Still holding on to hope of reaching the postseason for the first time, the Bobcats look for a third straight victory overall and fourth in a row against the Clippers on Saturday night at Staples Center.
Charlotte (24-35) won 112-109 at Golden State on Friday to improve to 2-2 on a five-game western road swing. The Bobcats won 98-91 at Sacramento on Wednesday after opening the trip with losses at Houston and Phoenix.
Though the Bobcats are 13th in the crowded Eastern Conference, they are only three games out of the eighth and final playoff spot.
“That’s all we’re going for now right now,” Charlotte’s Boris Diaw said. “That’s what we were playing for every night is trying to get closer to that eighth spot.”
The Bobcats are still in playoff contention despite an 8-20 record away from home. They have not won three in a row on the road since winning four straight from March 26-April 4. Charlotte had only one winning road trip last season.
Another road win for the Bobcats doesn’t seem much of a stretch with Los Angeles standing in the way. The Clippers (15-44) have lost four of their last six games and fell 94-73 at Charlotte on Feb. 9. Charlotte shot 52.0 percent while Los Angeles matched its lowest-scoring total of the season in that contest.
The Bobcats also swept the series last season while posting a 107-100 win at Los Angeles on Jan. 28, 2008.
Raymond Felton had 26 points and Diaw added 22 on Friday for Charlotte, which overcame a five-point fourth quarter deficit and took the lead for good on Diaw’s 3-pointer with 2.9 seconds left.
Diaw is averaging 15.2 points in 36 games since being traded from Phoenix and 24.0 in his last three overall.
Emeka Okafor had 15 points and 11 rebounds as the Bobcats shot 54.1 percent. He had 19 and 16 boards against the Clippers earlier this month and is averaging 19.3 points and 13.6 rebounds in his last three contests versus Los Angeles.
The Clippers were denied a third straight victory with Friday’s 98-86 home loss to Sacramento. Steve Novak and Baron Davis scored 13 points and Zach Randolph had 11 for the Clippers, who shot 38 percent against the team with the NBA’s worst record.
Los Angeles, which has been plagued by injuries all season, is expected to be without rookie Eric Gordon—averaging 15.1 points—for a second straight game because of a bruised shoulder.
“(Friday was) one of those games where we miss Eric Gordon,” Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy said. “He is a very athletic guy that can attack off the dribble. He was getting close to 25 points before he got hurt.”
Instead, the Clippers will likely need a better offensive night from Randolph, who went 5-for-15 in Friday’s loss. Averaging 22.0 points in 24 games since being traded from New York, Randolph had totaled 57 points and 23 rebounds in his previous two contests.
Randolph had 20 points and 10 rebounds against Charlotte this month.