Regular Season Series (Game 3 of 4)

Series starts 11/9

Game 1: Sunday, November 9th
Game 2: Wednesday, November 26th
Game 3: Monday, March 16th
Game 4: Friday, March 20th

Raptors 86

(24-44, 11-25 away)

Bobcats 112

(29-38, 19-16 home)

    Coverage: TSNT

    7:00 PM ET, March 16, 2009

    Time Warner Cable Arena, Charlotte, NC

    1 2 3 4 T
    TOR 22 21 29 1486
    CHA 27 30 32 23112

    Top Performers

    Tor: C. Bosh 18 Pts, 14 Reb, 1 Ast, 1 Blk

    Cha: G. Wallace 25 Pts, 9 Reb, 5 Ast, 3 Stl, 1 Blk

    Raptors-Bobcats Preview


    A week ago, the Charlotte Bobcats were one of the hottest teams in the league and inching closer to the Eastern Conference's final playoff spot. They're still within reach of a postseason berth but are suddenly mired in a funk.

    The Bobcats look to regain the poise they showed at the start of this month and avoid losing a fourth straight game Monday night when they host the Toronto Raptors, who are coming off their first win in nearly three weeks.

    On the heels of a franchise-best six-game winning streak, Charlotte (28-38) pulled into 10th in the East on March 7, just one game out of eighth place.

    The Bobcats, who have never been to the playoffs in their five-year history, are still only 1 1/2 games out of eighth but have dropped to 12th by losing three in a row.

    After dropping back-to-back games to Western Conference powers San Antonio and Houston, Charlotte had a lackluster performance against one of the league's worst teams Saturday and lost 108-100 to Minnesota after trailing by 15 at the half.

    The Bobcats shot 50.0 percent from the floor after averaging 86.0 points on 43.2 percent shooting in their previous two losses, but their defense allowed the Timberwolves to connect on 53.1 percent of their shots.

    "To come out as flat as we came out for a team that says they're trying to play for something is inexcusable," said Raja Bell, who scored 21 points.

    Emeka Okafor finished with only nine points and five rebounds Saturday and has been struggling during the skid. He's averaging 11.0 points and 6.0 boards in the last three games after averaging 16.5 points and 9.5 rebounds in the previous six.

    Gerald Wallace led Charlotte on Saturday with 26 points -- his highest-scoring game since finishing with 28 in a 98-76 win over Phoenix on Jan. 23.

    Toronto (24-43) has had plenty of its own struggles but defeated Indiana 110-87 on Sunday, snapping a seven-game losing streak with its most lopsided win of the season.

    The Raptors, who still have only five victories in their last 20 games, held the Pacers to 37.6 percent from the field after allowing opponents to average 111.4 points on 50.6 percent shooting during the skid.

    "We just needed to win," said Jose Calderon, who had 15 points and 12 assists Sunday. "We've been playing better the last couple of games and we couldn't finish. Today we played for 48 minutes and we have to keep working from here."

    Andrea Bargnani, who scored four points in nine minutes while being slowed by flu-like symptoms in Friday's 99-95 overtime loss to Detroit, looked healthy Sunday with a game-high 27 points on 9-of-11 shooting. He's averaged 14.5 points in two games against the Bobcats this season as the Raptors have has won both.

    Chris Bosh has carried Toronto's offense against Charlotte in those two wins, averaging 34.5 points on 69.2 percent shooting and 13.0 boards.

    The Raptors and Bobcats wrap up their season series Friday in Toronto.