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Wizards Ready for All-Star Break

Carla Peay €" WI Sports Editor | 2/13/2009, 12:12 p.m.

The Washington Wizards are guaranteed to finish the season with a losing record after dropping their final contest before the all-star break in a 109-89 road loss to the Charlotte Bobcats on Wed. Feb. 11. The team€s record sits at 11-42, with 29 games left in the season, and they are on pace for the worst record in franchise history.

The team€s poor play remains a source of constant frustration for the team€s two captains and former all-stars, Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison, who have at times railed against their younger teammates for a lack of energy and for failing to play the right way, while alternately trying to maintain as positive a spin on the lost season as possible.

€We€re going to continue to perform as all-stars and lead this team,€ Butler said after the team€s victory over the Pacers on Sun. Feb. 8. Butler and Jamison may have all-star numbers, but playing for the Eastern Conference€s worst team didn€t get them much consideration for the mid-season classic, which will be played in Phoenix on Sun. Feb. 15.
€We don€t know how to be patient,€ Jamison said after the loss to Charlotte, repeating some of his comments after the home loss against the Denver Nuggets, when the captain discussed at length the team€s poor play.

€We are not playing at very high basketball IQ right now. We still have a standard we need to maintain. We still need to be doing everything it takes to win,€ Jamison said, after the Denver game, during which mocking fans began doing the wave in the stands. €It€s embarrassing when they [the fans] have to find ways to entertain themselves,€ Jamison said of the gesture.

Interim head coach Ed Tapscott€s message to his players after the loss to Charlotte was to enjoy the break, but be ready to work when they return.

€It matters deeply to me when we lose. I want to start fixing the problems that have caused us not to win,€ Tapscott said after the team€s 20 point defeat to the Bobcats.

When the Wizards return to action in a home game against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Tue. Feb. 17, they should see the return of guard DeShawn Stevenson, who has been bothered by back problems, but will likely have to wait a little longer for center-forward Andray Blatche, who is out with a strained knee, and has missed the past nine games heading into the break.

Unfortunately, there is still no timetable for the return of center Etan Thomas, who has a knee injury, and center Brendan Haywood and guard Gilbert Arenas, both of whom have missed the entire season thus far, and may not see any action at all this year.