Bobcats-Mavericks Preview

The acquisition of Stephen Jackson has improved the Charlotte

Bobcats significantly, but the versatile swingman hasn’t yet helped

the team end its road woes.

Getting that done could be even more difficult going into

Dallas.

The Bobcats look to avoid their 10th loss in 11 road games and

beat the Mavericks for the first time in franchise history Saturday

night.

Charlotte (9-12) has won six of nine after dropping its previous

seven, and the turnaround is largely due to the Nov. 16 trade that

brought Jackson from Golden State.

The Bobcats were last in the league in scoring with 82.4 points

per game before the move, but they’ve averaged 95.7 with Jackson,

who’s scoring 18.5 per game with his new club.

Though he’s had a big impact, Jackson hasn’t been able to turn

around the Bobcats’ road fortunes. They were 0-4 away from home

without him, and have gone 1-5 since his arrival.

Those struggles continued with a 104-85 loss at San Antonio on

Friday. Jackson scored 23 points and Charlotte pulled within one at

the end of the third quarter after trailing by as much as 22, but

the Bobcats were outscored 32-14 while allowing the Spurs to shoot

71 percent in the fourth.

“We didn’t get to the free-throw line and we took some bad

shots,” coach Larry Brown said. “We had a great comeback and we did

some great things. We also did some unfortunate things.”

Ending those struggles on the road could be doubly difficult

against the Mavericks, who have won their first 10 meetings with

the Bobcats by an average of 11.6 points.

Dallas (16-7) won 100-83 in Charlotte in the teams’ first

matchup last season, but the Bobcats stayed close in a 95-90 defeat

in Dallas on Dec. 11, 2008 – their narrowest margin of defeat in

the history of the series.

The Mavericks pulled away late in that game, with Jason Terry

scoring 11 of his 26 points in the fourth quarter and Dirk Nowitzki

making a key 3-pointer with less than 30 seconds remaining.

Nowitzki, who finished that game with 23 points, 13 rebounds and

five assists, is averaging 25.0 points and 10.0 rebounds in his

career against the Bobcats. He’s led Dallas in scoring in seven of

the 10 meetings.

Nowitzki had a team-high 25 points in a 106-93 win at Miami on

Friday, and Erick Dampier added a season-high 20 and 17

rebounds.

“When you double-team, you’re going to give up something,” said

Dampier, who had totaled six points over his previous three games.

“They double-teamed Dirk tonight and it gave guys open shots or hit

me for easy shots around the basket.”

The Mavericks are 7-3 at home, where Nowitzki is averaging 30.8

points. Only Denver’s Carmelo Anthony scores more points per game

at home with 31.5.

Jackson averaged 22.7 points, 5.0 rebounds and 6.0 assists while

shooting 48.9 percent from the field in three games against the

Mavericks while with the Warriors last season.