Gilbert Arenas spent most of the first half of the season as the Washington
Wizards' offensive leader. He has spent the last few days on the defensive
following his criticism of coach Eddie Jordan.

The Wizards hope to forget about recent troubles when they play their final game before the All-Star break on Wednesday against the Philadelphia 76ers.

Washington (28-21) remains in first place in the Southeast Division, but the team has struggled recently, losing four of its last five. The team's frustrations have been highlighted by personnel issues and in-fighting, which came to a head following Sunday's 94-73 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers.

It was the lowest-scoring game of the season for the Wizards, who lead the Eastern Conference at 106.0 points per game. The team shot 38 percent from the field, the third time in four games the Wizards were held below 40 percent.

"We have a new philosophy now and that is focusing on defense," said Arenas, who scored just nine points and missed all eight of his 3-point attempts while finishing 3-of-15 from the field.

"Right now we are still adjusting to that. At the end of the day, they scored a lot of easy baskets on us."

Arenas, who is averaging 29.0 points, criticized Jordan after the game, saying he was playing "like a robot" for fear of being sat for a defensive mistake. Arenas' teammates tried to diffuse the situation on Monday.

"I talked to him," said Antawn Jamison, who has been sidelined during the 1-4 stretch because of a knee injury. "He's like a little brother you've got to spank every once in a while. I put him in the closet and whooped his (butt) last night."

Caron Butler knows conflict can arise occasionally during a season, but how the team handles it is what matters.

"You're going to have disagreements in the household," he said. "I disagree with my brother all the time. You have to know how to make everything work, and that's what we're doing now."

Jordan took Arenas through a one-on-one film session on Monday to discuss why the Wizards are struggling without Jamison. Arenas didn't comment on the session afterward, but said Tuesday everything was fine between him and Jordan.

"It was blown out of proportion. We had a little bump, and we can fix it now," Arenas said.

"We talked about everything. It was like a tuneup. It was a tuneup for the team. We've lost four out of five. We're going into the All-Star break. This is when teams get lackadaisical, from both sides. Coaching staff felt we were getting lackadaisical, and we felt they were getting lackadaisical. We had a meeting and we got everything straightened out."

Backup center Etan Thomas won't be available Wednesday as he serves the final game of his two-game suspension for punching teammate Brendan Haywood during Friday's practice.

The Wizards beat the Sixers 113-98 on Dec. 8 in the only meeting this season, winning for just the third time in their last 13 trips to Philadelphia. Arenas had 32 points and helped Washington come back from a 20-point second-quarter deficit.

The Sixers (17-35) have lost two straight, including a 106-89 defeat to the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday. Andre Iguodala scored 21 points for Philadelphia, which nearly erased a 30-point deficit in the second half only to see the rally fall short.

"I'm not surprised we came back. We're not going to lay down," said Kyle Korver, who added 18 points.

Philadelphia is 7-6 since Jan. 19, moving ahead of the Boston Celtics for the worst record in the NBA.

Center Steven Hunter will not be available for the Sixers on Wednesday after he dislocated his finger against the Mavericks. He was evaluated Tuesday by a specialist, who recommended surgery, but Hunter is seeking a second opinion.

Hunter had been inserted into the starting lineup over the past 13 games, averaging 8.1 points and 6.1 rebounds.


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