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.