The Charlotte Bobcats haven’t enjoyed much of a home-court advantage in recent years. But more recently, visits to Charlotte have proven to be much more difficult.
Charlotte tries to match its second-longest home winning streak in team history Monday night when it hosts the Denver Nuggets.
The Bobcats (29-34) were 4-29 at home in 2011-12 and 15-26 last year for a .257 winning percentage that ranked last in the NBA over that span. This season, they’re 17-14 and have won six straight.
Charlotte last won seven in a row at home from March 5-26, 2010, en route to the franchise’s only playoff appearance. The Bobcats recorded their longest home winning streak in team history earlier that season, winning nine straight from Dec. 22, 2009-Jan. 20, 2010.
They have scored 101 or more points in four of their last six home games, matching their total through their first 25 games in Charlotte. The Bobcats, who average 5.9 3-pointers, have made at least eight in five of those six wins while shooting 38.9 percent from beyond the arc.
The Bobcats will likely be happy to return home Monday after playing four of their last six away from home, including a gauntlet through San Antonio, Oklahoma City and Miami. They’re currently three games behind Brooklyn for the East’s sixth seed and two games ahead of eighth-place Atlanta.
Charlotte lost 111-89 at Memphis on Saturday, going 5 of 21 from beyond the arc and allowing a season-worst 60 points in the paint. The Bobcats have been one of the league’s best protecting the lane, holding opponents to 38.4 points per game in the paint.
"We lacked the energy that we needed," coach Steve Clifford said. "The second thing would be the physicality to play them. They have bruising in there, and if you aren’t ready to fight in the paint, you’re going to be in trouble."
Kemba Walker was limited to 11 points on 3-of-13 shooting, though he’s averaging 19.0 points and 10.2 assists during the team’s six-game home streak. Al Jefferson was also held in check, finishing with 17 points on 7-of-17 shooting after averaging 31.3 points and shooting 67.5 percent over his previous four games.
Jefferson is scoring 26.7 points per game during Charlotte’s run at home. He helped the Bobcats end a four-game series skid Jan. 29 with 35 points and 11 rebounds in a 101-98 win at Denver.
Walker didn’t play due to a sprained left ankle, while Nuggets counterpart Ty Lawson was sidelined with a strained rotator cuff.
The Nuggets (27-35) opened their five-game road trip unsuccessfully Sunday with a 111-107 overtime loss in New Orleans. Denver led by as many as 13 in the second half after shooting 60.0 percent over the first 24 minutes.
"We let them get back in the game," said Kenneth Faried, who had 22 points and 10 rebounds. He’s averaging 22.8 and 10.8 over his last four games while shooting 69.8 percent, though he was just 3 for 11 with six points versus Charlotte.
"It’s something about us and this team this year," Faried said. "We don’t have that killer instinct quite yet."
Lawson scored 15 while going 3 of 12 from the field, including 0 for 3 from long distance. He averaged 27.0 points while going 10 of 16 from 3-point range in his first three games since returning from a fractured rib.
Denver has lost seven of eight away from home, with opponents averaging 112.4 points on 50.1 percent shooting.