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News » Wizards-Timberwolves Preview

Wizards-Timberwolves Preview

Wizards-Timberwolves Preview
The loss of their leading scorer has the Minnesota Timberwolves headed toward an miserable end to their season. Without their top player, the Washington Wizards have endured one of their worst in franchise history.

As the teams continue to close in on the NBA lottery, they will both look to end losing streaks Monday night in Minnesota.

The Timberwolves are attempting to avoid a 10th straight defeat and 11th in a row at home, while the Wizards will try to prevent a sixth consecutive loss and 11th in 12 road games.

Minnesota (18-44) is 1-11 since losing emerging star center Al Jefferson to a torn ACL in his right knee.

Playing without Gilbert Arenas, Washington (14-49) may post its fewest wins in an 82-game season - it won 19 games in 2000-01. The Wizards won 18 games in the lockout-shortened 1998-99 season and went 18-62 in their inaugural season as the Chicago Packers in 1961-62.

Both teams have already replaced their coaches.

Kevin McHale looked to have the team headed in the right direction during a 12-4 stretch after he replaced Randy Wittman, but Minnesota has since lost 17 of 19 and will miss the playoffs for a fifth straight season.

Saturday's 95-93 loss at Portland put the Timberwolves on the brink of their second double-digit losing streak of the season. It was during a 13-game slide from Nov. 29-Dec. 23 that McHale, the team's former vice president, fired Wittman and took over.

Ryan Gomes scored a season-high 28 points in the loss. Minnesota also got a pair of solid efforts from ailing players as Randy Foye scored 23 points in his return from a bruised hip, and Sebastian Telfair had 18 while playing with a sore groin.

"We have some stuff to keep working on, but I thought the guys worked hard," McHale said. "That's all we keep asking: to work hard every night."

Washington replaced Eddie Jordan with Ed Tapscott after a 1-10 start, but the change hasn't helped its fortunes. The Wizards are enduring their sixth losing streak of at least five games this season.

They got Caron Butler back in the lineup Saturday night at Dallas after a three-game absence due to a sore left hamstring, but the presence of the two-time All-Star forward couldn't prevent a 119-103 loss.

Washington led by as much as 10 in the first half and shot 52.7 percent, but faded thanks in part to 22 turnovers. Antawn Jamison had a team-leading 29 points and 11 rebounds, while Butler scored 20.

"We are going to push it up and try to establish something on a positive note," Butler said. "The young guys that are here now, we have to figure out a way to play with them. So it is important for us to be out there with them."

Washington has won three straight over the Timberwolves and six of the last eight meetings. Minnesota snapped a seven-game home losing streak in the series last season with a 105-89 victory on Nov. 16, 2007.

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: March 8, 2009


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