NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Friday, January 11th (All times Eastern)
Charlotte Bobcats (9-25) at Toronto Raptors (13-22), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Toronto Raptors will look for two wins in a row on Friday night when they welcome the Charlotte Bobcats to the Air Canada Centre.
The Raptors waxed the Philadelphia 76ers in an Atlantic Division matchup Wednesday night, 90-72. The 72 points the Raptors held the Sixers to matched the lowest output for an opponent this season.
"It was a grinder," Raptors coach Dwane Casey said. "It was an Eastern- Conference grinder. (Philly) felt like just coming in and grinding it out and our guys did a good job short-handed and grinding it out."
Playing only eight guys due to injury, all five Raptors starters scored in double figures, led by 19 apiece from Amir Johnson and DeMar DeRozan. Johnson had a double-double with 12 boards, but, so too did Landry Fields (10 points, 11 rebounds) and Jose Calderon (14 points, 11 assists). Ed Davis had 17.
The Raptors have won four of their last six and nine of their past 12. Friday night's contest is the fifth on a six-game homestand, where the Raptors are 2-2. The stay at home ends Sunday afternoon when the Milwaukee Bucks come to town.
The Bobcats make the trip north for the first of three straight on the road. They've been better of late, going 2-2 over their last four and the two wins both came on the road. Charlotte is 4-11 away from home this season.
Their most recent setback came at home, a 112-102 setback Wednesday night to the Utah Jazz. Utah built a 19-point halftime led and cruised a bit in the second half, but still earned the victory.
Six Bobcats scored in double figures, with four of them coming off the bench. Ben Gordon paced the Bobcats with 20, followed by 14 apiece from Gerald Henderson and Ramon Sessions. Hakim Warrick chipped in 10 in a reserve role.
Rookie Michael Kidd-Gilchrist scored 15 and Kemba Walker netted 14. The other three starters - Tyrus Thomas, Bismack Biyombo and Jeff Taylor - combined for six points, and all six of those came from Taylor.
Aside from the scoring woes of the starters, what ailed the Bobcats on Wednesday has been a season-long problem - defense. Charlotte is last in the NBA in opponents' scoring, allowing a whopping 104 ppg.
"We have to pick up our defense," Henderson said "We just gave up too many points and it is tough to try to come back on a team like that."
The Bobcats are 27th in opponents' field-goal percentage and that statistic was bared out against the Jazz. Utah shot 54 percent from the field and 45.5 percent from long distance.
The Bobcats have won 10 of the last 13 meetings with the Raptors and are 4-2 in their last six at Toronto.
01/11 10:31:33 ET