Pistons vs Bobcats Game Preview - Mar. 31, 2012
The Charlotte Bobcats already have been eliminated from the playoff race and seem destined to post the worst record in franchise history.
Losing Corey Maggette probably won't help them avoid doing so.
The Bobcats will try to withstand Maggette's absence in order to end another long losing streak when they visit the Detroit Pistons on Saturday night.
Charlotte (7-42) needs eight victories in its remaining 17 regular-season games to avoid setting the mark for the worst record in team history. The Bobcats went 18-64 in their expansion season of 2004-05 for a .220 winning percentage.
Losing Maggette, the team leader with 15.3 points per game, for at least a week to a strained right Achilles doesn't bode well for their chances to avoid that dubious record. Charlotte is 1-19 this season in games he's missed.
Opening a four-game road trip may not help, either. The Bobcats are 3-22 as the visitor. They enter this matchup having lost six straight overall.
Maggette was hurt after scoring 19 points and grabbing six rebounds in Friday's 99-88 loss to Denver.
"I just hope he's OK," said swingman Gerald Henderson, who had 21 points. "Obviously, he's a huge part of what we're doing. Hopefully, it turns out all right for him."
With Maggette out, Kemba Walker may return to the starting lineup for the first time since Feb. 15. The rookie point guard had 20 points Wednesday against Minnesota but has mostly struggled since the All-Star break, averaging 10.1 points in 17 games and going 13 of 59 (22.0 percent) from 3-point range.
One of Walker's bad games in that span came at Detroit on Feb. 29, when he shot 2 for 8 overall and had six points in a 109-94 loss. These teams' other meeting this season was a 98-81 road win for the Pistons on Jan. 13.
Henderson could help pick up the scoring slack for Maggette, averaging 18.7 points over the last seven games.
While the Bobcats are the only team officially out of the postseason chase, the Pistons (18-33) may soon join them. They're 10th in the Eastern Conference but 7 1/2 games back of eighth-place New York with 15 to play.
Detroit has lost six of eight after falling 83-71 at Chicago on Friday, shooting 36.9 percent from the field and getting outrebounded 53-37.
The Pistons have had their own injury problems, as guards Rodney Stuckey (sore left hamstring) and Ben Gordon (sore right groin) are uncertain to return. Stuckey, the team leader with 16.1 points per game, has missed four of six games, while Gordon has sat out the last two.
Another game without that duo could mean a second straight start for Austin Daye, whose 11 points against the Bulls were his most since January.
Brandon Knight has scored 16 in each of the last two games after totaling 17 over the previous two. The eighth overall draft pick - one ahead of Walker - in last summer's NBA draft, Knight had 20 points versus the Bobcats in February.