Kings-Wizards Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated February 22, 2012
After a promising start, the Washington Wizards' road trip ended in miserable fashion. A matchup with the struggling Sacramento Kings during their return to Verizon Center could provide some positivity heading into the All-Star break. The Wizards will try to snap a three-game slide by adding to their recent home dominance of the Kings on Wednesday night. Washington recorded back-to-back victories for the first time this season during the start of a five-game trek but dropped the final three games by an average of 16.0 points, capped by a 104-88 defeat to Phoenix on Monday. The Wizards (7-25) led by a point early in the third quarter but were outscored 31-6 over the rest of the period. Jordan Crawford, who had a team-best 20 points, is averaging 18.5 over his last four games. "We were up by one and then went on a spree of the most selfish basketball I have seen since I have taken over," coach Randy Wittman said. "I have to find the right people to play the right way because I am not letting that slip back in." If Wittman can do that, it might give Washington a better chance at its seventh consecutive home win against the Kings (10-22). Sacramento enters the Verizon Center having dropped a season-high six straight and six in a row on the road. The Kings are also 0-5 on their six-game trip following a 120-108 defeat to Miami on Tuesday. Sacramento failed to recover from a 15-5 fourth-quarter burst by the Heat. Rookie guard Isaiah Thomas was a bright spot with a season-high 24 points, including 20 in the third quarter, and he made five of his team's season-high 13 3-pointers. Marcus Thornton's 23 points gave him at least 21 in three consecutive games. Sacramento, though, gave up 25 points off its 15 turnovers and allowed Miami to shoot 55.6 percent. "You needed to play a perfect game to win this game against this team and we were pretty close to the perfect game," coach Keith Smart said. "We had moments, but when you give up 25 points off turnovers, you're not going to beat many teams." The Kings did plenty of scoring against the Wizards last season as their 124.5-point average was their highest against any opponent. However, they didn't play well at the other end of the floor during last season's visit to the nation's capital, especially against Nick Young, during a 136-133 overtime defeat. Young had a career-high 43 points to lead six players in double figures, including John Wall with 22, during his team's best scoring performance since a 144-139 overtime win in Phoenix on Dec. 22, 2006. The Wizards' 107.4-point average against the Kings since the beginning of the 2004-05 season is their second-highest versus any opponent, but they have split their last four overall in the series. Sacramento, though, might not have John Salmons available for this matchup. The swingman, who came off the bench in the previous two games, was a late scratch Tuesday because of a sore right hip. Sacramento hasn't lost seven straight since an eight-game slide Dec. 11-27, 2010.
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