The Chicago Bulls have struggled on the road this season. A visit to Charlotte might help matters for at least one night.
The Bulls look to reach the .500 mark for the first time in a month while trying to deal the short-handed Bobcats an eighth consecutive loss on Tuesday.
Chicago (11-12) won 113-104 over New Jersey at home on Saturday for its third victory in four games. The only loss during that span for the Bulls, who look to even their record for the first time since they were 5-5 on Nov. 15, came at Memphis on Friday.
The Bulls are 3-9 on the road, where they have dropped their last two and are averaging 95.3 points - four fewer than their overall season average.
“Consistent play by our guys is going to determine how far we get this season,” Chicago guard Ben Gordon said.
Chicago, though, has won two in a row at Charlotte and four of the last five overall between the teams.
The Bobcats (7-18) fell 83-79 at Atlanta on Monday and look to avoid matching their longest losing streak since Feb. 24-March 10, 2007. They’ll be without leading scorer Gerald Wallace, who left the team Tuesday after his father’s death.
Ben Gordon scored 29 points and Derrick Rose 22 on Saturday for Chicago, which outscored the Nets 38-24 in the fourth quarter.
Gordon is averaging a team-leading 20.9 points per game and 23.0 in his last five contests while shooting 49.4 percent during that span.
Rose, meanwhile, continues to draw raves around the NBA. The rookie and Chicago native is averaging 18.2 points, 6.3 assists and 4.0 rebounds per game.
“He’s a solid player,” New Jersey guard Devin Harris said. “He reminds me a lot of myself. I think he is going to be a great player.”
First-year Chicago coach Vinny Del Negro would like to see another strong effort from his bench. Tyrus Thomas scored 16 points and Joakim Noah added seven and eight rebounds as the Bulls’ reserves outscored New Jersey’s 37-12.
“When they have games like this there is no question they’re difference makers and they can help you win a game,” Del Negro said.
It’s uncertain if Thomas will be available Tuesday after hyperextending his neck versus the Nets.
It might not matter against Charlotte, which shot 38.8 percent for the game and scored 11 fourth-quarter points against the Hawks.
“We’ve lost a lot of games like this, in the fourth quarter,” said Bobcats coach Larry Brown of the NBA’s lowest scoring team at 89.2 points per game. “We’ve played well enough defensively to win the game. We just can’t find ways to get the ball in the basket.”
Boris Diaw scored 25 points in his second game since being traded from Phoenix in a deal that sent Jason Richardson to the Suns last week. The 6-foot-8 Diaw, who averaged 8.3 points with Phoenix, had seven in a 90-86 loss to Detroit on Saturday in his Charlotte debut.
Wallace scored 21 points while Emeka Okafor had 21 and 16 rebounds in the Bobcats’ 90-77 win at Chicago on Jan. 25 in the teams’ most recent meeting.