Wednesday , Feb , 15 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

Wizards gearing up for stretch run

(Sports Network) – The Washington Wizards try to get back on the winning
track this evening when they close a brief two-game homestand versus the
Dallas Mavericks at the AmericanAirlines Center.

The Wizards enter tonight’s affair tied with the Indiana Pacers for the sixth
spot in the Eastern Conference playoff race – just a half-game back of the
fifth-place Milwaukee Bucks. They are attempting to qualify for the playoffs
for their second consecutive season for the first time, since the 1986-87 and
1987-88 seasons.

On Monday, David West’s jumper from the top of the key with five-tenths of a
second left gave the New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets a thrilling 97-96 win
over the Wizards at the Ford Center.

Gilbert Arenas poured in 43 points and Antawn Jamison added 20 points and 10
boards in the loss or the Wizards, who had a five-game winning streak halted.

It was the seventh time this season Arenas has gone for at least 40 points and
Washington is just 3-4 in those contests.

Brendan Haywood grabbed 10 rebounds in defeat.

The Wizards have lost three in a row on the road and are just 8-15 away from
home this season.

This is the first of two meetings between the clubs this season. The Wizards
are scheduled to host the Mavericks on March 17th at the MCI Center.

Washington has lost three straight and six of the last seven meetings in this
series. The Wiz have also lost three straight and four of its last five in