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News » Bobcats-Wizards Preview

Bobcats-Wizards Preview

Bobcats-Wizards Preview
The Charlotte Bobcats were outplayed nearly across the board in their last game. A meeting with the Washington Wizards seems like a good formula for bouncing back.

The Bobcats look to rebound from an ugly loss and record the first four-game season series sweep of any team in franchise history by continuing their recent dominance over the Wizards when the Southeast Division rivals meet Wednesday night in Washington.

Charlotte (31-39) lost to Indiana 108-83 at home Saturday night, suffering its most lopsided defeat since falling 111-81 at Cleveland on Jan. 7. The Bobcats shot 42.0 percent from the field, missed 10 of 13 3-point attempts and went just 12-for-25 (48.0 percent) from the free-throw line in having a three-game winning streak snapped.

"It was an off night from our standpoint and an on night for them," said Bobcats forward Gerald Wallace, held to three points and 1-for-4 shooting while committing four turnovers in 25-plus minutes. "It's just one of those nights in the NBA. In an 82-game season, you're bound to have one of these games throughout the season."

The Bobcats are in ninth place in the Eastern Conference, but they're one of a handful of teams still within striking distance of eighth-place Chicago.

"We've just got to pick ourselves back up," Wallace said. "We can't hold our heads down. We've still got something to accomplish, so we have to come back out Monday and Tuesday, practice hard and get ready for the end of the stretch."

The Bobcats have to like their chances of bouncing back against the Wizards (16-56). Charlotte has won the last four meetings, including the first three this season by an average of 7.7 points. It's in position to finish a four-game season series sweep for the first time since it began play as an expansion franchise in 2004-05.

Washington, the only East team with fewer than 25 victories, has dropped 12 of 14 and five straight. The Wizards nearly snapped their skid Monday night, but couldn't overcome a 33-20 scoring deficit in the third quarter of a 101-99 loss to Chicago.

"I don't know what the lack of urgency is in the third quarter," interim coach Ed Tapscott said. "It has plagued us all season long, and it has caused us losses all season long."

The Wizards would likely fare better if two of their star players weren't injured. Caron Butler hasn't played since March 13 because of a left hamstring injury and isn't expected to return for another week or more. Gilbert Arenas hasn't played yet this season because he's recovering from knee surgery.

Arenas made headlines this week when he sent a text message to Comcast SportsNet that said, "I'm playing Saturday against Detroit." The three-time All-Star later backed off that comment, and Tapscott could only say that it's a "possibility" that Arenas will play.

While Arenas' status for Saturday is murky, it seems clear the mercurial combo guard will not play Wednesday.

That will likely leave the pressure to carry the Washington offense on Antawn Jamison, who's averaging a team-high 22.2 points and shooting 46.4 percent this season. Jamison, however, has been held to 16.7 points and 36.0 percent shooting against Charlotte.

Bobcats center Emeka Okafor has averaged 18.0 points and 12.3 rebounds while shooting 62.1 percent in three wins over the Wizards.

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: March 25, 2009


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