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.