Misleading Success

The Washington Wizards limped into the 2007 NBA playoffs without injured stars Gilbert Arenas and Caron Butler, and were promptly swept in the first round. Arenas and Butler are now healthy, but three games into the 2007-08 season the Wizards have yet to win a game.

Washington shoots for its first win since last regular season Thursday night when it visits the New Jersey Nets.

Oddsmakers from Bodog have made New Jersey -6.5 point spread favorites (NBA Odds) for todays game, the over/under has been set at 192 total points (Matchup). Our public betting information shows that 53% of bets for this game have been placed on New Jersey -6.5 (View NBA Bet Percentages).

It's the worst start for the Wizards (0-3) in 15 years, dating back to their days as the Washington Bullets. Coach Eddie Jordan, though, is not in panic mode yet.

"We can bounce back,'' Jordan said. "If this was three in a row in January, there wouldn't be red flags. Since it is three in a row in the beginning of the season, we aren't in a rut. We are feeling good and we will bounce back.'"

The Wizards did just that a year ago, when they recovered from a 4-9 start to have a 29-21 record at the All-Star break - third-best in the Eastern Conference.

Even with Arenas back after a torn meniscus ended his 2006-07 season, the guard's knee still isn't 100 percent. Arenas' surgically repaired knee was drained for the second time in three weeks Wednesday, forcing him to miss practice for a third consecutive day. Still, Jordan expects Arenas to play against New Jersey.

"He just has to keep getting through his therapy, his rehab, and getting some rest when he can," Jordan said.

Butler, meanwhile, has enjoyed an excellent start to the season after his 2006-07 was cut short by a broken hand. The small forward is averaging 20 points over the first three games, including a season-high 23 in Saturday's 94-82 loss to Orlando.

All three losses have come by nine points or more for the Wizards, who are being outscored by 13.6 points per game.

New Jersey (3-1) has also been outscored overall this season, but that figure is a bit misleading. The Nets have won three tight games - against the Bulls, 76ers and Hawks - but their only loss was a 106-69 blowout at home against Toronto on Friday.

They have won twice since that defeat, most recently beating Atlanta 87-82 at home on Tuesday. Richard Jefferson, who has led the Nets in scoring in each game this season, had 25 points.

The small forward - who missed 27 games last year following ankle surgery - is off to the best start of his career, averaging 25.8 points. He's shooting 52 percent from the field and has converted 34-of-35 free-throw attempts.

"He is playing at an All-Star level,'' said eight-time All-Star guard Vince Carter. "He is definitely All-Star caliber and this year is no different. He is playing some of his best basketball. We're going to keep pushing him to keep playing that style and ride it out.''

Carter, however, has been playing well below his usual level. The swingman is averaging a career-low 15.3 points while connecting on just 32.7 percent of his shots, though a sore right thumb could be having an impact on his struggles.

"Vince is not a concern," Nets coach Lawrence Frank told the team's official Web site. "Over the course of time, the cream always rises to the top so Vince is going to be fine."

New Jersey swept four games with Washington last season, with the final two wins coming after the season-ending injuries to Arenas and Butler. The Nets have won five straight overall against the Wizards.

By: Marc Young - theSpread.com - Email Us

More NBA Basketball Coverage from theSpread.com

 - NBA Basketball teams
 - NBA Basketball standings
 - NBA Basketball schedule
 - NBA Basketball scoreboard
 - NBA Basketball injuries
 - NBA Basketball matchups
 - NBA Basketball stats
 - NBA Basketball odds
 - NBA Basketball public betting chart
 - NBA Basketball news wire
 - NBA Basketball top stories
 - NBA Basketball trends
 - AccuScore NBA Basketball predictions
 - Expert NBA Basketball picks
 - Comments and discussion
 - Signup for theSpread.com daily newsletter
 - NBA Basketball Home

NBA Top Stories

Thumbnail Updated NBA Finals Odds After a busy week with the NBA Draft taking place, which team improved their odds to win the 2018 NBA Finals?
Thumbnail Will Fox be a top-5 pick? With the 2017 NBA Drafttakes place later tonight. Where can we expect one of the top prospects, De’Aaron Fox, to land tonight?
Thumbnail Fultz to go to the 76ers? The Boston Celticshave traded out of the No. 1 pick. The Philadelphia 76ersnow hold the top pick once again. Is it a slam dunk who they will take in the NBA...
Thumbnail 2018 NBA Finals Odds After dominating the 2017 NBA Playoffs, will anyone keep the Golden State Warriors from winning the NBA Finals again...
Thumbnail Stephen Curry Game 5 Props Will Stephen Curry bounce back from a poor showing in Game 4 when the Golden State Warriors host the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 5 of the NBA Finals tonight at 9PM...

NBA Headlines

  • HOUSTON (AP) Chris Paul is heading to Houston to join James Harden, giving the Rockets two All-Stars in the backcourt to lead their chase for a championship.
    In the NBA's second blockbuster t...
  • EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (AP) The Los Angeles Lakers have exercised their $1.3 million contract option on guard David Nwaba for the upcoming season.
    The Lakers announced the move Wednesday.
    Nw...
  • AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) The Detroit Pistons have traded swingman Darrun Hilliard to the Houston Rockets in exchange for cash considerations.
    Hilliard appeared in a career-high 39 games last ...
  • SAN ANTONIO (AP) An ex-financial adviser to retired San Antonio Spurs player Tim Duncan has been sentenced to four years in federal prison for defrauding the former NBA star of millions of dollars...
  • CLEVELAND (AP) LeBron James will help tell a story he's still shaping.
    The Cavaliers superstar is teaming with Showtime on a documentary that will examine the modern NBA and the league's impa...

NBA Team Pages