Bobcats-Hornets Preview

The Associated Press

The New Orleans Hornets haven't had the chance to experience too many winning streaks during their difficult season.

The Hornets, though, have an excellent shot at one when they host the woeful Charlotte Bobcats on Monday night.

New Orleans (10-31) has won two or more in a row only twice this season, but has the chance for one of those rare streaks following a 95-89 victory in Minnesota on Saturday.

The Hornets had 28 assists - their second-highest total this season - while snapping a four-game skid. Chris Kaman led the way with 20 points - New Orleans is 5-0 when he hits that number - while Jarrett Jack had 17 points and a team-high seven assists.

"We're in no position to look at any win as anything other than a jewel,'' coach Monty Williams said. "To come out and win on the road after a back-to-back says a lot about our young guys. We needed it, but we need them all."

Williams' team will try to sustain that momentum against the Bobcats (5-34), owners of the league's the worst record and losers of three in a row.

Charlotte suffered its first two defeats during that skid by single digits before a 122-95 drubbing at Oklahoma City on Saturday.

Looking for a positive, Bobcats coach Paul Silas pointed to a first quarter his team ended trailing by only three points. Charlotte, however, was outscored 30-15 over the next 12.

"I think if our first unit continues to play like that against most teams, that are not this good, then we will be (leading) like we were in the first quarter," Silas said.

Corey Maggette had 21 points and is averaging 23.6 over the past five games, but perhaps the most encouraging sign was D.J. Augustin's play. Augustin had a team-high 22 points, an effort the Bobcats hope is a sign of things to come after he averaged 8.8 on 33.0 percent shooting over his first 10 games back from an inflamed toe.

There's certainly plenty of room for Charlotte to improve on the road. The Bobcats have been outscored by an average of 17.3 points while going 2-19 away from home, and they've dropped their last four by an average of 26.8.

Charlotte, which hasn't faced New Orleans this season, is 1-6 in road games against that franchise and has dropped 10 of the past 13 overall matchups.

The Bobcats averaged 77.0 points in two losses to New Orleans in 2010-11, their fewest against any opponent. They scored 31 second-half points in an 89-73 loss in Louisiana on Dec. 1, 2010.

The Hornets are seeking their third win in five home games after losing 14 of their first 16, and Kaman will try to help by continuing his solid play against Charlotte. The New Orleans big man has averaged 16.0 points and 11.8 rebounds in his last four matchups with the Bobcats.

Augustin, meanwhile, has averaged 15.2 points on 53.6 percent shooting in six all-time meetings with the Hornets. Only his 15.3-point average against Cleveland is better.

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