A disappointing road trip may have put an end to the Charlotte Bobcats' already slim playoff hopes.

The Bobcats return home looking to avoid their sixth straight loss when they host the lowly Miami Heat on Saturday night.

Charlotte (24-44) lost 102-95 at Indiana on Wednesday for its fifth loss in a row to finish 1-5 on its season-high road swing. Thanks to the poor finish on the trip, the Bobcats are five games out of the final playoff spot in the weak Eastern Conference with 14 games remaining.

Charlotte opened March with five straight victories and was just 2 1/2 games out of the last playoff spot after opening the recent road stretch with a 100-97 victory over Washington for its most recent win on March 8.

"We've already stopped talking about the playoffs because we don't want to be looking all the way down to such a big picture,'' Charlotte rookie coach Sam Vincent said. "We're trying to go into every game, play hard and see where that takes us.''

The Bobcats suffered another close defeat Wednesday. Leading by seven at the half, Charlotte went nearly nine minutes without a field goal in the second half and was outscored 19-4 during that span.

It was the third time in five games the Bobcats lost by fewer than 10 points.

"It's very frustrating, but it's a script we've seen a lot,'' Vincent said. "We've had a lot of close games and we don't come up with the win.''

Jason Richardson had 20 points with 10 rebounds and eight assists on Wednesday for Charlotte. He bounced back after being held to eight points on 4-for-18 shooting in a 98-80 loss at Memphis on Monday.

Posting a team-leading 20.8 points per contest, Richardson is averaging 19.0 on 51.2-percent shooting in three games versus Miami this season.

The Bobcats won the first two of those contests against Miami and look to take a series from the Heat for the first time in the franchise's four-year history. Miami, though, won 110-90 at home over the Bobcats on Nov. 27 in the teams' most recent meeting.

The Heat (12-56) lost 103-86 to Washington on Friday for their second straight loss and 10th in 11 contests.

Playing on a 10-day contract, reserve Bobby Jones had 15 points as the Heat played without Shawn Marion for a second straight game due to back spasms. Miami coach Pat Riley also missed the contest and isn't expected to be there Saturday as he continues scouting the NCAA tournament.

Following the game, the Heat chose not to re-sign Jones.

Despite the loss, Miami shot 46.3 percent and had a much better showing after shooting 25.6 percent in a 96-54 loss at Toronto on Wednesday.

Of the 11 players who saw minutes in the Heat's November victory over Charlotte, only six remain on the active roster for Miami, owner of the NBA's worst record.

Already decimated by the losses of Dwyane Wade, Dorell Wright and Alonzo Mourning to season-ending knee injuries, the Heat took another hit when starting forward Udonis Haslem underwent ankle surgery on Friday to end his season.


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