Wizards Slightly Favored by Bettors Tonight Over Clippers
Gilbert Arenas has been playing some of the best basketball of his career over the past month, but the Washington Wizards' next opponent has given him problems lately.
Arenas and the Wizards look to avoid losing their fourth straight game to the Los Angeles Clippers when the teams meet at the Verizon Center on Friday.
Oddsmakers have made Washington -6 point spread favorites
A day after being named the Eastern Conference player of the month for December, Arenas hit a 32-footer as time expired to lift Washington (18-13) to a 108-105 victory over Milwaukee on Wednesday.
The two-time All-Star finished with 32 points, a season-high 11 rebounds and eight assists, and is working himself into MVP contention. He led the Wizards to a 12-4 record in December, averaging 34.1 points in those games.
"He's one hell of a player, and he steps up all the time and makes big shots, and you just got to tip your hat to him," said Caron Butler, who had 29 points, seven rebounds and a career-high nine assists against the Bucks. "He's one of the best players out there right now."
Arenas is third in the NBA in scoring with 30.3 points per game, and Washington is the second-highest scoring team in the league with 107.7 a contest.
"He's amazing, that's it. He's an amazing player, he's a heck of a scorer." coach Eddie Jordan said. "He's got great timing, and he's got a good feel."
Arenas, though, has struggled recently against the Clippers (15-17).
He averaged just 17.5 points - his lowest against any opponent - and shot 27.0 percent from the floor while hitting 2-of-13 3-pointers in two games against Los Angeles in 2005-06.
The Wizards lost both of those games and were swept by Los Angeles in a season series for the first time since 1992-93. They've lost three straight to the Clippers, but have never dropped four in a row to them.
Arenas is averaging 20.8 points in 13 career games against the Clippers, scoring less than 20 in eight of those contests.
The Wizards, however, are one of the best home teams in the NBA and the Clippers are one of the worst clubs on the road. Washington has won five straight at the Verizon Center to improve to 12-3 there this season, while Los Angeles is 3-11 away from home.
Los Angeles opened a six-game trip with a 91-86 loss to Orlando on Tuesday, but beat Miami 110-95 on Wednesday. The Clippers have not won consecutive road games all season.
They shot a season-high 60.5 percent on Wednesday and topped the 100-point mark for just the third time this season on the road.
Elton Brand had 28 points and shot 10-for-14 from the field against the Heat. He is averaging 24.4 points and hitting 66.7 percent of his shots in the last five games.
Although his numbers have been up recently, Brand is scoring 19.8 points per game after averaging a career-high 24.7 last season.
"Elton Brand is playing very well right now," Los Angels coach Mike Dunleavy said. "Last year I thought he was one of the top two power forwards in the league. This year he got off to a little bit of a slow start, but he has picked it up and is playing great for us."
Brand averaged 31.5 points and 11.0 rebounds while shooting 70.3 percent (26-for-37) from the floor in the two wins over Washington last season.
By: Marc Young - theSpread.com - Email Us
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