Wizards-Suns Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated March 19, 2013
The Washington Wizards have rolled to a winning streak on their home floor, but they haven't been able to match that success on the road. If history is any indication, they might have a difficult time putting an end to those woes Wednesday night. Washington looks to stop a five-game skid in Phoenix and four-game road losing streak overall as it tries to beat the Suns for the second time in five days. While the Wizards (23-43) won their fifth straight at home by beating Phoenix 127-105 on Saturday, they extended their road slide two days later with a 119-114 defeat to NBA-worst Charlotte. John Wall finished with 25 points and Nene added 21 for the Wizards, who allowed the Bobcats to shoot 53.2 percent and couldn't hold on to a five-point lead over the final 3:14. Washington has won by an average of 12.8 points during its home streak, but it has a league-low five road wins. "You know, we don't have a different mindset when we come on the road and you have to," coach Randy Wittman said. "You can't play the same way at home that you do on the road. I can't get them, right now, to realize it." Three of Washington's four straight road losses have come to last-place clubs in Minnesota, Cleveland and Charlotte. Now the Wizards try to break through as they continue a four-game trip with a matchup against the Pacific Division-worst Suns (23-45). Phoenix, however, hasn't been a pleasant stop over the years. The Wizards have dropped 20 of 23 road meetings in this series, and they've lost by an average of 18.4 points during the five-game slide. After snapping a 10-game overall losing streak to the Suns on Saturday, Washington has a chance to sweep the series for the first time since 2001-02. Martell Webster shot 7 of 10 from 3-point range on the way to a career-high 34 points in Saturday's win. He has averaged 20.2 points and hit 26 for 53 from beyond the arc in his last six games. Wall, who had 17 points and 11 assists in the first meeting, is averaging 24.2 points and 9.8 assists while shooting 58.4 percent in his last five overall. Washington finished with a season-high point total and shot 14 for 21 from 3-point range against the Suns, who had allowed opponents to average 113.2 points and shoot 49.0 percent from long range in six games before putting together their best defensive effort of the season Monday. Phoenix ended a four-game losing streak with a 99-76 home win over a Los Angeles Lakers team that shot 33.3 percent while playing without Kobe Bryant because of a severe ankle sprain. Wesley Johnson and Luis Scola each scored 14 to lead six Suns in double figures. Scola had all of his points during the team's 28-10 run in the fourth quarter. "I thought the game was kind of on the line," said Scola, "and I was just trying to be aggressive." Michael Beasley finished with a team-high 21 points on Saturday, and he's averaged 16.6 in his last five games against the Wizards. The Suns have reached 100 points in 19 straight games in this series, averaging 112.2 over that stretch. After allowing 90.7 points per game over their previous 10, the Wizards have given up an average of 112.0 in their last two.
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