With an upset coach, a team in disarray, and a star guard the subject of an increasingly serious federal investigation, the Wizards will take the floor for the first time in the new year Saturday to host San Antonio - an opponent they haven’t beaten in more than four years.
Washington (10-20) occupies the Southeast Division cellar after allowing an average of 109.0 points in three consecutive losses. After Tuesday’s 110-98 defeat to Oklahoma City, coach Flip Saunders sounded fed up, saying his team needs a “mindset change.”
“Spots will be open,” Saunders said. “If guys don’t like it, that’s fine but that’s the way it’s going to be. I’m not going to sit there, stand there and look at that any more. You evaluate for 30 games where you’re at. Right now, where it’s going, it ain’t getting done.”
“Right now, we stink - and we’re showing it,” he said “You can sit here and talk about it every day, every game, every loss. But until we can turn it around, we stink.”
Arenas was considerably less blunt Friday, posting a series of inarticulate ramblings on his Twitter account in reaction to the ongoing investigation of him and the guns he brought to the Verizon Center. Multiple media reports, citing unidentified sources, reported Arenas and teammate Javaris Crittenton(notes) allegedly drew guns on each other during a locker-room argument over a gambling debt.
The NBA and the Wizards would only confirm that an investigation is taking place - and it’s being led by law enforcement, not the league.
“There is an active investigation by D.C. law enforcement authorities, which we are monitoring closely,” NBA spokesman Tim Frank said in a statement. “We are not taking any independent action at this time.”
A Wizards club in turmoil would appear to be easy pickings for a Spurs team on a roll. San Antonio (19-11) has won four straight and 10 of 12 following a 9-9 start to the season.
The Spurs have also defeated the Wizards eight consecutive times since a 110-95 loss at Washington on Nov. 12, 2005. They routed the Wizards 106-84 at home Nov. 21, when Tony Parker(notes) had 17 points to lead five San Antonio players in double figures.
Parker had 15 points and nine assists Thursday night to help the Spurs earn their most lopsided win of the season, 108-78 at home over Miami. Tim Duncan(notes) scored a team-high 23 points and added 10 rebounds, but San Antonio’s players didn’t seem completely satisfied after beating an opponent with a winning record for the only time in December.
“I believe that we got a lot to improve to really become contenders and be respected as one of the best team in the league,” Manu Ginobili(notes) said after scoring 18 points off the bench. “We’re not that steady so far this season, but we’re on the right track.”
Duncan has been San Antonio’s leading scorer in seven of the last 12 games, averaging 20.9 points in that stretch - slightly higher than his 19.9 season mark.
Arenas scored a game-high 18 points in the November loss to the Spurs.