After entering the All-Star break with back-to-back victories and wins in six of 10 games, the Washington Wizards were hoping for a strong second-half run.
Their opponents haven’t complied with their wishes.
The struggling Wizards will try to end a four-game losing streak when they welcome the Milwaukee Bucks to the MCI Center.
Washington returned from the break and suffered three straight blowout road losses before Friday’s 96-87 setback to Eastern Conference-leading Indiana.
Gilbert Arenas led the Wizards with 27 points, but was more concerned with the foul call he didn’t get on a fallaway jumper he missed with the game on the line in the final minutes.
“I stepped back, and (Jeff Foster) gave me a shove. I thought it was a foul, but they said I jumped into him, so I’m not going to argue,” Arenas said. “Hopefully, next time they’ll give us that call at the end of the game. They’re a veteran team, the No. 1 team in the East, so they’re going to get the benefit of the doubt.”
No one was more steamed than Wizards coach Eddie Jordan, who berated official Leon Wood in the middle of the court after the final whistle before security intervened.
“I’m not going to talk about the officials,” Jordan said.
Jerry Stackhouse had 15 points, eight rebounds and five assists for the Wizards, who have not dropped five straight since Dec. 19-30.
“We’re a young team taking our lumps right now,” Stackhouse said.
Recently acquired forward Keith Van Horn made his Bucks debut Saturday, scoring 23 points in a 105-103 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers. Van Horn, who missed two games after being dealt from New York, showed signs of rust in his first action since the All-Star break. He threw up airballs on his first two shots before finishing a solid 7-of-14 from the floor.
Van Horn also grabbed eight rebounds and blocked two shots in 30 minutes.
The Bucks have lost three of four since the break and are 2-5 in February.