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News » Nets-Wizards Preview 2009-10-31

Nets-Wizards Preview 2009-10-31

Nets-Wizards Preview 2009-10-31The injury-plagued Washington Wizards were already missing one of their top players when they opened the regular season. Two games in, they might have lost another frontcourt star.

The Wizards hope Caron Butler can play in their home opener Saturday night, when they face a New Jersey Nets team that's won five of six road games in the series.

Washington (1-1) opened the season without two-time All-Star forward Antawn Jamison, who partially dislocated his right shoulder when he tried to block a shot against Cleveland in an Oct. 14 preseason game. He's expected to miss eight to 13 games.

Butler said Washington could hold down the fort without Jamison, but he might join his teammate on the bench Saturday after leaving Friday's 100-89 loss at Atlanta with a bruised left knee.

Butler, who averaged a career-best 20.8 points in 2008-09, has missed 58 games over the past three seasons due to a variety of injuries.

"Nothing came up as far as X-rays, but we'll know more tomorrow," said first-year Wizards coach Flip Saunders.

Gilbert Arenas, who played in 15 games over the last two seasons due to three surgeries on his left knee, hit three 3-pointers and scored 23 points Friday, but the Wizards were outscored 31-14 at the foul line by the Southeast Division rival Hawks.

"They got to the free throw line," Arenas said. "That's where the game was won."

Arenas has missed eight of the Wizards' last nine games against New Jersey (0-2), including all four last season when the road team won each matchup.

In his last home game versus the Nets, Arenas had 25 points, eight rebounds and five assists in a 105-93 overtime loss Nov. 12, 2006.

With Arenas out of the lineup, Washington lost its two home games against New Jersey in 2008-09 by an average of 18.5 points. Nets All-Star point guard Devin Harris averaged 19.5 points, 6.0 assists and 5.0 rebounds in those two victories.

Harris, who was drafted fifth overall by the Wizards in 2004 before getting sent to Dallas as part of the trade that landed Jamison in Washington, had 16 points, seven assists and five boards as the Nets fell 95-85 to Orlando on Friday night.

New Jersey trailed 50-44 at halftime, and the Magic pulled away with a 7-0 run in the opening 2:08 of the third quarter.

"We never got back from there," said Nets coach Lawrence Frank, whose team is now hoping to avoid its first 0-3 start since 1999-00.

Courtney Lee led New Jersey with 18 points Friday, but he shot 6 for 17 from the field. Lee, acquired from Orlando in the offseason, was 2 of 11 with five points in Wednesday's 95-93 loss at Minnesota.

Brook Lopez followed up his 27-point, 15-rebound effort against the Timberwolves with 11 and five versus the Magic.

He'll be matched up Saturday with Wizards center Brendan Haywood, who had 19 points and nine boards Friday.

Haywood missed all four meetings with New Jersey last season with a torn ligament in his right wrist that sidelined him 76 games.

Partially because of their injury problems, Washington was 13-28 at the Verizon Center last season.

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Added: October 31, 2009


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