NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, April 5th (All times Eastern)
Charlotte Bobcats (38-38) at Cleveland Cavaliers (31-46), 7:30 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - Al Jefferson and the Charlotte Bobcats look to inch closer to a postseason spot when they pay a visit to the Cleveland Cavaliers Saturday at Quicken Loans Arena.
Charlotte is seventh in the Eastern Conference -- two games behind Washington and 5 1/2 in front of New York. The Knicks are in the ninth spot and have five games left on the season. The Bobcats have six.
The Bobcats made the playoffs once in franchise history back in 2009-10 (0-4) and will start a three-game road trip Saturday against Cleveland, Washington and Boston. They have a 15-22 record away from home and kept their winning ways intact with Friday's 91-80 victory over the Orlando Magic.
Jefferson poured in 29 points and grabbed 16 rebounds to lead the way and Kemba Walker ended with 13 points, 10 assists and 10 rebounds.
"It feels good," Walker said of the triple-double. "I played a complete game. I'm excited that we got the win. We're at .500 now and we're playing some good basketball. I hope we can keep it up."
Anthony Tolliver scored 13 points off the bench for Charlotte, which has won three straight and 11 of the last 16 games.
Jefferson is averaging 23.6 points and 11.4 rebounds in his last 13 games, and is the only player in the Eastern Conference posting at least 20.0 points and 10.0 rebounds this season.
Charlotte is 25-5 when scoring 100 or more points and fifth in the NBA in opponents' scoring (97.2 ppg). Opponents are shooting just 44.3 percent against the Bobcats' much-improved defense.
The Cavaliers have five games remaining on the schedule and are three games behind Atlanta for the eighth spot in the East. New York sits one game off the final postseason berth in the conference.
Cleveland had won two in a row and five of six games until Friday's 117-98 defeat at the hands of the playoff-hungry Hawks. Dion Waiters scored 23 points and Spencer Hawes had 16 points, 10 rebounds, six steals and four assists for the Cavs, who allowed Atlanta to shoot 59 percent from the field and make 13- of-29 3-pointers.
"You have to give Atlanta credit. They kicked our behind from the beginning to the end," said Cavs coach Mike Brown.
Kyrie Irving and Luol Deng scored 13 points apiece in defeat.
The Cavs will play two straight and four of the last five games at home and have a 17-20 mark as the host.
Charlotte is 3-0 against Cleveland this season and has never swept a season series against the Cavs. Cleveland is 22-12 all-time against the Bobcats, who are only 2-14 in 16 all-time trips to the Forest City.
04/05 10:30:47 ET