Washington (12-12) at Sacramento (10-13)

Fair Currently: Sacramento, CA
Temp: 62° F
  • Game info: 10:30 pm EST Thu Dec 21, 2006
  • TV: TNT
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Sacramento Kings and Washington Wizards both try to bounce back from poor shooting performances when they meet for the first time this season Thursday at Arco Arena.

Sacramento (10-13) is shooting just 43.6 percent from the field this season, and lackluster shooting has contributed to the team’s current slide. The Kings have dropped eight of their last 10 games, including a 109-91 defeat to the Dallas Mavericks on Monday, and have hit just 39.8 percent of their shots to lose each of the last two games. They have failed to reach the 40-percent mark in six of their 23 games.

“We’re not shooting the ball well, I don’t know how to explain it,” said Shareef Abdur-Rahim, who scored 15 points in Monday’s defeat.

Sacramento point guard Mike Bibby has especially struggled, shooting a career-worst 35.7 percent this season and going just 9-for-34 over the last two contests. He was held to 10 points Monday, well below his 17.0 season average.

Forward Ron Artest is also shooting a career low—38.9 percent—in 2006-07 and was 5-for-12 against Dallas for 14 points.

“We haven’t been making open shots this year,” said reserve forward Corliss Williamson, who has been the Kings’ best shooter with 53.1 percent efficiency. “We have definitely not shot the ball well. That makes it twice as difficult to win in the NBA.”

Guard Kevin Martin, whose 21.3 points per game lead the Kings, is day-to-day after spraining his ankle in Saturday’s loss to Phoenix. John Salmons started in his place Monday, but scored only seven points on 2-of-8 shooting.

The Wizards (12-12) had won six of seven games entering Monday’s matchup with the Denver Nuggets, but shot just 39.3 percent from the floor en route to a 117-108 defeat. Washington got off to a tough start, getting outscored 36-16 in the opening period.

Caron Butler led the team with 26 points and 10 rebounds, while Gilbert Arenas had 23 after scoring a franchise record 60 in a win over the Los Angeles Lakers the day before.

“We just tried to slow down Arenas some way,” Nuggets center Marcus Camby said. “He is one of the best scorers we have in this league.”

Arenas is averaging 27.3 points in his last six games against Sacramento, including a 43-point effort in a 110-108 loss on Feb. 27, 2005. The Wizards’ point guard has not been as good on the road this season, though, averaging 24.5 points—9.3 less than his mark at home.

Washington is playing the third of a four-game road trip. The Wizards have dropped seven of their last eight trips to Sacramento, but won both meetings between the teams last season.

This contest concludes a three-game homestand for the Kings, who will try to avoid their fifth loss in six games at Arco Arena.

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Thursday, Dec 21