Seven NBA head coaches have lost their jobs this season. The last two, Minnesota's Randy Whittman and now Memphis's Mike Iavaroni have been fired shortly after losses to the hometown Cats. Phoenix's Terry Porter may be unlikely to get fired, but if the Suns lose in Charlotte tonight, they may find themselves outside of the playoffs (they currently lead Dallas be % points for the 8th spot). They will have lost five of their last six, including losses to the T-Wolves and the Knicks. With two of their three core players being in the twilight in of their career if they're hoping to do anything, it needs to be soon.
J-Rich will be returning to the Queen City to face the Bobcats for the first time since the trade. The last time he played against a former team was when he was in Charlotte and lit up the Golden State Warriors for half a bill. The argument about who got the best of the trade will continue at least through the end of the year, but there is little doubt that all three of the primary pieces have this game circled on the calendar.
Heading into a long five game in nine days road trip, a win tonight could be a huge lift. The team will play one basement dweller in Indiana, two division leaders in the Lakers and Nuggets, and two twenty five win teams in Portland and Utah. The last time the Cats went to Indiana, Raymond Felton played OT hero in leading the team to a win. If the team can go at least 2-3, the road trip has to be considered a success. When the team returns home, they have a stretch of six games that can all be considered winnable, so a successful road trip would be invaluable as this team continues to fight for the 8th seed in the East.