The Washington Wizards played much better in their second game of the season than they did in their opener, but they're still looking for their first victory.
Facing a Milwaukee Bucks team that may be missing its leading scorer could help.
Still trying to get on track without their own star guard, the Wizards hope to build on a strong offensive effort in their last game when they visit Milwaukee on Wednesday.
The Wizards have qualified for the playoffs for four consecutive seasons, but with Gilbert Arenas sidelined again following knee surgery, Washington (0-2) didn't look like a playoff team in its first game last Wednesday, falling 95-85 at home to New Jersey.
The Wizards bounced back offensively at Detroit on Saturday, shooting 52 percent from the field in a 117-109 loss to the Pistons, who allowed fewer points than any other NBA team last season. While Washington struggled to slow down Detroit and was outrebounded 49-24, Wizards forward Antawn Jamison had 24 points and Nick Young added 23 off the bench.
"It was a big improvement from game one, and that's what we are looking for - improvement," Washington coach Eddie Jordan said. "I know we lost the game, but there were a lot of positive signs - for us to score 109 points against a very good defensive team means we are making strides."
Milwaukee (2-2) is also hoping for improvement, having missed the playoffs each of the past two seasons, and the Bucks have shown positive signs with a pair of road victories already this season.
They won 94-86 at New York on Sunday, but guard Michael Redd sprained his ankle in the third quarter and remains uncertain for Wednesday's contest.
"It hurts right now. It hurts," Redd said after the game. "Just got to take it day by day, continue to get treatment on it. Little swollen, but I didn't hear anything crack or anything."
Redd had 16 points on Sunday before the injury and had averaged 23.0 points in the season's first three games. He's been the Bucks' leading scorer each of the past five seasons.
Milwaukee still managed to hold off the Knicks without Redd, as Richard Jefferson and Ramon Sessions each scored 18 points and the Bucks held New York to 37 percent shooting from the field.
Jefferson has shot just 34.5 percent in his first four games with his new team after coming over from New Jersey in an offseason trade, but he may need to improve if the Bucks are going to compensate for Redd's offense.
"You don't ever want anyone getting hurt and I'm not trying to be unsympathetic to guys that are hurt, but it happens to guys on all teams," Bucks coach Scott Skiles told his team's official Web site. "You hope it doesn't, but it does and like I said it provides opportunities for other people to step up and play well."
The Bucks and Wizards split four meetings last season, with Washington earning a 101-77 win at the Bradley Center on Jan. 4 with Redd sidelined.
But Milwaukee overcame 40 points by Caron Butler to win 105-102 in overtime without Redd on Jan. 27, then survived a 4-of-16 shooting night by Redd for a 110-109 win at Washington in the most recent meeting on April 2.
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