Washington (8-16) at Phoenix (17-9)

Mostly Cloudy Currently: Phoenix, AZ
Temp: 111° F
  • Game info: 9:00 pm EST Sat Dec 19, 2009
  • TV: CSMA, FSAZ
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Washington Wizards finally ended a string of agonizing losses, and they accomplished it on the road.

Earning a win in their next game away from home would be quite an accomplishment.

In the finale of a four-game Western trip, Washington will attempt to hand the Phoenix Suns their first home loss Saturday night.

The Wizards (8-16) had lost six straight - all by four points or fewer - before Gilbert Arenas(notes) carried them to a 118-109 victory against short-handed Golden State on Friday night.

Arenas posted season highs of 45 points and 13 assists, and Caron Butler(notes) added a season-best 28 points and 10 rebounds.

“We needed to get out of Washington and refocus,” said Arenas, who is averaging a team-best 22.0 points after knee problems limited him to 15 games the previous two seasons. “People off the street say ‘Why are you guys losing? Get it together!’ You can get away from that when you go on a trip and it’s just you and your team.”

The last time he visited Phoenix, Arenas nearly set a career high. He scored 54 points in Washington’s 144-139 overtime victory Dec. 22, 2006.

The Wizards may need a similar performance Saturday if they hope to deny Phoenix a 10-0 start at U.S. Airways Center. They’re also trying to snap a six-game skid to the Suns.

Although Phoenix remains the NBA’s only unbeaten home team, it has struggled for sustained momentum because of its struggles on the road, which continued with Thursday night’s 105-102 defeat in Portland.

The Suns (17-9) led the Blazers by 11 points heading into the final quarter, but were outscored 35-21 in the 12 fourth en route to a 105-102 defeat. Steve Nash’s(notes) tying 3-point attempt at the buzzer bounced off the rim as the team suffered its sixth straight loss away from home.

“We can’t play good for 36 minutes,” coach Alvin Gentry said. “We have to play well for 48 minutes. That’s the only way you win on the road.”

Gentry’s team does play 10 of its next 12 at home, where it’s scored 100 points or more in 35 straight games since Jan. 2, a streak that includes a 128-96 victory over the Wizards on March 21.

Suns guard Jason Richardson(notes) scored 35 points in that victory and had a team-high 22 in a 102-90 victory at Washington on Nov. 8. However, he might miss Saturday’s game with a sprained right hand.

Richardson played despite the injury Tuesday night but scored just three points and shot 1 of 7 in a 116-104 home victory over San Antonio. That led Gentry to sit him for Thursday’s game.

Richardson is averaging 25.3 points on 55.3 percent shooting in his last six games against Washington.

Amare Stoudemire has fared similarly versus the Wizards, averaging 24.3 points and shooting 68.4 percent in his last four games against them.

Wizards forward Antawn Jamison(notes) suffered a stinger on the right side of his neck after colliding with Golden State’s Stephen Curry(notes) in the second quarter Friday. He returned late in the third, but saw his streak of three straight 30-point efforts snapped as he finished with 10.

Jamison missed last month’s meeting with the Suns due to a left shoulder injury that delayed his season debut until Nov. 18.

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Saturday, Dec 19