A recent skid is hurting the Charlotte Bobcats' chances of remaining a serious contender in the Eastern Conference playoff race.
The Bobcats look to avoid their fourth consecutive loss when they visit the lowly Memphis Grizzlies on Monday night.
Charlotte (24-42) lost 98-91 at Cleveland on Sunday to fall to 1-3 on its season-high six-game road trip that concludes at Indiana on Wednesday night. The loss left the Bobcats 4 1/2 games back of the eighth and final playoff spot in the weak East.
Despite its poor record, Charlotte was able to make a playoff push in a conference that boasts just six teams above .500 after winning five in row to open March. The Bobcats, however, haven't won since then and are in danger of missing the postseason for the fourth straight season since entering the NBA.
"We haven't played as well over the last three games as we did during the winning streak," Bobcats swingman Matt Carroll said. "I can't pinpoint anything, but I don't think we're playing as well as we were in the winning streak."
Scoring appears to be the likely problem for Charlotte, which is shooting 43.4 percent and averaging 88.0 points in its last three contests. The Bobcats shot 46.4 percent and averaged 109.0 points during their run.
"We just haven't had the same point production, the guys are still playing hard and playing well enough to get a win, we're just coming up a little bit short," Charlotte rookie coach Sam Vincent said.
Jason Richardson continued to do his part, scoring 33 points on 13-for-24 shooting Sunday, but the Bobcats went scoreless the final 1:08 of the game after cutting the Cavaliers' lead to a point.
"We've played a lot of real close, real tough games, and this team has really grown and matured and we're doing a lot of good things," Vincent said. "When we turn the corner, we'll be able to win those close games."
Richardson, who averages 21.0 points, is averaging 27.3 in his last nine contests. He had 38 points and 14 rebounds in the Bobcats' 105-87 home win over Memphis on Jan. 19 for the franchise's first victory in seven games all-time against the Grizzlies.
The Bobcats, who are 6-25 on the road in 2007-08, are 0-3 all-time at Memphis.
The Grizzlies (15-50) return home looking to snap a four-game losing streak after falling 110-107 at Golden State on Saturday for their 17th consecutive road loss.
Hakim Warrick had 23 points, while Rudy Gay and Juan Carlos Navarro each added 20 for Memphis, which shot 46.0 percent for the game and outscored the Warriors 41-30 in the fourth quarter. Navarro, a rookie, had 21 points in the Grizzlies' loss to Charlotte in January.
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