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News » Wizards-Bobcats Preview

Wizards-Bobcats Preview

Wizards-Bobcats Preview
The Charlotte Bobcats have been one of the worst teams in the Eastern Conference throughout their four-plus seasons. The Washington Wizards, meanwhile, are newcomers to the cellar.

The East's leaders in losses meet for the first time this season Tuesday in Charlotte, with Washington looking to avoid a seventh straight defeat.

Charlotte (9-19) finished at least 16 games under .500 in each of its first four seasons, and in its first season under coach Larry Brown, any progress has been slow.

The Bobcats traded away leading scorer Jason Richardson earlier this month, and they had lost seven in a row before earning back-to-back wins over Chicago and Memphis last week. They lost again Saturday, 110-103 at home to Golden State.

Gerald Wallace had 26 points and Raja Bell - acquired from Phoenix in the Richardson trade - added 21. The NBA's lowest-scoring team at 91.3 points per game, the Bobcats have topped 100 points in three straight contests.

Saturday, though, was the first time this season Charlotte lost when it reached the 100-point mark. The problem was defense, as the Warriors shot 10-of-18 from 3-point range and Jamal Crawford scored 50 points.

"When you're not a great team, you've got to be ready to play every night," Bobcats coach Larry Brown said. "... Good teams come every night to win a game that they are supposed to win or have a good chance of winning and they don't let it slip away. We still have to figure that out."

They certainly should have a chance to win Tuesday, as Washington has one victory in 10 road games this season.

A playoff team last spring, the Wizards (4-21) have lost their last six games by an average of more than 16 points. Washington has shot 41.1 percent from the field over that span while allowing opponents to hit 49.5 percent.

"Problems compound themselves. When you've got a bad streak going it's almost like instead of finding the lucky penny, you find the slug," said interim coach Ed Tapscott, who took over after Eddie Jordan was fired Nov. 24. "We just have to work our way through it."

Washington matched a franchise record for the worst 25-game start with Sunday's 97-86 loss to Dallas, equaling a mark set by the 1966-67 Baltimore Bullets. Antawn Jamison scored 22 points, but none were in the fourth quarter when Washington was outscored 27-18.

"Most of our losses have come down the stretch and not communicating enough or playing team ball," Jamison said.

Tapscott is hoping a lineup change could help turn things around. DeShawn Stevenson, who has started 189 straight games since joining the Wizards for the 2006-07 season, will come off the bench Tuesday. Stevenson is shooting 31.7 percent from the field this season.

"Stevenson came to me and told me, 'Tap, I'm struggling a little bit. Why don't you let me come off the bench and see if I can't get my swag back,'" Tapscott said.

The Wizards are 12-4 against the Bobcats. The Charlotte franchise hadn't begun play the last time Washington missed the postseason in 2003-04.

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: December 23, 2008


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