the fourth different leading scorer (Jennings, Bogut, Mbah a Moute, Salmons) in as many games.
And he is the 10th different Buck to lead the team in scoring this season, following Jennings, Redd, Bogut, Delfino, Ilyasova, Ridnour, Warrick, Bell, and Mbah a Moute.
So, Primo, hop to it.