- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Washington Wizards forward Antawn Jamison never has any problem finding motivation.

Not after returning from a 1-3 road trip. Not with the Wizards at 15-49 for the season. And not with teams like New Orleans and Orlando visiting Verizon Center during a three-game homestand that begins against the Hornets on Wednesday.

“The schedule is what the schedule is, but I see it as a challenge,” said Jamison, whose team snapped a five-game losing streak Monday with a win at Minnesota. “The thing I remind the young guys of is the teams coming in here are playing for something. New Orleans for a better seed in the West. Orlando’s trying to catch Boston. So let’s try to jump on these higher-ranking teams early in the first half and try to be a spoiler.”

The 39-23 Hornets hold the sixth spot in the Western Conference playoff race. They stood a half-game back of both Utah and Portland for the fourth spot entering Tuesday. In addition to the chance to ruin things for the Hornets, Jamison welcomes the opportunity to measure himself against All-Star forward David West, who this season averages 20.3 points and 8.3 rebounds.

“I’m gonna have David West coming at me,” said Jamison, the Wizards’ leading scorer (21.7) and rebounder (9.1). “It’s about pride and proving yourself. So the goal for me is to individually outplay my opponent every night and for us as a team to play to win.”

The Wizards - last in the Eastern Conference - have plenty at stake for Friday’s game against Orlando even with the season well out of hand. Washington has lost its first three meetings with the Magic this season - part of its 0-13 record in the Southeast Division. No team has gone winless in its division since the NBA realigned in 2004-05.

Jamison expects the Magic to attack with a sense of urgency because they rank third in the Eastern Conference and trail Boston for second place by 1 1/2 games.

“Motivation’s not a problem for me,” Jamison said. “Even though our season hasn’t gone the way we wanted, teams are coming after us, seeing us as a game they should easily win. These teams are bringing their ‘A’ games, so we should, too.”

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