Cleveland (29-19) at Washington (24-23)

Mostly Cloudy Currently: Washington, DC
Temp: 61° F
  • Game info: 7:00 pm EST Fri Feb 10, 2006
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Washington Wizards hadn’t been over .500 for three months. Now that they’ve finally above the break-even mark, they’ll be looking to stay there when they host the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The Wizards have moved back above .500 by winning 11 of their last 15 games. They improved to 3-0 on a five-game homestand by beating Golden State 129-124 on Wednesday night.

After defeating San Antonio on Nov. 12 to improve to 5-1, Washington lost five straight and had been unable to crack .500 since.

Gilbert Arenas had 45 points against his old team Wednesday while Caron Butler had a season-high 34 points, 15 rebounds, four assists and three steals. Washington’s point total was its highest since Nov. 11, when it beat Sacramento 137-96.

“When he got it going early, I was like: ‘Man, let’s continue to roll with him,”’ Wizards forward Antawn Jamison said of Butler, who made eight of his first 11 shots. “He’s done it in spurts, but it was great to see him do it not only on the offensive end but defensively and rebounding. He’s been rolling phenomenally of late and he did a great job defensively on Jason Richardson and Mickael Pietrus.

“I think it was his best performance so far in a Wizards uniform.”

Butler, in his first season with Washington, has averaged 17.7 points and 6.1 rebounds since joining the starting lineup Dec. 21, and the Wizards have gone 15-9 in that span.

Arenas, who scored more than 40 points for the sixth time this season, set a franchise record with 23 free throws made and matched his club record with 25 free-throw attempts.

The Wizards have won five straight home games and eight in a row at the MCI Center against Eastern Conference opponents.

Cleveland has won nine of its past 11 games, and a position switch to point guard by LeBron James helped the Cavaliers beat Minnesota 97-91 on Wednesday night.

“It’s kind of hard to guard me 94 feet,” said James, who normally plays small forward but moved to the point in the second half and scored 12 of his 35 points in the fourth quarter. “I put a lot of pressure on the defense when I’m playing point guard.”

He also added 11 rebounds and eight assists to help Cleveland overcome 39 percent shooting.

“It does wonders for us because he’s not only making plays for others, but he’s also in attack mode from one end to the other,” Cavs guard Damon Jones said of James’ position switch.

Cleveland had only nine turnovers, just the sixth time this season it has had fewer than 10.

The Cavs, who lost five straight on the road from Jan. 12-20, have won five of their last six away from Cleveland.

Related Articles

Team Stat Leaders