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News » Wizards-Kings Preview 2009-01-21

Wizards-Kings Preview 2009-01-21

Wizards-Kings Preview 2009-01-21
Minus All-Star guard Gilbert Arenas and any consistent presence in the paint, the Washington Wizards have struggled to score all season.

The Sacramento Kings, meanwhile, simply can't stop anyone.

The Wizards' inconsistent offense and the Kings' porous defense will take center stage Wednesday night at Arco Arena, as Washington looks for a seventh straight victory over Sacramento in a battle of two of the league's worst teams.

With Arenas healthy, the Wizards (8-32) scored more than 100 points per game each season from 2004-05 until 2006-07. That average dropped to 98.8 points last season, when Arenas played only 13 games because of a left knee injury.

He hasn't played at all this season because of his knee, and with center Brendan Haywood shelved as well, Washington is struggling mightily to score. Antawn Jamison and Caron Butler are still around, but the Wizards' 94.2 ppg rank 26th in the league.

They've had even more problems over the last month, averaging 90.2 points. Butler in particular has struggled, averaging 16.2 points but shooting just 38.8 percent.

He had 22 - the same total Jamison and Andray Blatche had - as Washington kicked off a four-game Western road trip Monday in Golden State, but a lack of defense was the pressing issue. The Warriors shot 53.0 percent in blowing out the Wizards 119-98.

"Every time we tried to make a run, they responded," interim coach Ed Tapscott said. "We did not have enough discipline to take advantage of prosperous moments. You have to pass and share the ball to have an offensive flow. We did too much dribbling and standing around."

Golden State allows the most ppg (112.0) in the league, and the next team Washington faces on its trip yields the second-most.

But while Sacramento (10-32) has given up 107.6 ppg this season, that average has been far worse over its past four games. The Kings have given up 129.8 ppg since a 32-point loss to Orlando on Jan. 13.

They jumped out to a 31-23 lead after 12 minutes Tuesday at Denver, but that was the highlight of the game for interim coach Kenny Natt's team. Sacramento was outscored 34-16 in the second quarter and wound up losing 118-99, its 14th loss by 15 points or more this season.

"A bad, bad night for us, to say the least," Natt said. "We lost our focus and we gave up a lot of easy baskets, transition points. They got a lot of layups. We didn't defend hard and they took advantage of every opportunity that was there."

The Kings enter Wednesday's game 0-15 against Eastern Conference foes.

Sacramento's saving grace has been guard Kevin Martin, who's averaging 29.0 points in his last nine games after returning from a left ankle injury.

But while Martin is trying to create offense, he's also been turnover-prone. He's given the ball away an average of 3.4 times in his last seven games, and the Kings have averaged 17.4 giveaways as a team in that stretch.

Martin has averaged 32.5 points in his two career home games against Washington, but that hasn't made a difference to Sacramento. The Kings have lost six in a row to the Wizards by an average of 8.7 points.

Jamison has scored 24.4 ppg in those contests, including 25 points and 12 rebounds on March 28 at Arco, a 114-108 win.

Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website:
Added: January 21, 2009


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