Timberwolves-Bobcats Preview

The Charlotte Bobcats’ success at home last season helped them
earn their first playoff berth in franchise history. This season,
the Bobcats are the NBA’s only remaining team without a victory
there.

Charlotte will try to end that drought and avoid matching its
longest home losing streak in team history by adding to its recent
dominance of the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday night.

The Bobcats broke their franchise record for home wins in
2009-10 by going 31-10 there en route to a 44-38 finish, good for
seventh in the Eastern Conference.

This season, Charlotte (3-7) is 0-4 there but once again
narrowly missed getting that first victory while also being denied
a three-game winning streak.

Nazr Mohammed gave the Bobcats a three-point lead with 58
seconds left as part of a 22-point, 20-rebound performance. The
Jazz, though, scored the final four points, including Deron
Williams’ short jumper with 0.8 to go, in a 96-95 win.

Charlotte has dropped its four home games by a combined 11
points and is on the verge of losing six in a row at home for the
first time since Jan. 13-Feb. 1, 2006.

The Bobcats’ current slide at Time Warner Cable Arena began
April 14.

“It’s something that we’re going to learn from,” guard D.J.
Augustin told the team’s website. “We’ve got to stick together, get
better and rally up.”

A matchup with the Timberwolves (3-8) could help the Bobcats
begin that rally. Minnesota has lost six of seven in the series,
including both of last season’s meetings, and is 1-5 all-time in
Charlotte.

The Timberwolves have also dropped 43 of 49 on the road but did
win Wednesday night at Sacramento. They followed that with a home
victory over New York but could not extend their win streak Sunday
in Atlanta.

However there were a couple of positives from that 111-105
defeat, namely the continuing impressive performances from Kevin
Love and Michael Beasley.

Love had 22 points and 17 rebounds after registering career
highs of 31 points and 31 boards in the win over New York. Beasley,
in his first season in Minnesota, is averaging 34.0 points in his
last three games and scored a team-best 25 against the Hawks
despite being in foul trouble.

Love, pulling down a league-best 14.6 rebounds per game, has
averaged 19.7 points and 18.1 boards while recording double-doubles
in five of six games.

However, Beasley, Love and guard Sebastian Telfair also combined
for 15 of their team’s 21 turnovers Sunday.

“There were so many little things we were doing wrong,” coach
Kurt Rambis said. “Guys aren’t consistently doing the right things.
… Guys are going to find ways to contribute and we have to
continue to get better so we don’t let those little things come
back and haunt us.”

Rambis’ club dressed only 10 players Sunday and could be
shorthanded again in this game. Center Nikola Pekovic sat out with
an sprained left ankle against the Hawks, and guard Wayne Ellington
has not played in the past four contests because of a bruised left
thigh.

Thanks to its home dominance over Minnesota, Charlotte holds an
8-4 lead in the series.