NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Wednesday, February 19th (All times Eastern)
Detroit Pistons (22-31) at Charlotte Bobcats (24-30), 7 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - Al Jefferson was snubbed for the All-Star Game, but that won't stop him from trying to lead the Charlotte Bobcats to the playoffs.
The Bobcats have been to the postseason only once in franchise history back in 2009-10 and picked up Jefferson this past offseason in hopes of ending the drought.
Jefferson leads the Bobcats in points (20.3), rebounds (10.5) and blocked shots (1.2). He has scored 30 or more points in six of the last nine games and recorded 32 points on 15-of-28 shooting in Tuesday's 108-96 win over the Detroit Pistons in the opener of a home-and-home set.
Jefferson also grabbed 12 rebounds and handed out seven assists. He has scored 20 points or more in 15 of the last 17 contests, posting an average of 26.4 points and 11.5 rebounds in that time.
Kemba Walker scored 22 points, Josh McRoberts ended with 14 and 10 rebounds and both Gerald Henderson and Ramon Sessions netted 12 points for Charlotte, which set the tone with a 32-21 lead after the first quarter and has rotated wins and losses over the last seven games.
"I liked our readiness to start the game which really ended up being the difference. We ended up I think plus-11 after the first quarter and that ended up being pretty much the margin," said Bobcats coach Steve Clifford. "I thought our starters did a good job. When the guys off the bench came in the first half they did a good job also."
The Bobcats currently occupy the eighth and final postseason spot in the East standings -- 1 1/2 games ahead of the Pistons -- and will play the next three games at home versus Detroit, New Orleans and Memphis.
Charlotte has a 12-14 home mark this season. It is 14-3 when scoring 100-plus points this season and 6-1 at home when reaching the century mark.
Detroit completed a five-game homestand (2-3) with Tuesday's loss to the Bobcats, as Brandon Jennings led the hosts with 24 points. Andre Drummond was a force in defeat with 16 points and 22 rebounds, while Greg Monroe registered a double-double of his own with 18 and 10.
Kyle Singler scored 13 points and Josh Smith had 12 and 11 rebounds in the loss, Detroit's second in a row since winning three straight and eighth in the previous 13 games.
"We of course didn't have the same start we had our last two games. Our energy level didn't match theirs," said Pistons coach John Loyer, who took over for Maurice Cheeks before the break. "You come out and give a team however many they made in a row to start the game, confidence, energy; puts you in a hole."
The Pistons, who have a 10-14 road mark, will return to The Palace this weekend for three straight games versus Atlanta, Dallas and Golden State.
Detroit is 0-2 against Charlotte this season, but has still prevailed in eight of the last 11 meetings between the teams. The Pistons have won five straight at the Bobcats.
02/19 10:27:09 ET