Raptors-Bobcats Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated November 21, 2012
With four victories in their last five games, the Charlotte Bobcats have nearly matched their win total from 2011-12. They can already surpass last season's home win total on Wednesday night when the struggling Toronto Raptors try to avoid a fourth consecutive road loss in this series. Since opening 1-3, the Bobcats have lost just once, 94-87 to Memphis on Saturday when they opened a four-game homestand. Charlotte (5-4) surely wasn't expected to challenge for a playoff spot after finishing 7-59 last season and with the worst winning percentage at league history at .106, but there's no telling how successful rookie coach Mike Dunlap's team can be if it continues to play stout defense and win close games. After ranking 27th last season with 100.9 points allowed per game, the Bobcats are holding teams to 99.0. They've limited their last five opponents to 98 or fewer - the team's longest such stretch since an eight-game run Oct. 30-Nov. 13, 2010 - after rallying from 11 down in the fourth quarter of Monday's 102-98 victory over Milwaukee. The Bobcats improved to 4-2 at home and 4-0 in games decided by four or fewer points. "They compete every night and they're not going to roll over," said Bucks swingman Mike Dunleavy. "When you do that in this league you're going to win more than seven games. They're going to blow that mark away this year obviously. They're headed in the right direction.'' With a victory on Wednesday, the Bobcats will move past last season's home win total. Charlotte lost its last 14 there in 2011-12 following a 107-103 victory over the Raptors on March 17. Exactly one month earlier, the Bobcats snapped a 16-game skid with a 98-91 victory at Toronto. The Raptors (3-8) arrive in Charlotte following Tuesday's 106-98 loss at Philadelphia. Point guard Kyle Lowry had 13 points, seven rebounds, seven assists off the bench after missing six games with a foot injury, but Toronto was outscored 33-18 in the fourth quarter to fall to 1-5 on the road. "We had control of the game and we've got to make basketball plays,'' said coach Dwane Casey, whose team is off to its worst 11-game start since opening 2-9 two years ago. The Raptors have to get better on the defensive end. They're yielding 100.4 points per game - 101.5 on the road - and opponents are shooting 40.0 percent from 3-point range after the 76ers hit 9 in 24 attempts. Bobcats guards Kemba Walker and Ramon Sessions haven't been a big threat from beyond the arc, hitting a combined 9 for 44, but they're averaging 20.2 and 17.2 points, respectively, during the 4-1 run. Rookie Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is scoring 13.8 points per game with 7.8 rebounds during this stretch, while Byron Mullens is adding 13.0 points and a team-best 10.6 boards per game. DeMar DeRozan and Andrea Bargnani totaled 46 points on Tuesday when the Raptors opened a stretch of 10 of 12 on the road. The two combined for 50 points in a 92-87 home win April 3 that ended a six-game slide in this series. All of Toronto's victories have come on the second night of back-to-backs. The Raptors dropped 16 of 20 such games last season.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Kevin Love responds to Draymond Green’s ‘annihilation’ trash talk

Spike Lee deletes Instagram post saying Kaepernick signed with Seattle

Errol Spence is the real deal, takes down Kell Brook

Indians reveal Frank Robinson statue at Progressive Field

Report: Jerry West considered rejoining the Lakers before they hired Magic Johnson

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

The NHL is thinking about hosting an outdoor game in Nashville

Michael Vick in talks to retire with Falcons

Hall of Fame pitcher and former U.S. Senator Jim Bunning passes away at 85

Roger Goodell to speak at Rams event, tickets start at $550

Ohio State hails itself as the ‘fastest team in college football’

Get a look at Shia LeBeouf as John McEnroe in Borg/McEnroe movie trailer

Journey to the Stanley Cup Final: Pittsburgh Penguins

Best of Yardbarker: Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines

The 'More like Whiffer, Texas Ranger...amirite?' quiz

The Rewind: Vince Carter's graduation day celebration that wasn't

Manu Ginobili gave life to the San Antonio Spurs

Stanley Cup Final: A David vs. Goliath matchup that's not as lopsided as it may appear

Why the Indianapolis 500 is called 'the greatest spectacle in racing'

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Box Score 5/26: Bring on the Finals

Why wait? Our too soon Cavaliers-Warriors NBA Finals preview

Kicking It: East is East, and West is West

Three Up, Three Down: Some surprises way out (NL) West

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Journey to the Stanley Cup Final: Pittsburgh Penguins

Best of Yardbarker: Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines

The 'More like Whiffer, Texas Ranger...amirite?' quiz

Stanley Cup Final: A David vs. Goliath matchup that's not as lopsided as it may appear

Manu Ginobili gave life to the San Antonio Spurs

The Rewind: Vince Carter's graduation day celebration that wasn't

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Kicking It: East is East, and West is West

Three Up, Three Down: Some surprises way out (NL) West

The 'Let's go to the videotape!' quiz

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker