Pistons at Bobcats Game Preview - Feb. 20, 2013
Regular Season Game #56The Detroit Pistons had their longest winning streak of the season snapped by the Charlotte Bobcats last month.
The Pistons are hoping for a better result - and their first set of back-to-back road wins in nearly 11 months - on Wednesday night when they face the league-worst Bobcats in Charlotte.
After winning the previous five games in this series by an average of 14.0 points, Detroit (21-34) lost 108-101 in overtime on Jan. 6. The Pistons were going for their first five-game overall winning streak run since Dec. 4-12, 2009.
Detroit, 6-18 on the road, last won two straight outside Auburn Hills on March 26 and 28.
The Pistons will try to change that after finishing a 1-2 homestand with Tuesday's 105-91 loss to Memphis in its first game out of the All-Star break.
"It was a very, very disappointing effort, other than the initial start (leading 30-22 after 12 minutes)," coach Lawrence Frank said. The Bobcats (13-40), meanwhile, are looking to build off a 105-92 victory at Orlando on Tuesday in their first game of the second half. Charlotte scored a season-best 63 first-half points and has now won two of three after dropping 15 of 17.
"We're getting traction," said coach Mike Dunlap, whose team last had two consecutive victories on Nov. 19 and 21. "It proves that all the close games that we have played, some won, some lost, (and) we're improving still. And our young guys, you can see how much they're improving."
Charlotte 7-footer Byron Mullens is playing some of the best ball of his career following a 19-game absence with a sprained left ankle. He is averaging 18.1 points and 9.1 rebounds in the last seven contests after totaling 20 and 12 on Tuesday.
"I told the guys earlier today that there are 30 games left and we could still make the playoffs," Mullens said. "We can all put our heads down and just ride it out, or we can just fight for it."
The Bobcats open their three-game homestand with two victories in their last three at Time Warner Cable Arena. Charlotte had dropped its previous 16 as the home team, three shy of tying an NBA mark.
Pistons center Greg Monroe was two games shy of matching the team's longest double-double streak (10) in 17 seasons, but he finished with nine points and six rebounds on Tuesday. Starting a new streak could be a challenge as he'll face Bismack Biyombo, who grabbed a career-best 17 boards last month at Detroit.
Jose Calderon will face the Bobcats for the first time in a Pistons uniform. The Spanish point guard, who totaled 22 points and 10 assists in two games against Charlotte earlier this season while with Toronto, is averaging 14.3 points and 7.0 assists in seven games since being acquired by Detroit.
Bobcats point guard Kemba Walker, the team leader with 17.3 points per game and 5.6 assists, finished with 20 points and seven assists in last month's win and forced overtime with a layup with 7.8 seconds left in regulation. Walker and Tyrus Thomas combined for 10 of the team's 12 overtime points as Charlotte won its first game in this series since Feb. 2, 2011, at Detroit.
The Pistons have won three in a row at Charlotte.