A visit from the worst club in the Western Conference to open a key homestand may be what the Charlotte Bobcats need to boost their sagging playoff push.
The Bobcats look for their sixth straight win at Time Warner Cable Arena on Wednesday night against the Timberwolves, who will try to avoid losing their 14th game in a row.
After falling at Atlanta and Miami, the Bobcats (36-34) salvaged the final game of their trip Tuesday with a 95-86 overtime victory against Washington while setting a new single-season franchise record for wins.
Now one-half game ahead of Toronto for seventh in the Eastern Conference, Charlotte will look to improve its 25-8 home record with a relatively soft upcoming schedule that also features matchups with Washington, Toronto and Philadelphia.
The Bobcats, though, are not underestimating the Timberwolves (14-57), who are 5-31 on the road.
“That doesn’t mean anything,” Wallace said. “… We have to take care of the teams whose confidence is low. We have to jump out on them early.”
That is what Charlotte did on Feb. 10 in Minnesota by building a 21-point first-half lead. However, the Bobcats needed a game-winning dunk by Nazr Mohammed(notes) in the closing seconds to pull out a 93-92 victory.
Stephen Jackson(notes) scored 33 points in the win, and revealed Tuesday he has a hand injury that has bothered him for nearly four weeks - a possible contributing factor to his shooting 10-of-40 from the floor over the last two games.
“I keep getting hit and the ligament is really bruised,” he said. “It’s not broken or anything, but every time I slap down on the balls, it’s just excruciating pain that I can’t shake, but I’ve got to find a way to get through it.”
Jackson averages a team-high 20.7 points per game, but scored 16 against the Wizards. He missed a potential game-winning jumper at the end of regulation and failed to score in overtime.
While the Bobcats are trying to secure the six-year-old franchise’s first playoff berth, Minnesota is looking for its first victory since Feb. 23. The Timberwolves matched a season-high with their ninth straight home defeat, 106-100 to Toronto on Monday.
Minnesota trailed by one at halftime but allowed 60 second-half points.
“Our half-court defense let us down in the second half,” said coach Kurt Rambis, whose team is surrendering 113.6 points per game during its skid.
Forward Al Jefferson(notes), who led Minnesota with 22 points, had 19 with 10 rebounds against the Bobcats last month. He also had a career-high six blocks in the Timberwolves’ last visit to Charlotte - a 100-90 defeat on Dec. 1, 2008.
Minnesota has lost five of its last six against Charlotte.