Bobcats-Kings Preview

The Associated Press

As one of the lowest-scoring teams in the NBA, the Charlotte Bobcats rely on defensive stops to win.

They'll try to get back to doing so Saturday night at Sacramento as they look to snap a five-game losing streak while salvaging a win on this five-game trip.

"Our team is thinking too much about offense, we have individual guys who need to build their games around their defense and they're worried about their offense," coach Steve Clifford said. "We're not built that way.

"We're not going to be outscoring people. If we're not going to commit to defense and rebounding, then we're limited in how good we can be."

The Bobcats (14-20) have allowed 107.2 points during the current skid and are coming off their worst defensive effort of the season, a 134-104 loss at Portland on Thursday. The Trail Blazers shot 58.1 percent, including 21 of 33 from 3-point range, as Charlotte set a franchise record for 3-pointers allowed in a game.

The Bobcats were also outrebounded 52-30 for their worst rebounding total of the season.

"I don't feel we were ready to play," guard Chris Douglas-Roberts said. "They're too good not to come out and give a 100 percent effort. We kind of have to do some soul-searching and turn this thing around."

Douglas-Roberts led the Bobcats with 20 points off the bench, but leading scorer Kemba Walker was held to six points and 2-of-10 shooting.

The Bobcats are making 42.0 percent from the field on the season, lowest in the league, and they've shot below 40.0 in three of the last four games.

Walker has connected on 29.7 percent in the last five. Charlotte is 4-14 when he shoots 40.0 percent or worse and 10-6 when he's above the mark.

Sacramento (10-21) has been a poor defensive team all season, with a field-goal percentage defense mark of 47.2 that's among the worst in the NBA.

The Kings lost 113-104 at home to Philadelphia on Thursday and have allowed at least 100 points in eight straight, giving up 111.6 per game in that span.

Center DeMarcus Cousins scored a game-high 33 points with 14 rebounds, but the Kings are now 0-3 in his three highest-scoring games this season. He's averaged 33.7 points in those contests.

Reserve guard Jimmer Fredette added a season-high 15 points.

The Kings turned the ball over 23 times, two nights after giving it away only 13 times a 110-106 victory at Houston. Sacramento, which hasn't won consecutive games since Dec. 7 and 9, opened a five-game homestand by dropping to 6-12 at Sleep Train Arena.

"It's a setback, but we've just got to keep moving forward," Fredette said. "We still have four home games on this homestand. We just need to come out to play and try to get the next one. It's disappointing. We have to play better, and we need more energy."

The Bobcats beat the Kings 95-87 on Dec. 17 in Charlotte, holding Sacramento to 37.5 percent shooting to start a three-game winning streak. Walker scored 24 points while Cousins had 30 and 17 rebounds.

Sacramento won both games in the 2012-13 season series.

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