Bobcats-Wizards Preview

The Charlotte Bobcats appear much improved on the heels of their
historically woeful season.

The Washington Wizards, meanwhile, are currently stuck in their
own forgettable futility.

Two teams headed in different directions meet Saturday night
when the host Wizards look to end their worst start in franchise
history against the surprising Bobcats.

Charlotte knows a little something about epic struggles, having
finished with the worst winning percentage in NBA history after
going 7-59 last season.

That seems long ago these days, with the Bobcats (6-5) matching
their best start in their nine-year history. They have a chance to
equal their entire win total from last season with a victory over
Washington (0-10).

The Bobcats had won five of six before Friday night’s 101-91
loss to visiting Atlanta.

Ramon Sessions, who gives Charlotte some energy off the bench,
led the way with 22 points. Kemba Walker, the team’s leading
scorer, added 16 and nine assists.

After failing to reach double figures in his first eight games,
rookie Jeffery Taylor did it for the third straight game with a
season-high 16.

“For me, the coach is telling me to be aggressive on offense and
I’m trying to learn and pick my spots and play off the other
guys,” Taylor said.

Charlotte, however, shot just 37.3 percent from the field and
allowed the Hawks to make 53.8 percent, including 11 of 22 from
3-point range.

The Bobcats surrendered 100 points to an opponent for the first
time in six games and failed to make more use of Atlanta’s 22
turnovers, scoring 19 points.

”We didn’t take enough advantage of those,” coach Mike Dunlap
said.

Washington also missed its chance to finally steal a win on
Wednesday night when Martell Webster appeared to score on a putback
as the buzzer sounded against Atlanta. The officials, though, ruled
the basket came too late, and the Wizards were saddled with a
101-100 defeat.

”We thought we had won,” Webster said.

Washington is the 13th team in NBA history to open a season with
10 straight losses, but still has a way to go to match the 2009-10
New Jersey Nets for the worst start in NBA history at 0-18.

The Wizards are having a tough time finding their way without
point guard John Wall, who remains out indefinitely after injuring
his left knee in September. They rank near the bottom of the NBA in
scoring (88.2) and field goal percentage (40.0 percent).

Washington, though, did get a boost with Nene’s return on
Wednesday. The center, who missed the first nine games with a left
foot injury, came off the bench to score 12 points.

Kevin Seraphin made the most of his first start of the season,
finishing with 21 points and 10 rebounds. Trevor Ariza had 12
points and 15 rebounds to help the Wizards gain a 58-37 advantage
on the boards.

Washington had been outrebounded in each of its previous seven
contests.

“It is hard right now,” Nene told the team’s official website.
“The game (against the Hawks) proved we can do it. We just need to
stick together.”

The Wizards had won five straight against the Bobcats before
losing 92-76 in Charlotte on Nov. 13. Sessions led four Bobcats in
double figures with 21 points.

Charlotte held Washington to just 29.8-percent shooting, and
Ariza was the only Wizard to finish in double figures with 19
points.