The Charlotte Bobcats continue to inch closer to finishing with the lowest winning percentage in league history.
While Monday night's matchup in the nation's capital appears to be their best chance to avoid that embarrassing feat and snap their franchise-worst losing streak, the Washington Wizards suddenly find themselves on a bit of roll.
In the second game of a back-to-back, the Bobcats try to avoid a 21st consecutive loss and a four-game season sweep at the hands of a Wizards team seeking a fourth straight win for the first time in four seasons.
Charlotte (7-56) suffered yet another defeat Sunday, falling 114-88 at home to Pacific Division cellar dweller Sacramento. The Bobcats, who allowed the Kings to shoot 55.2 percent from the floor and gave up 78 points in the paint, have been outscored by an average of 15.6 points during their skid.
"It's difficult," coach Paul Silas said. "We only have three big men (because of injuries) and it's been hard on these guys to keep going. That's basically all we have. When a team comes like they have with big guys and they're banging it is hard."
Following this contest, the Bobcats visit Orlando on Wednesday before closing their schedule at home against New York the following night. They need to win one of their final three games to avoid the NBA's all-time worst winning percentage - the 1972-73 Philadelphia 76ers currently own that dubious distinction for finishing 9-73 (.110).
"The biggest thing now is having some pride as men," forward Tyrus Thomas said. "Not so much as basketball players. We've got to fight it out every second until the horn blows."
While the Wizards sit second from the bottom of the league with a 17-46 record, they've had their way with Charlotte of late, taking four straight in the series and all three matchups this season by an average of 16.0 points.
Winners of five of seven overall - including a 113-85 victory at Charlotte on April 9 - the Wizards are playing better these days. After posting victories at Chicago and over Milwaukee, Washington prevailed 86-84 at Miami on Saturday thanks to Nene's game-winning bucket with 0.5 seconds remaining.
"The last play of the game is part of the process of paying attention and executing out of a timeout, and we couldn't have done that any better," coach Randy Wittman said. "It was a heck of a find by John (Wall) and Nene to get it to go down. The guys have fought all year long. It's their persona and it's a good trait to have, in terms to wins and losses."
Playing in just his 14th game after spending time in the D-league, Cartier Martin led the way with a career-high 22 points for Washington while Wall added 13 points and 13 assists for his team-leading 14th double-double.
"We already know Cartier can make shots. That's why we really wanted him back on the team," Wall said. "He added other things like attacking the basket, running the floor, and playing defense. He also gives us another big man that can defend and rebound the ball."
Washington hasn't won four in a row since Dec. 9-15, 2007.