The Charlotte Bobcats appear much improved on the heels of their historically woeful season.
The Washington Wizards, meanwhile, are currently stuck in their own forgettable futility.
Two teams headed in different directions meet Saturday night when the host Wizards look to end their worst start in franchise history against the surprising Bobcats.
Charlotte knows a little something about epic struggles, having finished with the worst winning percentage in NBA history after going 7-59 last season.
That seems long ago these days, with the Bobcats (6-5) matching their best start in their nine-year history. They have a chance to equal their entire win total from last season with a victory over Washington (0-10).
The Bobcats had won five of six before Friday night’s 101-91 loss to visiting Atlanta.
After failing to reach double figures in his first eight games, rookie Jeffery Taylor did it for the third straight game with a season-high 16.
“For me, the coach is telling me to be aggressive on offense and I’m trying to learn and pick my spots and play off the other guys,” Taylor said.
Charlotte, however, shot just 37.3 percent from the field and allowed the Hawks to make 53.8 percent, including 11 of 22 from 3-point range.
The Bobcats surrendered 100 points to an opponent for the first time in six games and failed to make more use of Atlanta’s 22 turnovers, scoring 19 points.
“We didn’t take enough advantage of those,” coach Mike Dunlap said.
Washington also missed its chance to finally steal a win on Wednesday night when Martell Webster appeared to score on a putback as the buzzer sounded against Atlanta. The officials, though, ruled the basket came too late, and the Wizards were saddled with a 101-100 defeat.
“We thought we had won,” Webster said.
Washington is the 13th team in NBA history to open a season with 10 straight losses, but still has a way to go to match the 2009-10 New Jersey Nets for the worst start in NBA history at 0-18.
The Wizards are having a tough time finding their way without point guard John Wall who remains out indefinitely after injuring his left knee in September. They rank near the bottom of the NBA in scoring (88.2) and field goal percentage (40.0 percent).
Washington, though, did get a boost with Nene’s return on Wednesday. The center, who missed the first nine games with a left foot injury, came off the bench to score 12 points.
Kevin Seraphin made the most of his first start of the season, finishing with 21 points and 10 rebounds. Trevor Ariza had 12 points and 15 rebounds to help the Wizards gain a 58-37 advantage on the boards.
Washington had been outrebounded in each of its previous seven contests.
“It is hard right now,” Nene told the team’s official website. “The game (against the Hawks) proved we can do it. We just need to stick together.”
The Wizards had won five straight against the Bobcats before losing 92-76 in Charlotte on Nov. 13. Sessions led four Bobcats in double figures with 21 points.
Charlotte held Washington to just 29.8-percent shooting, and Ariza was the only Wizard to finish in double figures with 19 points.