Bobcats-Hawks Preview

The Associated Press

While the Charlotte Bobcats have shown significant improvement this season, there weren't many positives to take away from their last game.

Things aren't about to get much easier with another matchup against the surging Atlanta Hawks up next.

The Bobcats conclude a three-game trek looking to bounce back from their worst loss in franchise history Wednesday night against the Hawks, who've had their way in this series of late - especially at home.

After matching its win total from all of last season with Saturday's 108-106 double-overtime victory at Washington, Charlotte (7-6) never had a chance in Monday's 114-69 loss at Oklahoma City. The Bobcats, who shot 29.1 percent and were outrebounded 54-37, trailed 64-24 at halftime - the fifth-largest halftime deficit in the NBA's shot clock era.

"We struggled to hit shots, we struggled to get good shots, we got beat on the boards. We got beat in all facets of the game," center Brendan Haywood said. "In a game like this tonight, you just basically say they beat us in every which way possible and you bounce back and you learn from the film."

Kemba Walker was held without a point for the first time in his career, going 0 for 6 from the field. Ramon Sessions and Hakim Warrick scored a combined 13 on 2-of-17 shooting.

"There hasn't been any kind of damage control to be done on this game," coach Mike Dunlap said. "We kind of know that OKC is a test for us, we failed it miserably but there are other, better days ahead."

The Bobcats, who've lost nine of 10 at Philips Arena, could be hard pressed to get back on track Wednesday if their recent efforts against the Hawks (8-4) are any indication.

Atlanta has taken five straight from Charlotte, including the last four by an average of 21.7 points. The Hawks continued that dominance Friday as Al Horford posted season highs of 26 points and 13 rebounds in a 101-91 road win.

One night after beating the Bobcats, Atlanta extended its winning streak to five with a 104-93 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers. Zaza Pachulia had a season-high 19 points along with 12 rebounds while Jeff Teague scored 19 and dished out 11 assists.

"I think we've just played well, I don't think there's anything in particular," Horford said of the winning streak. "We still have some work to do as a team and we can get better, but I feel like we've done a good job defensively."

In addition to superb defense - they're allowing 92.1 points per game to rank near the top of the league - the Hawks have benefited from Teague's impressive play. The fourth-year point guard is averaging a career-best 7.3 assists - significantly better than last season's mark of 4.9.

"Jeff has been on a roll for us," Horford said. "I think that he's the one driving what we have going on right now with his energy and finding people. ... He's making the game easier for a lot of us."

The Hawks are averaging an impressive 19.0 fast break points during their winning streak.

"Our game is predicated on speed and quickness and athleticism, and one area where we are starting to show really good signs of improvement is our transition game," coach Larry Drew said. "I would like to see it even more consistent, but 12 games into the season I'm pretty pleased at where we are."

The Hawks haven't won six in a row since opening 6-0 in 2010-11.

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