Wednesday , Nov , 26 , 2003 C.Y. Ellis

Wizards head into LA without Arenas

Los Angeles, CA (Sports Network) – The Washington Wizards enter Los Angeles
tonight, as they take on the powerful Lakers at the Staples Center.

The Wizards will be without guard Gilbert Arenas for tonight’s contest, as he
was placed on the injured list Tuesday with a severe abdominal strain. Arenas,
Washington’s leading scorer, suffered the injury with five minutes left in
Sunday’s game against Seattle. He will miss a minimum of five games.

Even without Arenas, Washington was able to stop a two-game skid on Tuesday
with a dramatic 81-80 win over Portland at the Rose Garden.

Larry Hughes finished with a team-high 22 points and scored the winning basket
with just 10.4 seconds left. Etan Thomas added 12 points off the bench for the

In a game where no team led by double digits, Portland went on a 14-6 run late
in the fourth quarter to take a two-point lead. Qyntel Woods’ basket capped
off the burst with 2:32 remaining to put the Trail Blazers ahead, 76-74.

But the Portland margin was cut to one at 80-79, and Hughes’ drive through the
lane put the Wizards ahead by one for the final tally.

The Trail Blazers had one more opportunity for the win, but Jeff McInnis
missed a contested layup off the glass and time expired before Portland could
foul to stop the clock

The Lakers have won three straight and six of their last seven games. Their
latest victory came on Sunday night with a 121-89 drubbing of the Memphis
Grizzlies in LA.

Kobe Bryant scored a game-high 28 points to lead the Lakers, while Karl Malone
had 20 points and 10 rebounds and Gary Payton finished with 17 points and 10

Slava Medvedenko had 14 points and a career-high 11 rebounds, as Los Angeles
moved to 7-0 at home on the season.

The Lakers won the game without superstar center Shaquille O’Neal, who missed
with a strained calf suffered in a 101-94 win over Chicago on Friday. O’Neal
is questionable for tonight’s game.

Washington has dropped 10 straight road games against the Lakers and hasn’t
beaten them in Los Angeles since February 14, 1992.

The Lakers have won five of six and 10 of the last 13 meetings overall.