Monday, February 23, 2004

Let the finger pointing begin.

Following Washington’s worst loss of the season, a 113-85 manhandling at MCI Center last night by a Milwaukee Bucks team that rarely wins away from home, the Wizards’ locker room boiled over with open hostility.

Although no names were mentioned, there was nothing covert about the digs between Kwame Brown and Gilbert Arenas.

“To me, it seems like guys are just going out to get numbers,” said Brown, who finished with six points and two rebounds. “We’re not passing. If you look at the little bit of wins that we do have, we have 20-plus assists. In games that we don’t care and all, we have one guy with OK numbers, but he’s shooting. We’ve got guys whining and complaining about offense, but that’s not basketball. It makes me sick.”

Arenas didn’t want to hear any of that and answered in kind.

“Everybody is getting the same amount of touches,” said Arenas, who finished with a team-high 21 points on 7-for-21 shooting, six assists and six turnovers. “If you ain’t converting, you ain’t converting, you know. Last time I checked I passed him the ball like six or seven times; he passed it to somebody else right under the basket. I don’t know where he’s coming from right there. I mean, I guess he didn’t have 20 tonight. I don’t know.”

Brown and Arenas may be able to shake hands today, but that alone won’t begin to cure the team’s woes.

The loss was Washington’s fifth in a row, equaling its longest losing streak of the season, no small accomplishment considering the Wizards have had four losing streaks of at least four games.

In this five-game spiral the Wizards (16-38) have crafted a laundry list of reasons, many of them repeating night after night. The one constant has been a porous defense, something that was on display in abundance last night.

Losers of seven consecutive road games before last night, the Bucks — one of two teams that have lost at home to the Wizards since Dec.6 — became the fourth team in the last five games to shoot 53 percent or better from the floor against Washington.

In the process, they also extended the Wizards’ league-leading total of double-digit losses to 26. Washington has lost nine games this season — including four of their last five — by 20 points or more.

The Bucks’ eighth road victory of the season required little effort. They trailed by no more than two points, and that lasted all of 16 seconds after Jared Jeffries (10 points) hit a hook shot to put the Wizards ahead 35-33.

Juan Dixon was the only other Wizards starter besides Arenas to score in double figures, finishing with 10 points.

All-Star guard Michael Redd led six Milwaukee players in double figures with 25 points.

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