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Saturday, April 16, 2005; Page D10

WHO'S NEXT

vs. Charlotte

Tomorrow, 1 p.m.

_____Eastern Conference_____
The Wizards and Bulls are vying for fourth place in the Eastern Conference, which carries home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs. Washington holds the tiebreaker over Chicago.

Team W-L Pct. GB
4. Chicago 46-34 .575 -
5. Wizards 45-35 .563 1

REMAINING GAMES
Bulls (2): Tonight, vs. Knicks; tomorrow, at Pacers.
Wizards (2): Tonight, at Nets; tomorrow, at Knicks.


_____Wizards Basics_____
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WWRC-1260

Gilbert Arenas for league's most valuable player? Coach Eddie Jordan asks, why not?

Arenas, who ranks seventh in the league in scoring at 25.6 points, has started 77 of the Wizards' 79 games this season and helped keep the team afloat through injuries to all-star forward Antawn Jamison (right knee tendinitis) and guard Larry Hughes (broken right thumb), among others. "Just looking back to see where we are and what he's done -- I think out of respect to him -- I think he should have some consideration," Jordan said of his all-star point guard. "Not to say he should be MVP, at least give him consideration." Miami's Shaquille O'Neal and Phoenix's Steve Nash are considered the front-runners for the award, but Jordan said, "if they're considering five to 10 guys, [Arenas] should be right there." . . .

Jordan said he is hopeful to have guard Anthony Peeler (right knee tendinitis) back before the end of the regular season, possibly by tomorrow's home finale against Charlotte. "It's important to the team to have him playoff ready," Jordan said. "I think [Peeler] will be ready to play for the playoffs. I would assume, with all the things that have happened, with all our injuries, our trainer [ Eric Waters] has been a miracle worker." Peeler, a 14-year veteran, has been in 50 playoff games -- more than three times the combined playoff experience of the rest of the Wizards roster (Jamison and Hughes have been in 13 combined playoff games). "He's like a guy that they can look to, and he takes it upon himself to give advice," Jordan said. . . . Former Washington Bullet and current player development coach Harvey Grant was on the franchise's last playoff team in 1997. Grant said he didn't think this Wizards team would be a "one-hit wonder." "In '97, I think we were older. And I think, by this team being young, very athletic, I think this team will be around the next three or four years. They've got more energy than we had," Grant said. "I thought [the 1997 team] would be together another year or two, but in this business, it's a crazy business, things don't happen the way you want it to happen."

-- Michael Lee


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