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Pistons-Bobcats Preview

Dec 21, 2009 - 8:32 PM By MATT BEARDMORE STATS Writer

Detroit (11-16) at Charlotte (10-16), 7:00 p.m. EDT

Even without three of his top players, Detroit Pistons first-year coach John Kuester remains confident in his team.

Facing a Charlotte Bobcats club that could be without two of its top threats could help Kuester's Pistons break out of their recent slump.

Detroit tries to snap a four-game slide with its fifth consecutive victory in Charlotte on Tuesday night.

With Richard Hamilton, Ben Gordon and Tayshaun Prince watching from the bench, the Pistons (11-16) lost 93-81 to the visiting Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday.

Hamilton, who has played in three games this season, missed the last three with a right hamstring injury. Gordon sat out the last seven with a sprained left ankle and Prince has been sidelined since Oct. 31 with a back injury.

"I thought we were going to beat them," Kuester said of the Lakers. "I believe in the guys we have dressed."

With Hamilton and Gordon questionable for Tuesday, the Pistons will look for continued production in their backcourt from third-year guard Rodney Stuckey, who is averaging career highs of 19.7 points and 4.4 assists.

Stuckey had 16 points and seven assists in a 98-75 win over the visiting Bobcats on Nov. 11, when Detroit shot 55.6 percent from the floor. Forward Charlie Villanueva went 13 of 17 and scored a season-high 30 points while Gordon had 22, a season-high eight assists and no turnovers.

Hamilton was sidelined with a right ankle injury.

While Detroit is trying to snap a three-game road slide, Charlotte (10-16) lost for the third straight time Sunday, 98-94 at New York.

Gerald Wallace, averaging 17.7 points and 12.1 rebounds, did not play due to a severe headache. Wallace led Charlotte with 22 points and nine boards in Detroit's last visit to Time Warner Cable Arena, a 90-86 Bobcats loss last Dec. 13.

Stephen Jackson scored 10 points Sunday before leaving in the third quarter with lower back spasms. He is averaging 19.1 points and 4.6 boards since being acquired from Golden State on Nov. 16.

"You know we're about as short-handed as you could be when you considered Boris (Diaw)'s foul trouble and then no Gerald, no Stephen," said Bobcats coach Larry Brown, whose team has dropped five of six. "We had a chance to win. We just came up short."

If Wallace or Jackson can't go, Charlotte will face an even stiffer test against a Pistons club that held nine of its last 11 opponents to fewer than 100 points. The Bobcats are among the league's lowest-scoring teams at 91.3 points a game.

Point guard Raymond Felton scored 27 points with a season-high nine rebounds and seven assists Sunday.

Detroit has won four straight in Charlotte and eight of the last nine meetings overall.

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