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Bobcats-76ers Preview

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The Charlotte Bobcats are certainly taking care of business at home in their quest for the franchise's first playoff berth.

Finding success on the road has been a different story.

The Bobcats take a three-game winning streak built at home to Philadelphia on Wednesday night, hoping that a matchup with the reeling 76ers can help them avoid a seventh loss in nine road contests.

Charlotte (31-31) has 20 games left to try to grab one of the Eastern Conference's bottom four playoff spots, and if it could play a majority of those at Time Warner Cable Arena - where it's 23-8 - it'd be in great shape.

Only half of the Bobcats' remaining games are at home, however, meaning they'll likely need to find a way to improve upon their 8-23 road record if they plan on playing in the postseason.

Charlotte bounced back from a 104-80 loss at Boston last Wednesday by sweeping a three-game homestand, and Tuesday's win was easily the most significant. The Bobcats recovered from a 15-point deficit to beat Miami 83-78, moving to 3-0 this season against their Southeast Division rivals.

The victory moved Charlotte into a virtual tie with the Heat for the East's seventh spot, and the Bobcats own the tiebreaker.

"It was great to get a win over a team that we're fighting to get in front of in the playoffs," Gerald Wallace told the NBA's official Web site. "... It keeps the momentum going for us. We've got a nice stretch for us in March where we can put ourselves in a great position for a playoff run."

Six of Charlotte's next eight games are on the road, starting with a trip to Philadelphia.

The Sixers (23-40) have lost six of seven, though their first five losses in that stretch came against some of the league's elite - Phoenix, the Los Angeles Lakers, Orlando, Atlanta and Boston.

Philadelphia seemed to be emerging from its slump when Thaddeus Young sparked a 114-101 win in Toronto on Sunday by scoring 32 points, but the Sixers fell right back into it Tuesday. Young, Elton Brand and Andre Iguodala combined for just 20 points in a 107-96 loss at Indiana, which was playing without suspended star Danny Granger.

"It happens a lot when a key guy is out - other guys step up," Sixers coach Eddie Jordan said. "... We did not do enough to win.''

Philadelphia did enough to beat the Bobcats in the teams' first meeting at the Wachovia Center on Nov. 18, getting 25 points from Iguodala and 19 from Brand in an 86-84 victory.

Willie Green had 26 points in Charlotte on Dec. 5, but Boris Diaw scored 28 and Wallace had 24 points and 14 boards as the Bobcats rallied from a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit to win 106-105.

While Iguodala, Wallace and Charlotte's Stephen Jackson will be the offensive focal points in Wednesday's meeting, each club has a young guard that's playing well.

Philadelphia rookie Jrue Holiday has scored 21 points in each of his past two games, a sign he could be coming into his own after averaging 6.2 points in his first 52 NBA games.

The Bobcats' D.J. Augustin, meanwhile, has averaged 13.3 points - more than double his 6.1 average - over his last four games. He scored eight straight fourth-quarter points to spark Charlotte's comeback against the Heat.

The Bobcats are 10-5 when Augustin scores in double digits.

Tagged: Celtics, Heat, 76ers, Hornets, Elton Brand, Gerald Wallace, Andre Iguodala, Thaddeus Young, D.J. Augustin

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