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News » Wizards-Thunder Preview 2009-11-19


Wizards-Thunder Preview 2009-11-19


Wizards-Thunder Preview 2009-11-19Washington Wizards veterans Gilbert Arenas and Caron Butler are certainly happy to have Antawn Jamison back. With James Harden coming around, the Oklahoma City Thunder may soon have their own trio of stars.

Following an outstanding effort in Jamison's return, the Wizards look to win two straight for the first time as they visit a promising young Thunder team Friday night.

Washington (3-7) had high expectations this season with Arenas finally healthy after a two-year stretch of dealing with knee injuries. Jamison, however, missed the first nine games after injuring his right shoulder during an exhibition game last month, and the Wizards got off to a terrible start.

They needed one game to prove how good they can be with the big man on the court with Arenas and Butler, beating Cleveland 108-91 on Wednesday night.

Jamison had 31 points, 10 rebounds and brought some much-needed leadership as Washington snapped a six-game losing streak.

"Whether we miss a couple of shots or make a run, guys run to the huddle with their heads down, and that's something that I knew that I could come in and change," Jamison said. "I've been sitting down for what seems like forever, so I had a lot of energy. I knew it was going to be different."

While Jamison looked in midseason form, Arenas had 18 points, eight assists and six rebounds. Butler added 19 points and six boards.

"You have to make a decision," Washington center Brendan Haywood said. "Are you going to let (Jamison) shoot? Are you going to let Gilbert Arenas drive? Are you going to let guys like myself and Caron get dunks?"

Oklahoma City (6-6) has had an unexpectedly strong start, with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook leading the way. The Thunder picked up big wins over Orlando, San Antonio, and Miami even with Harden - the third pick in this year's draft - struggling to contribute.

Oklahoma City lost 108-94 to the Magic on Wednesday night, a day after beating Miami 100-87, but it finally got a strong performance from Harden.

The shooting guard came off the bench to score 24, going 6 of 7 on 3-point attempts. It was the first time Harden reached double figures.

"It's definitely encouraging," he said. "I've been putting in some extra work to make sure my mechanics are right and I'm not second guessing myself. I got some shots to fall and I got some confidence from that."

Now the Thunder need Durant and Westbrook to follow suit after they combined to score 22 and shoot 7 for 23 from the field (30.4 percent) Wednesday. Durant, drafted second overall in 2007, averaged 32.8 points in his previous five games.

He's averaging 27.1 points per game while Westbrook, the fourth selection in '08, has posted 15.8 points, 7.2 assists and 4.7 rebounds a contest.

Durant scored 25 in a 104-95 loss at Washington on Dec. 27 and sat out due to a sprained right ankle in an 88-83 home win March 4. Westbrook shot 37.5 percent (9 for 24) in those meetings.


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Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: November 19, 2009

 

 
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