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NBA Preview from The Sports Network



Saturday, April 2nd (All times eastern)

Charlotte Bobcats (15-56) at Chicago Bulls (40-31), 8:30 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The red-hot Chicago Bulls attempt to extend their season- high winning streak to nine games, as they go welcome the Charlotte Bobcats tonight to the United Center.

The Bulls, who are closing in on clinching their first playoff berth since 1998, are No. 5 in the Eastern Conference. Chicago is just one game behind the Washington Wizards of the fourth spot.

This is the fourth and final meeting of the 2004-05 campaign between the clubs. The Bulls won the three previous contests by a total margin of 15 points.

Chicago, which defeated the Bobcats 102-99 on Wednesday at the Charlotte Coliseum, earned a hard-fought victory on Thursday against Central Division- rival Cleveland. Rookie Ben Gordon scored a team-high 21 points as the Bulls extended their winning streak to eight games by dispatching the Cavaliers, 102-90, in overtime at the United Center.

Antonio Davis netted 17 points in Thursday's victory for Chicago, while Tyson Chandler recorded his 15th double-double of the season as he finished with 15 points and 14 rebounds.

The Bulls eight-game winning streak is their longest since the 1997-98 season when they won 13 in a row from March 14, 1998 to April 7.

Chicago has scored over 100 points only 17 times this season.

Center Eddy Curry is doubtful for tonight's game and would miss his third straight contest if he is unable to play tonight for the Bulls. He did not play on Thursday because he was undergoing observation and treatment for an irregular heartbeat. The 22-year-old Curry, who is averaging a team-high 16.1 points and 5.4 rebounds per game this season.

Chicago is a solid 23-13 as the host this season. The Bulls have won four straight and are 7-3 in their last 10 at the United Center.

The expansion Bobcats have lost three straight games. On Friday, Chris Bosh scored 27 points and grabbed nine rebounds to lead the Toronto Raptors to a 119-107 win over Charlotte in a high-scoring affair at Charlotte Coliseum.

Rookie Emeka Okafor poured in 29 points and grabbed 14 rebounds in the loss to Toronto for the Bobcats, while guard Matt Carroll finished with 17 points in defeat.

Okafor, who leads the Bobcats in scoring (15.1 ppg) and rebounding (10.7 rpg), has registered three straight double-doubles and has 39 on the season. He is averaging 16.2 points and 10.1 boards in his last 10 games.

Charlotte is a dismal 3-31 as the visitor this season. The Bobcats won their last road game at Orlando on March 24th, but have still lost 12 of their last 14 away from home.

04/02 10:14:16 ET


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