Washington (5-5) at Charlotte (6-4)

Fair Currently: Charlotte, NC
Temp: 72° F
  • Game info: 7:00 pm EST Wed Nov 21, 2007
  • TV: CSMA
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The surging Washington Wizards won’t have Gilbert Arenas back in the lineup for three months. In the meantime, they are focused on moving above .500 for the first time this season.

With Arenas out for an extended period of time following knee surgery, the Wizards look for their sixth straight victory and first winning record of 2007-08 when they visit the Charlotte Bobcats on Wednesday.

Washington (5-5), which hasn’t won six straight since a seven-game run Jan. 2-15, 2005, beat Philadelphia 116-101 on Tuesday.

The victory was overshadowed the next day, however, as Arenas has his left knee operated on. He had been experiencing swelling and soreness in the knee which he had surgically repaired late last season. After sitting out the past two games, Arenas underwent an MRI on Wednesday morning and had the procedure done later in the afternoon.

Without Arenas, who’s averaging 22.4 points, Washington’s current task gets even tougher. The Wizards are in the midst of a tough stretch of schedule, with Tuesday’s contest being the first of four games in five days.

After Wednesday’s game, Washington returns home to face Golden State before starting a four-game road trip the next day.

The Wizards managed to find offense from unexpected sources the last two games with Arenas out - something they’ll have to make a habit of for a while if they want to continue winning. On Tuesday, Washington’s reserves scored 51 points, led Andray Blatche, who had a career-high 26.

Blatche, whose previous high was 14, finished 12-for-14 from the field and added eight rebounds.

“With Gilbert out, I wanted to come and bring some energy,” he said.

Antawn Jamison and DeShawn Stevenson each had 19 points, and the Wizards, who led by as many as 37, shot a season-high 57.3 percent.

Washington looks to extend its winning streak against a Charlotte team that has won consecutive games after dropping four of its previous six. The Bobcats (6-4) stayed above the .500 mark with a 101-92 victory over Portland on Monday.

Gerald Wallace scored 27 points while Jason Richardson and Raymond Felton each added 24 for the Bobcats, who forced 18 turnovers and outscored the Trail Blazers 20-9 on fast break points.

“We’ve got scorers from all ends,” said Felton, who also had 10 assists. “All of us are capable of putting the ball in the basket.”

It was the third straight game that Wallace scored 27 points, and the forward is shooting 54.5 percent (36-for-66) and averaging 25.0 points in his last four games.

Wallace is averaging a team-high 19.5 points, but dominated the last three meetings against the Wizards last season. He averaged 33.7 points and 13.3 rebounds, shooting 59.2 percent (42-for-71) and posting double-doubles in each contest.

Washington and Charlotte split their four meetings last season. Arenas averaged 35.0 points the first three games before suffering a sprained left knee in a collision with Wallace in the first quarter of their April 4 meeting that ended the All-Star guard’s season.

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Wednesday, Nov 21