Bobcats-Wizards Preview

The Associated PressMarch 9, 2013

With their second victory over the Washington Wizards, the Charlotte Bobcats matched last season's win total just 12 games into 2012-13.

Fifty games later, the league-worst Bobcats still haven't doubled that amount.

Charlotte will try to defeat an opponent three times in a season for the first time since 2010-11 on Saturday night in the nation's capital.

After going 7-59 and finishing with the worst winning percentage (.106) in league history last season, the Bobcats (13-49) improved to 7-5 on Nov. 24 when they defeated the host Wizards (19-41) 108-106 in double-overtime.

Charlotte snapped a five-game skid in this series 11 days earlier with a 92-76 home win.

Any good feelings or promise brought by the Bobcats' quick start are now long gone, as they've lost 44 of 50 since their last meeting with Washington.

Charlotte is carrying a nine-game skid into this contest after getting routed 116-94 by Oklahoma City on Friday. The last eight defeats have been by double-digit margins, and the Bobcats have allowed an average of 109.2 points on 52.1 percent shooting while being outrebounded by 11.3 per game overall during this slide.

The Bobcats, whose last two wins in 16 road games both came at Orlando, will now face a Wizards team that's won 11 of 15 at home.

Washington, though, has dropped four of five following back-to-back road losses - both played without rookie guard Bradley Beal, who is day-to-day with a sprained left ankle suffered in Sunday's 90-87 home win over Philadelphia.

Beal posted his first career double-double on Nov. 24 with 13 points and 10 rebounds.

The Wizards definitely could have used the athletic guard on the defensive end in a 95-78 loss to Brooklyn on Friday when they surrendered 11 3-pointers to Deron Williams, who hit nine of those in the opening 24 minutes - a league record for a half - when he equaled Washington's point total of 33.

The last player to equal or surpass an opponents' first-half total was Tracy McGrady on March 9, 2003, when he outscored Denver 37-32.

"It was just a hell of a shooting display," Wizards coach Randy Wittman said.

The Bobcats have seen a few of those lately, as their six opponents are averaging 11.2 3s.

Wizards point guard John Wall, 1 for 17 from beyond the arc this season, will get his first look at Charlotte this season after missing the November matchups with a knee injury.

Ramon Sessions led the Bobcats with 42 points in those games, but he's out 2-4 weeks with a with second degree MCL sprain in his left knee. Without Sessions, the team will have to keep an eye on leading scorer Kemba Walker's minutes. The second-year point guard played 31 minutes through three quarters on Friday before little-used Reggie Williams took over with the game out of reach.

"I know (Kemba is) dealing with heavier bodies (than in college at Connecticut) and a much longer season, but he's got great stamina," coach Mike Dunlap said. "We'll try and spell him as best as we can."

Walker is averaging 11.7 points on 29.1 percent shooting in the last five games since scoring 24 or more in four straight.

The Bobcats, who had two wins versus Toronto last season, had four victories against the Raptors and three against the Nets in 2010-11.