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Arenas slumping as Wizards lose to surging Spurs

Jan 14, 2007 - 5:14 AM SAN ANTONIO (Ticker) -- Gilbert Arenas is slumping again, and so are the Washington Wizards.

Arenas shot poorly for the fourth straight game and the Wizards succumbed in a 93-80 loss to the San Antonio Spurs, who got off to a quick start and raced to their fourth straight win.

Second in the NBA in scoring at 30 points per game, Arenas is in a slump similar to the one he went through earlier this season, dragging down the Wizards with him.

The All-Star guard has made just 23-of-74 shots in his last four games, with Washington losing three of those. He attributed his poor showing to a shoulder injury he suffered in a collision with Milwaukee's Ruben Patterson on December 30.

"It's just aching, and I'm leaving it short a lot," he said. "Hopefully it doesn't get worse. I'm going to keep playing. I don't want to sit out games, especially right now. In shootarounds, I'm shooting the ball great. Then it stiffens up, and you have to try to get in a rhythm again."

Against the Spurs, Arenas made just 6-of-20 shots and scored 17 points, his lowest total since managing 10 in a loss at Chicago on December 2. He never got untracked as he was hounded by Tony Parker.

"It's hard when you're 6-for-20 and you don't have any free throws," said Arenas, who was 4-of-5 from the line. "It's hard to balance that out."

"I thought we played very solid defensively," said Spurs guard Manu Ginobili, who also took a turn on Arenas. "Tony did a great job covering Arenas. The rest of the team helped out - just a very solid defensive effort."

The Wizards came in averaging better than 107 points per game but matched a season low. They shot just 31 percent (27-of-87) as they lost their seventh straight visit to the Alamo City.

"We couldn't find that rim," Arenas said. "It's like our target was off. We were missing little things and we fell into a hole."

"We got good shots, we got good looks, but offensively we couldn't get any flow," said Wizards forward Caron Butler, who scored 10 points on just 5-of-19 shooting. "We got to the paint, missed layups, missed jump shots - open jump shots - and missed shots we usually make."

Ginobili scored 19 points and Tim Duncan added 18 and 11 rebounds for the Spurs, who never trailed, scoring the first nine points and leading by as many as 21 late in the third quarter.

San Antonio held a 29-15 lead after one period as Bowen scored all eight of his points, making a pair of 3-pointers. After Washington closed to 44-38 at halftime, Duncan scored seven points in a 15-0 burst in the third period that rebuilt the lead to 62-43.

During that stretch, Wizards coach Eddie Jordan was ejected for arguing.

"I lost my composure and probably shouldn't have, and that's the way it is," he said. "You watch the game, and root for the team down there (in the locker room) by yourself. I don't get a beer; I just get out of that damn suit."

The Wizards inched within 75-67 on a free throw by Brendan Haywood with 6:57 to play. Ginobili sank a 3-pointer to trigger an 11-0 spurt capped by Parker's three-point play that made it 86-69 with 4:24 left.

Parker had 13 points, 10 rebounds and six assists and Fabricio Oberto also swept 10 boards for the Spurs, who held a 53-44 advantage on the backboards and overcame 22 turnovers.

"The team is more focused and taking it (defense) more seriously," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. The guys are trying to be on the same page. We've got five guys (playing defense) instead of three or four."

San Antonio reserve forward Matt Bonner suffered a torn left MCL and will miss at least four weeks.

Antonio Daniels scored 12 points for the Wizards, who have dropped four straight road contests.

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