Wizards Slide Continues
Carla Peay €" WI Sports Editor | 1/11/2009, 1:34 p.m.
The struggles continue for the Washington Wizards, who have lost their last four games and six of their last seven. The team lost at home to the Charlotte Bobcats on Sat. Jan. 10 by a score of 92-89, in a game they had every chance to win. The Wizards now have the worst record in the Eastern Conference at 7-29, and only the Western Conference Oklahoma City Thunder (6-32) have a worse record in the NBA.
Frustration continues to build as the Wizards follow a familiar pattern of keeping a game close and making a late run, but prove to be unable to close out games in the end. The Bobcats, at 14-24, are struggling as well, but the Wizards woes are well documented, as they continue to be decimated by injuries.
Shooting guard DeShawn Stevenson is now out of the lineup, joining Guard Gilbert Arenas and center Brendan Haywood on the bench, as interim head coach Ed Tapscott continues to tweak the team€s lineups in hopes of finding some kind of an answer.
In the game against Charlotte, the Wizards let a 13 point lead slip away, and missed three potentially game winning shots, including a good look from guard Nick Young just before the buzzer sounded. Young had 12 points in the game, and was helped out by 14 points and 10 rebounds from forward/center Andray Blatche, and a good contributions from rookie JaVale McGee (nine points) and second year forward Dominic McGuire (seven points, five rebounds).
The team€s best players who are not in street clothes, forward Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison, continued to carry the bulk of the load, as Butler led the team in scoring with 19 points. Jamison added 13.
€You've got to weather through it. Its bad weather right now,€ Butler said. You've got to stay positive. Somehow, someway, you've just got to soul-search and stay professional. And you know, this is a tough time right now, it's definitely tough.€
Tapscott has seen this scenario play out many times this season.
€We were in control and we ceded that back and so we shouldn't have been in position where those shots were so critical. And we put ourselves in that,€ Tapscott said of the team€s failure to pull out the game on the last second missed shots.
The Wizards will next host the Milwaukee Bucks on Mon. Jan. 12, followed by a road game against the New York Knicks, and will then host the Knicks on Fri. Jan. 16.
Center Brendan Haywood had a pin removed from his surgically repaired right wrist on Fri. Jan. 9. There is no timetable set for his return. DeShawn Stevenson is out with lower back pain. His status is listed as day to day. The return date for Gilbert Arenas could be sometime this season, or next. Word from Wizards camp is that Arenas has no plans to rush back, after doing so last season and re-injuring his surgically repaired left knee. Caron Butler speculated in media reports that he suspects Arenas may sit out the entire season.