(Sports Network) - Charlotte hopes a return to the Queen City will get its playoff chances back on the right track. After a disastrous 0-4 road trip the Bobcats will kick off a three-game homestand Monday against the Los Angeles Clippers. Charlotte is still just one game behind Indiana for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference since the Pacers have also stumbled in the past week.
Most recently the Bobcats fell in Portland when LaMarcus Aldridge scored 26 points on Saturday as the Trail Blazers cruised to an easy 93-69 victory over Charlotte, beating the Bobcats for a fourth straight time. As expected, Charlotte was without leading scorer Stephen Jackson, who aggravated a left hamstring injury in Friday's loss against the Los Angeles Lakers. Portland feasted in Jackson's absence -- the 69 points, while not a season-low for the Bobcats, represented a season-low for a Blazers opponent.
"When you're missing your best scorer, it's going to be hard to put the ball in the basket," said Charlotte head coach Paul Silas. Gerald Henderson had 16 points to lead the Bobcats. D.J. Augustin added 14 points in the loss and D.J. White scored 12 off the bench. The Clippers, who start a five-game road trip tonight, earned their second straight win on Saturday when Eric Bledsoe scored 20 points off the bench and Blake Griffin finished one assist shy of his first triple-double, leading Los Angeles to a 100-94 victory over the Denver Nuggets at Staples Center.
"I just tried to play my minutes," said Bledsoe. "I just tried to shoot the ball when I was open and be aggressive." Griffin had 18 points, 12 rebounds and a career-high nine assists as the Clippers won for the second time in a row on the heels of a five-game losing streak. Clippers leading scorer Eric Gordon, in just his second game back after missing 18, re-injured his right wrist after being fouled by Timofey Mozgov with 5:08 left in the second quarter. Gordon, who couldn't take his foul shots, said afterward that nothing was broken.
"It's aggravated," he said. "It's going to take some time." Jackson will likely miss his second straight game for Charlotte while Gordon has been shut down indefinitely by LA. The Clips, who are a dismal 5-25 on the road this season, will also visit Boston, New Jersey, Washington and Memphis on their trek.
LA has won two of its past three meetings with the Bobcats, including a 103-88 win in Hollywood back on Jan, 29. The Clippers will be attempting to sweep the home-and-home season series for the first time since 2006-07. Charlotte, meanwhile, will be trying to avoid its first five-game skid since a seven-game slide from Nov. 7-20, 2009.
For more information on tonight's game, be sure to read Clips Nation.