- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 14, 2006

With just 21 games left in the regular season, Washington Wizards forward Antawn Jamison admits he’s having fun keeping an eye on the teams fighting for playoff spots in the Eastern Conference, including his own.

But if Jamison had his way, the Wizards would be waiting out the fight with a playoff berth already secure. That, of course, would require some consistency, something Washington has yet to find this season.

“We shouldn’t be at this point,” Jamison said yesterday after practice. “We have won some games against some pretty good teams, and then we’ve gone out and played some pretty bad basketball. But our season is winding down. The majority of our games are on the road, and we haven’t played consistently away from home.”

Among the top eight teams in the Eastern Conference going into last night’s games, the Wizards (31-30) are the only team without 10 road victories (9-19) this season.

Unless the Wizards, currently seeded sixth, can reverse this trend, their upcoming stretch of games could be problematic. Thirteen of their remaining games are on the road, including 12 of the final 16.

As Jamison says, the Wizards have been inconsistent. While they have beaten teams like Detroit (twice), Phoenix and San Antonio, they also have lost to Charlotte and Portland. And while they are coming off of a win over Detroit, they also have lost five of their last seven games.

Perhaps the best example came during the first month of the season, when the Wizards pulled out a double-overtime win at Detroit, then followed it up with a stinker against Charlotte, falling on the road 100-82.

The Wizards hope they don’t have similar problems with the Bobcats (18-46) tonight in their second trip to Charlotte Bobcats Arena this season. Tonight’s game, oddly, is the first of two straight against Charlotte; the teams play again at Verizon Center tomorrow.

Winning both would be helpful.

“We need to win the games that we are supposed to win, and every game becomes important,” Wizards guard Antonio Daniels said. “It has now become a pre-playoff schedule, and the games are a lot more important.”

Some good news emerged out of the Wizards’ practice yesterday. Jared Jeffries practiced, and depending how his strained calf feels this morning, the Wizards believe he will be available to start.

That would allow Daniels to move back to the bench. In any case, Daniels has been playing so well that Jordan conceded yesterday he will continue to see big minutes. In his last two games, Daniels has scored a season-high 19 (Miami) and 16 points (Detroit), respectively.

“He’s played extremely well for us,” Jordan said of Daniels, who has scored in double figures in six straight games. “He’s a veteran, and he is playing with a purpose right now. And Jared makes it hard on people. Most teams just aren’t used to playing against a 6-11 two guard.”

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