Gilbert Arenas' outside shot is off track, and so are the Washington Wizards. Having Antawn Jamison and Caron Butler back in the lineup might solve their problems.

Arenas could benefit the most from Washington being back at full strength on Friday as the team tries to avoid a season-high five-game losing streak in a matchup with the Atlanta Hawks.

The Southeast Division-leading Wizards (31-25) fell 92-83 to Miami on Wednesday, matching a season high with their fourth straight loss.

Arenas suffered through a 3-for-18 shooting performance, including 0-for-8 from 3-point range as he was held to 15 points. Over his last three games, Arenas is shooting 21.5 percent from the field and is 4-for-31 from behind the arc.

Arenas was given the day off Thursday.

"It is just a situation where everybody is keying in on him," Butler said. "He is my little brother and I feel bad that I couldn't be out there to help him."

Butler has missed three straight games with back spasms, and Jamison has been sidelined since Jan. 31 with a sprained knee. Both players, however, are expected to return for Friday's game.

"They practiced well," coach Eddie Jordan said Thursday. "Without anything happening overnight, they should be ready to play."

The Wizards, who rank fourth in the NBA with 104.9 points per game, are averaging 92.0 during their four-game skid.

"If the cavalry comes around the corner on Friday or Sunday, it is not guaranteed that we are going to get a win," Jordan said after Wednesday's loss. "Quite frankly, the guys are going to be rusty coming back. They are going to have to find their rhythm, but hopefully they will find it quickly."

Arenas, meanwhile, has been so critical to the team's success this season and is the biggest reason the Wizards are third overall in the Eastern Conference despite their recent slump.

In Washington's wins, Arenas has averaged 33.5 points on 48.1 percent shooting while connecting on 40.7 percent of his 3-point attempts. In losses, he averages 23.2 points on 32.4 percent from the field and 25.6 percent from 3-point range.

The Wizards will be facing an Atlanta club they have beaten in nine of the last 10 meetings.

The Hawks (22-36) have dropped three straight, including a 107-100 loss to New Orleans on Wednesday.

Despite shooting 52.6 percent from the floor and holding New Orleans to 43.4 percent, the Hawks fell for the fifth time in six games. They were outrebounded 46-32 and outscored 22-2 on second-chance opportunities, thanks to New Orleans' 14 offensive rebounds.

"When you got two teams that are trying to fight for playoff spots, they were a little more hungry than we were," Atlanta coach Mike Woodson said. "They got all the hustle plays, and all the second-chance points they got in the second quarter put us way behind in this game."

Josh Smith had 17 points, nine rebounds, nine assists and five blocks for Atlanta, which fell six games below the playoff cutoff. Smith has at least two blocked shots in 11 of his last 12 games and is averaging 3.3 blocks in that stretch.

Joe Johnson, who had 27 points and eight assists Wednesday, is averaging 29.0 points on 50.9 percent shooting over his last five games.

The Hawks are 12-19 on the road, where they've lost three in a row. They have lost six straight at Washington since Dec. 30, 2003.

The Wizards, though, have lost three of their last five games at the Verizon Center, where they're 21-8 this season.

Washington won 96-95 at the Verizon Center on Nov. 28 in the only matchup between these teams this season. They meet again March 7 before closing the season series April 13 in Atlanta.


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