The Toronto Raptors are one of the top offensive teams in the NBA, but they've had trouble stopping opponents during a disappointing start to the season.
While a matchup with one of the lowest-scoring teams in the league seems like a good chance for the Toronto defense to get on track, the Charlotte Bobcats appear to have overcome some of their offensive woes.
The Raptors hope to be able to slow down a Bobcats team coming off its best offensive performance of the season as the clubs meet Wednesday night in Charlotte.
Toronto (7-8) ranks among league scoring leaders with 107.4 points per game, but it's also giving up 108.1 - one of the highest marks in the NBA. The Raptors overcame another rough defensive outing Tuesday night by shooting 55.8 percent from the field in a 123-112 win over Indiana.
Jose Calderon had a season-high 21 points to lead seven Toronto players in double figures. Chris Bosh had 16 points, 12 rebounds, four assists and four blocked shots but went 5 for 19 from the field.
"I don't consider this a bad game," said Bosh, a 49.0 percent shooter on the season. "If we had lost it would have been a bad game."
While the offense was enough to carry the Raptors against the Pacers, the team knows it will need better defensive outings to start winning consistently. They've scored effectively with 105.9 points per game in their eight losses, but they're allowing 117.4 in those contests.
A meeting with the Bobcats (4-9) might look like a good opportunity for the Raptors' defense to turn things around, considering Charlotte has scored 85.3 points per game - more than only winless New Jersey. But the Bobcats have shot 50.0 percent from the field or better in three of their last four games, and they recorded a season-high point total in their last outing, a 104-88 rout of Indiana on Sunday.
Nazr Mohammed led Charlotte with 18 points while going 8 of 10 from the field, and Stephen Jackson added 10 points, seven rebounds and four assists in his home debut for the Bobcats.
Charlotte acquired Jackson from Golden State on Nov. 16 with hopes the versatile forward could help spark its offense. The team went winless in his first three games to extend its losing streak to seven before Sunday's victory.
"It feels good to finally be here," said Jackson, averaging 17.8 points, 6.3 rebounds and 3.3 assists with the Bobcats. "To come in and kind of get a feel for this arena and the fans. The good thing about it was my first game was a win."
Jackson scored 24.5 points with 7.0 rebounds and 6.5 assists in two meetings with Toronto last season, while playing for Golden State.
The Raptors have won six of nine road games against the Bobcats, but they lost their last trip to Charlotte 112-86 on March 16. Gerald Wallace had 25 points, nine rebounds, five assists and three steals for the Bobcats, who shot 49.4 percent from the field.
Wallace has averaged 26.0 points, 8.7 rebounds and 5.0 assists while shooting 54.3 percent in his last three against the Raptors.
Bosh had 18 points and 14 boards in that last trip to Charlotte. He has averaged 25.7 points and 9.9 rebounds while shooting 52.1 percent in 15 career games against the Bobcats.