Timberwolves-Bobcats Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated January 26, 2013
The Charlotte Bobcats are nearing an NBA record for ineptitude with 16 straight home losses. The Minnesota Timberwolves have dropped 10 of 11 on the road, including six in a row. One of those streaks will come to an end Saturday night when the Bobcats host the Timberwolves. Charlotte owns the league's worst overall record at 10-32 after losing its last three games, but most concerning has been the team's play at home. The Bobcats haven't won a game at Time Warner Cable Arena since Nov. 21, when they improved to 5-2 on their own court. Three more consecutive defeats at home would tie the NBA record set by Dallas during the 1993-94 season. "It's bad because you want to win in front of the fans," said Ramon Sessions, who scored a season-high 27 points in a 104-92 home loss to Atlanta on Wednesday. "... We just have to get it together here at home. We just have to get ready and try to play good for 48 minutes." Ben Gordon scored 15 points off the bench against the Hawks, but aside from that, Sessions didn't receive much help offensively. Kemba Walker had only 11 on 4-of-11 shooting with five turnovers, two days after scoring a career-high 35 against Houston. Coach Mike Dunlap said he's keeping his emotions in check for the sake of what the Bobcats are trying to build. "The frustration is high," Dunlap said Wednesday. "When you're in charge, and I'm in charge, that frustration has to be handled the right way. ... We're doing certain things here and unfortunately we're going to have nights like this." Poor defense and a growing injury list have been the main culprits for the Timberwolves (17-23) as they've lost eight of nine. Minnesota's defense didn't show any signs of improvement Friday in a 114-101 loss at Washington. The Wizards, who average 91.5 points on 42.1 percent shooting, shot 57.8 percent from the floor. "You can't just give them all the credit for their shooting," Luke Ridnour told the league's official website. "They did shoot the ball well, but we didn't play good defense." It was nothing new for the Timberwolves, who are allowing 100.8 points per game on 50.3 percent shooting in their last nine games. They've allowed 104 or more six times over that span. Ricky Rubio had another rough night Friday with four points on 1-of-8 shooting along with six assists and five turnovers. He apologized to acting coach Terry Porter because of an outburst over the team's loss to Brooklyn on Wednesday, when Rubio sat on the bench for the final minutes of a 91-83 defeat. "I don't think it was ever really an issue," said Porter, who is filling in while Rick Adelman tends to his sick wife. "He was frustrated like any player would be who wants to be playing the fourth quarter." Injuries forced the Timberwolves to play Friday without Kevin Love, Brandon Roy, Malcolm Lee, Chase Budinger, Nikola Pekovic and Alexey Shved. Pekovic (quad contusion) and Shved (sprained ankle) should return soon, but didn't travel on this two-game road trip. Charlotte has won nine of the last 12 meetings, including an 89-87 victory Nov. 14 behind Walker's 22 points. Andrei Kirilenko scored a season-high 26 on 9-of-12 shooting for Minnesota in the loss.
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