WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Washington Wizards figure it's time to
make a move in the Eastern Conference race.
Gilbert Arenas scored 34 points and the Wizards beat undermanned
Charlotte 107-97 Saturday night, the Bobcats' franchise-record 11th
"We have to take advantage of the opportunity we have here,"
Arenas said. "We're going to be at home for a while. This is where
we can make our climb in that Eastern Conference."
The Wizards, who have won seven of their last 10 games, play six
of their next seven games at home. Cleveland is the only opponent
with a winning record during that stretch and only Golden State
hails from the Western Conference.
Antawn Jamison, who scored 20 or more points for the eighth
straight game, had 14 of his 23 points in the third quarter. He
also grabbed 13 rebounds for his 21st double-double of the season
and made a career-high five 3-pointers.
"You definitely want to get a few games over .500 before the
All-Star break," Jamison said. "We have a lot of games here, and
you have to take advantage of that. We've preached and said a lot
of things all year about this being an important stretch. If we are
the type of team we think we are, this is the stretch we really
want to take advantage of."
Primoz Brezec matched his career high with 27 points and grabbed
12 rebounds to lead Charlotte before fouling out with 2:09
remaining. Raymond Felton added 18 points and a career-high 13
assists for the Bobcats, who lost their franchise-record 11th in a
The Bobcats were missing 73 percent of their scoring, including
four of their top five scorers, because of injuries. They played
without point guard Brevin Knight, Keith Bogans, Emeka Okafor,
Kareem Rush, Sean May and Gerald Wallace.
Even some of the Bobcats on the court got nicked up.
"Arenas kneed me twice in my quad, and Melvin Ely and Raymond
Felton got hurt, too, but we kept fighting," said Brezec, whose
jumper gave the Bobcats a 94-93 lead with 3:07 remaining.
"I told the guys that I was proud of them," Bobcats coach
Bernie Bickerstaff said. "As short-handed as we are right now, I
don't know if I can ask any more of them in this situation."
Ten or fewer players dressed for the 11th time in Charlotte's
past 13 games. For the second time this season, the Bobcats had
only nine healthy players.
"We fought and fought and fought," Ely said. "The only thing
we can do is play the same way and hope that things go our way in
Arenas and Antonio Daniels each made four free throws in the
final 2:09 to seal the victory.
"We had to come out and get back on track," Arenas said. "We
knew they were going to be tough, no matter who they had. We had to
come out and play it all the way to the end."
Jamison, who was cut below his left eye in the second quarter,
made three straight 3-pointers to give the Wizards a 66-57 lead
early in the third. He established a career high with his fifth
3-pointer later in the period that gave the Wizards a 71-60 lead.
But the Bobcats kept hanging around. Bernard Robinson scored
three straight points to pull Charlotte to 73-71 with 2:29
remaining in the third quarter.
Etan Thomas scored four points as the Wizards closed the third
with a 9-2 run. Washington led 82-73 after three.
Arenas made eight of his first 12 shots and had 22 points in the
first half. The Wizards shot 53 percent and led 57-52 at halftime.<
^@ Notes: Knight, a former Wizards player, missed the game with a
concussion sustained in the first quarter Friday when he took an
inadvertent elbow to the back of the head from Miami's Gary Payton.
"I'm a little sore and I'm moving a little slow," Knight said
Saturday. "I could see plays, but I was a little slow. I was one
step off." ... The Bobcats have lost 141 games to injuries, second
worst in the league behind Houston. ... The Wizards had their ninth
sellout crowd of 20,173 this season.