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News » Wizards-Grizzlies Preview

Wizards-Grizzlies Preview

Wizards-Grizzlies Preview
Washington Wizards star Gilbert Arenas had a chance to make his season debut memorable with a winning shot in the closing seconds, but didn't deliver.

He'll have another chance to lead his club to victory Wednesday night when the Wizards visit the Memphis Grizzlies in a matchup of lottery-bound teams.

Arenas didn't play in Washington's loss at Indiana on Sunday night after making his season debut Saturday against Detroit. That was the first game in 11 months for the three-time All-Star, who had missed 156 of the Wizards' previous 173 games and had three surgeries in an 18-month span - one that included two premature comeback attempts.

Arenas had 15 points and 10 assists in 30 minutes against the Pistons but was 3-for-12 from the field. His 3-point attempt was blocked out of bounds with two seconds remaining as the Wizards (17-58) fell 98-96.

Arenas admitted he didn't make the right decision taking that shot, but he was mostly focused on his health after the game.

"I'm just out here trying to figure out what I can do," he said, "what's my limitations, how many minutes I can play without feeling pain going into next season."

Wizards coach Ed Tapscott says Arenas was "feeling fine" after Saturday's game.

"No knee soreness at all, just the muscle soreness that comes with playing your first high-level game in a while," he said.

Arenas sat out Sunday anyway to protect the knee, and without him, the Wizards fell 124-115 to the Pacers. On 36 field goals, they had only 10 assists - one more than their season low, set in an 80-72 loss at Charlotte on Dec. 23.

"One of the things, other than the score, that disappointed me tonight was we only had 10 assists," Tapscott said. "Ten assists in a game where we scored 115 points. That's out of proportion. That means we didn't do a good enough job sharing the ball at the right times, and of course we didn't defend well enough."

Tapscott hopes his club puts together a better effort at both ends against a Grizzlies team returning home from a 2-2 road trip. Memphis (19-54) averaged 113.5 points in the two wins and was held to 74.0 in the two losses.

The Grizzlies finished the trip with a 114-109 victory over Golden State. Rookie guard O.J. Mayo had 24 points and a season-high 10 assists, and Rudy Gay and Mike Conley added 21 points apiece.

"It's definitely a tremendous sign of growth," Mayo said. "We can't make the playoffs and we have one of the worst records in the NBA, so we could have packed it in tonight, but we want to get better so this can roll into next season."

Mayo matched a season high with 33 points and Gay added 23 as the Grizzlies cruised to a 113-97 road win over the Wizards in the teams' first meeting Feb. 2.

Antawn Jamison led the Wizards with 29 points and 13 rebounds in that game. He's averaging 28.2 points while shooting 53.6 percent from the field in his last nine games against the Grizzlies.

Arenas has scored at least 30 points in three of his last five games against Memphis, averaging 25.0 in that stretch.

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: April 1, 2009


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