Warriors-Bobcats Preview

Stephen Jackson was deemed a team detriment prior to being

traded by the Golden State Warriors. On the Charlotte Bobcats, he’s

perhaps been their most valuable player.

With the Bobcats on the fringe of playoff position, Jackson has

yet another big game Saturday night when he faces his former

Warriors teammates.

Jackson was known to lose his cool with Golden State (17-44). In

September, he was fined $25,000 by the NBA for going public with

his trade demand, then was suspended for two preseason games by the

Warriors for what the club termed “conduct detrimental to the

team.”

The veteran swingman eventually got wish, getting dealt along

with Acie Law to Charlotte (29-31) in exchange for Raja Bell and

Vladimir Radmanovic on Nov. 16. While the Warriors have been one of

the league’s worst teams for the second straight season, the

Bobcats have a chance to make the postseason for the first time in

their history.

Charlotte got a big confidence boost Friday night, getting 21

points from Jackson in a 98-83 win over the Los Angeles Lakers. The

Bobcats snapped a two-game skid to move within one game of Miami

for the eighth playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

Jackson is averaging a team-high 21.6 points and 1.9 steals. He

had 30 points in the Bobcats’ 121-110 victory over the Warriors on

Jan. 29, Jackson’s first visit to Oracle Arena since the trade.

Since then, Michael Jordan has agreed to buy the Bobcats and he

was watching courtside as Charlotte beat the Lakers for the seventh

time in their last nine meetings.

“Those top teams bring out the best and they bring out big

crowds,” Bobcats forward Gerald Wallace said. “Come to a New Jersey

game and we probably have 500 people.”

After losing five of its previous six, Charlotte tweaked its

rotation. Coach Larry Brown used center Tyson Chandler for the

fourth time since Christmas, and little-used rookie Gerald

Henderson got significant minutes.

Brown said before the game that Chandler wouldn’t play, but the

center dressed and entered the contest midway through the first

quarter. He had missed seven straight games with a left foot injury

that has plagued him all season.

Chandler had six points and four rebounds in 15 minutes,

providing frontcourt help with Nazr Mohammed out with back spasms.

Mohammed has missed six straight games, but Brown said he could

return next week.

Injuries have left Golden State’s frontcourt severely

short-handed. Radmanovic (Achilles’) is among the injured Warriors

big men.

Golden State was outrebounded 47-39 in a 127-122 loss at Atlanta

on Friday night. A loss to the Bobcats would give the Warriors 10

straight road defeats for the first time since Jan. 1-Feb. 7,

2005.

Golden State, without leading scorer Monta Ellis (back), has

lost three straight overall. Ellis isn’t expected to play again

until next week.

Corey Maggette, though, faced the Hawks after missing five

straight games with a strained hamstring, giving the Warriors nine

healthy players. Maggette, averaging 20.2 points, had 18 on 6-of-12

shooting.

Stephen Curry bounced back from a poor effort to total 31 points

and 11 assists in Friday’s loss. Curry, a contender for Rookie of

the Year, was held to nine points in a 117-90 loss to Orlando on

Wednesday night.

Curry had 22 points, nine assists and three steals in the first

matchup with the Bobcats. Still, Charlotte has won three of four

between the teams, shooting 51.3 percent (39 for 76) from 3-point

range during that span.