The Indiana Pacers haven't won in nearly three weeks, and their most recent defeat might have been one of the most frustrating all season.

The Pacers look to end their longest losing streak in more than 18 years when they host the Southeast Division-leading Washington Wizards on Wednesday night.

Indiana (29-34) blew a 14-point third-quarter lead in Tuesday's 86-81 loss to Minnesota for its 10th consecutive defeat. The losing streak is the Pacers' longest since they matched a franchise record with 12 straight losses from Jan. 26-Feb. 23, 1989.

"It's disappointing; we had opportunities to get the win," said point guard Jamaal Tinsley, who scored a career-high 37 points. "Ain't nobody going to feel sorry for us. We're all professional, and we have to figure out a way to get out of this slump."

The Pacers, who have not won since a 136-129 double-overtime victory over Milwaukee on Feb. 21, have been outscored by an average of 14.4 points during their skid and have failed to score 100 points in any of the defeats. They have been without leading scorer and rebounder Jermaine O'Neal for the last three games and reserve Marquis Daniels for six, both because of knee injuries.

"We have to stick together and keep our heads up," Pacers rookie forward Shawne Williams said.

Despite their losing streak, the Pacers are tied with New York for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

Indiana will be looking to end its slide against a Washington team that could be without one of its top players. Caron Butler did not practice Tuesday because of a sore left knee and will be a game-time decision.

Butler is averaging career-highs of 19.4 points, 5.2 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 2.1 steals. He missed three games at the end of February with lower back spasms, and the Wizards, who were also without Antawn Jamison at the time, failed to win any of those contests.

Washington has dropped three straight, including Sunday's 106-104 loss at Miami. The Wizards lost on Udonis Haslem's 10-footer in the lane with 0.3 seconds left a day after falling 90-89 to New York on Steve Francis' buzzer-beating 3-pointer.

"We're resilient; you would have thought that we could not come down here and have a chance to win after a heartbreak like last night," coach Eddie Jordan said. "That is what a lot of people thought, and we proved them wrong. We will be fine. We've got a good veteran team."

Gilbert Arenas scored 33 points against Miami, including three free throws with 3.1 seconds left that tied the game. Arenas, whose 28.7 points rank fourth in the league, sat out Tuesday's practice to rest but is expected to play against the Pacers.

Jamison chipped in 26 points and 15 rebounds for Washington, which has a one-half game lead over Miami.


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