Now that they’ve traded Gilbert Arenas, the Washington Wizards
are looking forward to a future centered around rookie star John
It’s uncertain, however, when Wall will be back on the floor to
assume the role of franchise centerpiece.
While Wall could miss a fourth straight game with knee
tendinitis, Rashard Lewis is expected to make his Wizards debut
when Washington looks to end a seven-game skid Monday night against
the Charlotte Bobcats.
Washington (6-19) fell 95-94 to Miami on Saturday. Before the
game, the Wizards traded Arenas, who led the team to four straight
playoff appearances from 2005-08 but had become a distraction due
to off-court issues, to Orlando for Lewis.
“We’re totally in a rebuild,” coach Flip Saunders said. “We’ve
said that. We were in a situation where we had three of our top
players play pretty much the same position in John and Gilbert and
The first overall pick in the draft, Wall is the future in
Washington, but the guard has played in only 15 of 25 games due to
When healthy, he has been outstanding, averaging 16.7 points,
8.9 assists and 2.3 steals.
“No one’s going to ask us whose team it is,” Saunders said.
“It’s his team, and so that comes with a lot of responsibility. The
critics who thought that Gilbert would hinder his development,
that’s not gong to be brought up any more.”
It’s not certain when Wall will return, but Washington expects
to have Lewis in the lineup Monday after he didn’t arrive in time
for Saturday’s contest. The 13-year veteran is averaging 12.2
points – his lowest in 11 seasons – and 4.2 rebounds.
The forward joins a Wizards team that has averaged 91.6 points
and shot 41.2 percent over the last five losses. Washington went 3
for 6 at the free-throw line in the final 20 seconds Saturday,
allowing the Heat to take their only lead of the fourth quarter on
Dwyane Wade’s two foul shots with 7.9 seconds to play.
“We probably played as hard as we have all year,” said Hinrich,
who went 1 of 2 at the line during that stretch. “I felt we should
have won the game, and to cough it up like that, it’s hard to
swallow for sure.”
The Bobcats (9-17) have suffered similar letdowns recently,
losing eight in a row on the road, the most recent a 90-85 defeat
to Atlanta on Friday in which they shot 37.9 percent.
After scoring 80 points in a defeat two nights earlier at
Memphis, Charlotte didn’t play much better against the Hawks. Boris
Diaw and D.J. Austin each scored 22 points on 19-of-34 shooting,
but no other Bobcats player had more than nine points and the rest
of the team shot 26.4 percent.
However, coach Larry Brown thought his team had a much better
performance than it did against the Grizzlies.
“We played hard but didn’t shoot the ball well,” he said. “But
the effort was great and they gave us a chance tonight. No matter
who you play against, that’s all I ever ask for.”
It didn’t help that forward Gerald Wallace sat out a second
straight game with a sprained left ankle. He is doubtful for
Charlotte hasn’t lost nine straight on the road since Jan.
30-Feb. 29, 2008. It has won nine of 10 against the Wizards, taking
the most recent meeting 93-85 at the Verizon Center on Nov. 12.