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News » Bobcats-Pistons Preview 2009-04-05


Bobcats-Pistons Preview 2009-04-05


Bobcats-Pistons Preview 2009-04-05
The Charlotte Bobcats hoped this would be the season in which they'd have a chance to reach the playoffs for the first time in franchise history.

They probably didn't think they'd be competing for a spot with the once-mighty Detroit Pistons.

But the reeling Pistons need a home win over Charlotte on Sunday to feel safe about their chances of an eighth consecutive postseason berth, otherwise the Bobcats would pull within a game of eighth-place Detroit with five to play.

After seven straight 50-win seasons and six consecutive trips to at least the Eastern Conference finals, the crumbling Pistons are facing the prospect of missing the playoffs altogether. With its aging roster in turmoil and impending free agent Allen Iverson out for the season, Detroit likely faces a major makeover in the near future.

But the Pistons (36-40) would like one more shot in the postseason with their current group - something that may not happen if they continue their current pace. They've dropped six of eight and nine of 12, finishing an 0-3 road trip with a 95-90 loss at Philadelphia on Saturday.

That dropped Detroit to eighth in the East, shaving its cushion over the ninth-place Bobcats to two games, although the Pistons would likely hold the tiebreaker regardless of Sunday's outcome.

"(Sunday)'s game is even more important than this one," Detroit guard Richard Hamilton said Saturday. "We definitely need to get a win."

Still, the Pistons need to improve their performance after struggling against the 76ers. They shot 37.0 percent from the field and blew a 12-point second-quarter lead, as banged-up veterans Hamilton and Rasheed Wallace shot a combined 9-of-29 (31.0 percent).

Injuries and an inability to score have plagued Detroit throughout the second half of the season. The Pistons are 9-16 since the All-Star break, averaging 93.4 points with Hamilton, Wallace and Iverson all missing time.

Iverson was shut down for the season with a back injury on Friday after complaining about his limited minutes earlier in the week.

Charlotte also may be slowed after top defender Raja Bell strained his calf in Friday's 97-92 loss to Miami. The injury was initially thought to be more serious, but Bell is day-to-day and uncertain for Sunday's game.

"It hurts because you lose one of your primary defenders, a guy that was doing a great job on (Dwyane) Wade, and a guy that can give you some offense," Charlotte guard Raymond Felton said.

The Bobcats (34-42) had won six of eight to get themselves back in the race, but they'd be in even better position had they not suffered back-to-back heartbreaking losses in their last two games.

After Wednesday's 111-109 double-overtime loss at Boston, Charlotte missed a late chance to tie it against the Heat. The Bobcats now play five of their last six on the road, where they're 12-24 this season.

"We've got to regroup now and guys have to step up and we have to finish the season out strong," Bobcats forward Gerald Wallace. "We still have an opportunity, but it's like we're in a seven-game series and we're already down 0-3. We can't afford another loss."

Wallace and his teammates will try to make the road team 4-0 this season in the Pistons-Bobcats series.

The last meeting was Charlotte's 80-78 win at the Palace on Jan. 13. Felton's jumper in the closing seconds ended his team's six-game losing streak against Detroit.


Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: April 5, 2009

 

 
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