for this game

Wizards-Bobcats Preview

Mar 26, 2010 - 8:19 PM By MATT BECKER STATS Senior Writer

Washington (21-49) at Charlotte (37-34), 7:00 p.m. EDT

Friday is shaping up to be a historically disappointing day for the Washington Wizards.

After Gilbert Arenas was sentenced on gun charges earlier in the day, the Wizards will try to avoid setting a franchise record with a 14th consecutive loss when they visit a Charlotte Bobcats team that beat them three days ago.

After matching a franchise worst with 63 losses last season, Washington (21-49) was hoping a healthy Arenas could help lead the team back to the playoffs. The Wizards got off to a slow start, though, and the season completely fell apart in late December after Arenas brought guns to the team's locker room.

The three-time All-Star point guard was sentenced Friday to 30 days in a halfway house.

Washington is 10-28 since Arenas began serving a season-long suspension Jan. 6, and hasn't won since defeating lowly New Jersey 89-85 on Feb. 28. The Wizards tied a franchise-worst 13-game skid, established in 1967 and matched in 1995, with Wednesday's 99-82 loss at Indiana.

"I don't think our guys are looking at that," coach Flip Saunders said. "We're looking at trying to be competitive and look ahead. The reason we're getting beat right now is because other teams are better than us. We're not very good right now."

Washington hasn't scored 100 points in any game during the losing streak, averaging 86.4.

The Wizards will be hard-pressed to snap out of that funk against the Bobcats (37-34), who are allowing a league-low 93.5 points per game and have held each of their last 12 opponents below 100.

Andray Blatche started for the Wizards on Wednesday, less than 24 hours after Saunders benched him for most of Tuesday's 95-86 overtime loss to Charlotte. Blatche, who didn't want to re-enter Tuesday's game, finished with 21 points in 39 minutes against the Pacers.

Though Blatche was productive and James Singleton had 19 points and a career-high 21 rebounds as a reserve, the rest of the Wizards shot 28.8 percent.

"Offensively, we've been having trouble getting into sets," Saunders said. "The only bright spot we had (Wednesday) was James was unbelievable. We'll probably have to look to make lineup changes the next game."

Charlotte is in the thick of the Eastern Conference playoff race, and has defeated Washington in seven of the last eight meetings.

Although the Bobcats, who are one-half game back of sixth-place Miami in the East, have usually had the upper hand against the Wizards, they had a sloppy performance against them Tuesday. Charlotte shot 39.6 percent and needed overtime to defeat one of the league's worst teams.

Following that lackluster victory, the Bobcats vowed to play with more intensity. It showed in Wednesday's 108-95 win over Western Conference-worst Minnesota. Charlotte shot 53.6 percent and scored its most points since beating Cleveland 110-93 on Feb. 19.

Stephen Jackson led the way with 37 points, one night after revealing he had been plagued by a bruised ligament in his left index finger for several weeks. He made 15 of 24 shots - including 4 of 6 from 3-point range - after shooting 36.8 percent in his previous 10 games.

"It's not going to get better until the season is over and I can rest it. But I've got to block it out," Jackson said. "This isn't the first time I've played with pain. I've played with a broken toe for three years, so I've got to just find a way to figure it out."