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In the Weaker East, They're Still in It

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By Ivan Carter
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, February 26, 2008

NEW ORLEANS, Feb. 25 -- It's a good thing for the Wizards that they are in the Eastern Conference. Despite a recent eight-game losing streak and a stretch of 10 losses in 11 games, Washington entered Monday's game in New Orleans in sixth place, 1 1/2 games ahead of New Jersey.

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In the Western Conference, the Wizards would be getting ready for the draft lottery. New Orleans entered Monday's game with a record of 37-17, the best mark through 54 games in franchise history yet were in third place and only 4 1/2 games ahead of ninth-place Denver (33-22).

The pressure to keep pace with the teams in the West led the Hornets to trade valuable backup point guard Bobby Jackson to Houston last Thursday for guards Bonzi Wells and Mike James.

Meantime, the situation in the East has made it easier for Wizards guard Gilbert Arenas to take his time while recovering from left knee surgery.

"Even though we've struggled lately, we're still right there in sixth," Arenas said. "As long as we can get some wins here and there we'll be right where we want to be."

No timetable has been set for Arenas's return, but he made the trip with the team and was working out prior to Monday's game by playing a game of one-on-one with rookie Nick Young. . . .

The Wizards visit Houston (36-20) tonight. The Rockets beat the Wizards, 92-84, at Verizon Center on Jan. 8.

UP NEXT: Today at Rockets 8:30 p.m. Comcast SportsNet+, WTEM-980

Friday at Bulls 8 p.m. WBDC-50, WTEM-980

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