Charlotte (9-16) at Atlanta (16-11)

Friday, Dec 17, 2010 Tipoff: 7:30 pm EST Fri Dec 17, 2010

Less than two months into the season, Larry Brown doesn’t seem pleased with the play of his Charlotte Bobcats.

Likely to be without one of their top players for a second straight game, the visiting Bobcats could have a tough time improving their coach’s mood while trying to avoid a seventh straight road loss to the Atlanta Hawks.

After making the playoffs for the first time in franchise history in 2009-10, the Bobcats (9-16) had high expectations this season. However, they have yet to play like a playoff-caliber team.

Brown’s displeasure came out after Charlotte dropped its seventh straight road game, 113-80 at Memphis on Wednesday.

“We didn’t play hard. We acted like we didn’t even care,” he said. “I had to get into them at halftime and beg them to play. That’s not what I’m supposed to be doing. There was no effort and no teamwork.”

The Bobcats have averaged 82.8 points while losing three of four.

“I get the feeling that I’m saying the same thing over and over again,” Brown told the Bobcats’ official website. “If we don’t realize what our problems are, then I don’t know what the answer is.”

Things could get tougher Friday when the Bobcats are expected to be without star Gerald Wallace(notes) (16.7 points and 8.1 rebounds per game) for a second straight contest with a sprained left ankle.

Even with Wallace, the Bobcats averaged 89.3 points during a six-game skid at Atlanta.

“We just have to try and get back and forget about (Wednesday’s loss),” Bobcats guard Shaun Livingston(notes) said.

Stephen Jackson(notes) (17.7 ppg) could pick up the slack. Though he’s averaged 12.8 points his last four games, Jackson has scored 22.2 per contest in his last five versus Atlanta.

Atlanta (16-11) has injury concerns of its own with star Joe Johnson(notes) (17.1 ppg) still out with an elbow injury and reigning sixth man of year Jamal Crawford(notes) (14.8) in danger of missing a second straight contest because of a sore back.

However, the Hawks have averaged 106.8 points on 49.6-percent shooting during a five-game home winning streak - all against sub-.500 teams.

Forward Al Horford(notes) has averaged 18.0 points and 11.6 rebounds during that stretch. However, he was held to eight with seven boards as the Hawks dropped their second straight game, 102-90 at Boston on Thursday.

Atlanta’s starting frontcourt of Horford, Josh Smith(notes) and Jason Collins(notes) hope for a better effort Friday after combining for nine points on 4-of-15 shooting against the Celtics.

Despite that lack of production, the Hawks shot 50.0 percent but could not prevent Boston from making 53 percent of its shots and scoring 50 points in the paint.

“(The Celtics) know how to win and it’s where we need to get to,” Horford said.

Marvin Williams(notes) scored a season-high 26 points as the Hawks fell to 5-4 without Johnson.

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Friday, Dec 17