The Washington Wizards showed they can win a game without Gilbert Arenas. They'd prefer if they don't have to do it twice.
The surging Wizards expect to get Arenas back in the lineup Tuesday night when they host Philadelphia.
After opening the season with five consecutive defeats, Washington (4-5) is now looking to even its record with its fifth straight win.
Arenas sat out the Wizards' most recent victory - a 109-90 rout of Portland on Saturday - due to lingering complications from offseason knee surgery. He has had fluid removed from the knee twice in three weeks, but Wizards coach Eddie Jordan expects his star back to face the 76ers.
"It seems like he's going to play," said Jordan after practice on Monday. "Our policy is that whenever we can give him some time off, we will."
Washington has to feel confident in itself regardless of Arenas' status. The Wizards have held their opponent to exactly 90 points three times during their winning streak, and limited Minnesota to 89 in the other game.
After allowing an Eastern Conference-worst 104.3 points per game last season, the Wizards are allowing just 96.7 points in 2007-08.
They've also scored more than 100 points in each victory.
Caron Butler finished with just 13 points against the Blazers - well below his 21.4 average -, but Antawn Jamison stepped up with a season-high 30.
"I think guys really got extra focused," Jamison said. "To miss what Gil does on a night-to-night basis is a total blow."
The Sixers (3-6) have also taken advantage of the Trail Blazers' trip to the East Coast. Philadelphia rallied to defeat Portland 92-88 on Friday to snap a four-game losing streak.
Philadelphia missed its first 14 shots of the game and trailed by as many as 25 points before beginning its comeback. Louis Williams scored all 19 of his points in the second half, and Andre Iguodala had a team-high 22 points for the 76ers, who scored 65 points in the second half.
"I've never been involved in a game like that,'' said Sixers coach Maurice Cheeks. "The first half was dismal and we just hung in there, we stayed together and it just says something about the character they have.''
Scoring has been a problem so far for Philadelphia, which is averaging just 89.1 points per game. Injuries to forwards Kyle Korver (groin strain) and Jason Smith (sprained ankle) have compounded the problem, but the rally against Portland has given the team some hope.
"A game like this creates energy for us and for the city," Williams said. "Now we've got to take this energy into the next game."
The Wizards have won three straight meetings with the 76ers overall, and haven't lost at home to Philadelphia since April 9, 2005.
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