Despite some recent injuries, Charlotte’s spirited play has interim coach Paul Silas excited about his team’s potential when healthy.
The Bobcats are expected to get one of their injured stars back Saturday night as they try for a fifth consecutive home win over the Washington Wizards, the NBA’s only remaining winless road team.
Without starters Stephen Jackson(notes) (knee), Gerald Wallace(notes) (ankle) and Nazr Mohammed(notes) (knee), Charlotte (12-21) won 108-105 in overtime at Minnesota on Wednesday, improving to 3-2 since Silas replaced the fired Larry Brown.
“It’s still going to take us some time, but I liked the fact that we did not give up,” Silas said. “When I get all of my team back, if they fight the way these guys have been fighting, we have a chance to be pretty good.”
Silas and the Bobcats expect to have Jackson back Saturday after a one-game absence. The veteran swingman has averaged 25.0 points his last five contests overall, and 27.3 on 54.5 percent shooting in his last four home games against Washington - two while with Golden State.
It’s uncertain if Wallace, who has missed seven of the last nine games, or Mohammed will return for this contest.
Regardless of who is on the floor, Jackson credits Silas’s presence for getting the team to play hard.
The Bobcats averaged 91.8 points in 28 games under Brown, but are averaging 98.2 since Silas came out of retirement.
“Everyone’s confidence is high right now,” Jackson told the Bobcats’ official website. “We give the thanks to coach for that and sometimes change will do that.”
Augustin went 4 of 17 from the field against the Timberwolves, but has averaged 19.8 points on 48.5 percent shooting in Silas’ up-tempo system. He’s averaging 8.6 in 10 games against Washington and could face a stiff challenge against Wizards rookie John Wall(notes).
The teams split their first two meetings this season, both in the nation’s capital. Wall had 13 points and 11 assists in a 93-85 loss to the Bobcats on Nov. 12. Tendinitis in his knee kept the No. 1 overall draft pick out of the Wizards’ 108-75 victory Dec. 20.
Wall was held to five points but had nine assists in a 97-77 home win over New Jersey on Friday as Washington (9-25) snapped a three-game skid.
Now, the Wizards will try for their first road victory after 17 losses.
“If we play the way we are supposed to play and do the things we are supposed to do, we’re going to give ourselves a chance,” coach Flip Saunders said.
Washington has averaged 87.3 points during a four-game losing streak at Charlotte.