Bobcats-Hornets Preview

While the Charlotte Bobcats are slowly moving toward securing

the franchise’s first playoff berth, they won’t have to wait long

for a chance to snap a different drought.

The Bobcats look for their first road win over the New Orleans

Hornets as the clubs square off Wednesday night.

Charlotte (41-36) has won six of eight and is in seventh place

in the Eastern Conference. The Bobcats can put themselves on the

cusp of securing a postseason spot with a victory over New

Orleans.

Charlotte, which fell 104-99 at home to the Hornets (35-43) on

Feb. 6, is 0-5 all-time in New Orleans. It’s averaged 85.8 points

in those games, losing by an average of 15.8 points.

The Bobcats head to Louisiana after a opening a 20-point lead in

the first quarter and holding on for a 109-100 win at home over

Atlanta on Tuesday. Gerald Wallace led six players in double

figures with 28 points while Stephen Jackson finished with 15

points.

“It felt good because we didn’t have to work too hard tonight,”

Jackson said.

With Chicago’s loss to Milwaukee also on Tuesday, Charlotte’s

magic number to clinch a playoff spot is down to two. The Bulls are

idle Wednesday.

While the Bobcats play three of their final five games on the

road, four are against teams that have been eliminated from playoff

contention. Charlotte has lost four of five on the road, where for

the season the team is averaging 91.7 points – down from 98.5 at

home.

The Bobcats may have better luck scoring against the Hornets on

the road, though, given that New Orleans is allowing 105.8 points

over its last six contests.

The Hornets are coming off one of their worst efforts of the

season in a 115-87 loss to league-worst New Jersey on Saturday.

They were outscored 31-16 in the fourth quarter and shot 39.8

percent while going 1 for 11 from 3-point range.

David West scored 25 points and had seven rebounds and six

assists, but Chris Paul was held to four points on 2 of 11

shooting. Paul, who missed 25 games after left knee surgery that

kept him out of the All-Star game, has averaged 9.4 points and shot

40.0 percent in seven games since returning.

“With any team when someone goes down with an injury for a long

time it’s going to be an adjustment,” said Paul, who didn’t face

Charlotte in February. “We played strong but it’s always tough. It

was tough watching because you have to come back and get your

rhythm.”

West, who scored 21 points against the Bobcats in the most

recent meeting, is averaging 19.4 points against them in his

career.

Charlotte will be without center Theo Ratliff, who will attend

his grandmother’s funeral. He’s averaged 5.2 points and 4.2

rebounds in 25 games since being acquired in February from San

Antonio.