Hawks-Bobcats Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated January 22, 2013
The injury-plagued Atlanta Hawks remain in position for a playoff berth halfway through the season but would love to snap out of their funk on the road. A visit to Charlotte would appear an ideal way to end those woes, but the Hawks don't plan on overlooking the Bobcats even though they've lost 15 straight at home. While trying to snap a six-game road losing streak, Atlanta will seek an eighth consecutive win in the series and fourth in a row in Charlotte on Wednesday night. Atlanta (23-18) is sixth in the Eastern Conference but 3-8 in its last 11 games, and a short-handed backcourt has hardly helped. Lou Williams (knee) is out for the season, and Devin Harris (ankle), DeShawn Stevenson (knee) and Anthony Morrow (back) also sat out Monday's 104-96 home win against Minnesota. Al Horford helped make up for those absences with a season-high 28 points and 10 rebounds, and Jannero Pargo, signed to a 10-day contract earlier in the day, scored 16 points. Pargo averaged 5.6 points in 50 games for the Hawks (23-18) in 2011-12 and 3.0 in seven with Washington earlier this season. "It's a relief to be able to have a guy like that," Horford said. "He was a great teammate last (season), and I'm happy to have him back." With Pargo's help, Atlanta will try to avoid its longest road losing streak since Jan. 27-Feb. 20, 2008, by adding to its recent dominance over Charlotte (10-31). The Hawks have won this season's three meetings by an average of 12.0 points and shot 57.3 percent in a 113-90 home victory Dec. 13. They also shot 53.8 percent in a 101-91 win in Charlotte on Nov. 23. Horford had 26 points and 13 rebounds in that game, and he's averaging a team-best 18.0 points on 61.0 percent shooting in the three matchups. This time, Horford will face a team that's already set a franchise record for consecutive home losses and is four shy of matching the league's longest such skid, set by Dallas in 1993-94. "Our guys have to know that they've lost 15 straight at home and they're starving for a win," Hawks assistant coach Lester Conner said. "They almost had one (Monday) night against Houston. I'm sure they feel they should have beaten us twice. "We've got to go up there and keep playing our team ball. Hopefully, we can get out of Charlotte with a victory and don't worry about them until next year." The Bobcats have lost their past two home games by a combined 10 points and had a seven-point lead entering the fourth quarter in a 100-94 defeat to the Rockets. Kemba Walker had a career-high 35 points and went 6 of 7 from 3-point range. "It's tough," Walker said. "We're trying our hardest to win these games, but it's just not working out right now. Hopefully, things will work out for us. "It gets tough in the fourth quarter. Teams adjust to what we've been doing. You have to execute. I thought we got some pretty good shots and just missed them." Walker, averaging 17.9 points in his second season, has shot 35.6 percent in the three games against Atlanta but has still produced 14.7 points per matchup. Ramon Sessions, who scored 19 on Monday, is averaging a team-best 18.7 points versus the Hawks this season.
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