With Caron Butler and Gilbert Arenas improving, the Washington Wizards are quickly digging themselves out of an early hole.
The Wizards (3-5) look to win their fourth straight game as they play host to the road-weary Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday night at the Verizon Center.
Since opening the season with five consecutive losses, Washington has won three straight including a 105-89 victory over Minnesota on Friday behind a season-high 29 points from Butler and 27 from Arenas.
Washington shot a season-high 51.9 percent (40-of-77) from the field, and for the third consecutive game the Wizards scored at least 100 after averaging 90.4 points during the losing streak.
Arenas is coming off left knee surgery and Butler is bouncing back from a broken right hand that shortened their 2006-07 season.
During the losing streak, Butler averaged 20.4 points on 46.9 percent shooting while Arenas averaged 20.8 points on 36.0 percent shooting. Both have improved since, with Butler averaging 26.0 points on 56.9 shooting and Arenas 25.0 points on 44.2 percent shooting in the three wins.
"We started off worse than we can imagine, started off slow," said Arenas. "Now we're picking up some momentum. We're just trying to get out of this November alive, because we know December and January is our time."
The Wizards haven't won four straight since Jan. 15-20. They also were swept by Portland (4-5) in last season's series and have dropped nine of the last 14 meetings since 2001-02.
The Trail Blazers, however, still are winless on the road this season after blowing a seemingly insurmountable lead en route to a 92-88 defeat at Philadelphia on Friday.
Portland led by as many as 25 and still had a 17-point lead entering the fourth quarter. After holding Philadelphia to just 27 first-half points and forcing the Sixers to miss 15 consecutive shots spanning the first two quarters, the Blazers couldn't stop much of anything.
Portland was outscored 36-15 in the final quarter and it allowed Philadelphia to shoot 75.7 percent (25-of-33) during the second half.
"I don't know where to start," Portland's Brandon Roy said. "It's tough to explain. We played well for three quarters, but the fourth quarter our intensity did not match theirs. We were nervous with the ball, nobody wanted to shoot; nobody wanted to bring the ball up. They overall dominated us down the stretch."
The loss was Portland's ninth straight on the road stretching back to an 85-78 win at Houston on April 6.
Roy and LaMarcus Aldridge each had 25 points against Philadelphia, but didn't get much help. Martell Webster was the only other Blazer to score in double figures as he finished with 10.
Roy, the reigning rookie of the year, averaged 13.0 points and 7.5 rebounds against Washington last season while Aldridge shot 64.3 percent from the field (18-of-28) and scored a total of 43 points.
Copyright 2007 by STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited