Detroit (23-16) at Charlotte (14-26)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Charlotte, NC
Temp: 70° F
  • Game info: 7:00 pm EST Wed Jan 24, 2007
  • TV: FSD, N14
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Detroit Pistons appear to have put a rough stretch behind them. They know better than to relax, though, with a matchup against the lowly Charlotte Bobcats up next.

The teams meet Wednesday night at Charlotte Bobcats Arena as the Pistons try to extend their first winning streak in nearly a month.

After losing four of five and eight of 11 from Dec. 27-Jan. 17, Detroit (23-16) has responded by winning its last two contests, including Saturday’s 91-74 victory over Sacramento. The Pistons hadn’t won consecutive games since a five-game run from Dec. 16-26.

The Pistons look to carry the momentum over as they face the Bobcats (14-26), who have handled Detroit so far this season.

Charlotte has taken two of three meetings in 2006-07, including an 103-96 victory Jan. 10 at The Palace. The Bobcats, owners of one of the worst records in the Eastern Conference, had six players score in double figures in that game and held Detroit to 41.5 percent shooting.

“I don’t care if we’re playing a high school team,” Pistons guard Flip Murray said after the loss. “We have to play hard.”

Detroit also fell 97-89 on Dec. 3 in Charlotte, when the Bobcats limited the Pistons to 40.7 percent from the field. Detroit’s lone win was a 104-95 victory Nov. 24 at The Palace.

The Pistons will go into Wednesday’s matchup having had three days off following the rout of the Kings. Detroit put the game away early Saturday, holding Sacramento to 12 points in the first quarter and building a 48-34 halftime lead.

A 13-0 run to end the third quarter gave the Pistons a 75-49 lead, and most of Detroit’s starters got to rest during the lopsided victory.

“It’s definitely nice to be able to come out and put a team away,” said guard Chauncey Billups, who played 26 minutes and finished with five points and four assists. “We came out and took care of business early and got some rest.”

Billups, who scored 26 and 25 points in his previous two games, will be playing his fourth game since being sidelined the previous eight with a straight right calf. He missed the last matchup against Charlotte.

The Bobcats are coming off a 105-84 loss to Toronto on Monday, as they failed to earn their second three-game winning streak in less than two weeks.

Charlotte shot 58 percent in the first half and trailed by three entering the break, but the Raptors outscored the Bobcats 21-8 in the third, holding Charlotte to 4-of-18 shooting.

“We got it handed to us tonight. It is that simple,” said coach Bernie Bickerstaff, whose team has won five of eight. “The zone (defense) kind of threw us out of character.”

Gerald Wallace scored 15 of his 19 points in the first half and finished with nine rebounds, while Raymond Felton, who had missed two games with an ankle injury, added 19 points and eight assists.

“It’s a situation where we couldn’t hit any shots,” Felton said. “You hate when it happens and have a loss like that, but at the same time, we have too many games left that we have to put it behind us because we play again on Wednesday.”

After facing the Pistons, Charlotte plays seven of its next 10 on the road, including three straight beginning Friday against the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Bobcats are 8-13 at home, but five of the eight victories have come against teams with winning records.

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Wednesday, Jan 24