Trevor Ariza barely has a voice left after struggling with the flu for the last week. In his last three games, he has been a non-factor on the offensive end. He's shooting 4-for-24 from the field, and that includes 1-for-12 on three-point attempts.
When asked how the Wizards underperformed in Wednesday's overtime loss at home to the Charlotte Bobcats, Ariza paused a long time. He even took time to cough in between. "We didn't come out with an intent to step on their throats, and that's what they did," Ariza said about falling behind quickly by as many as 20 points in the first half. "That's what they came out to do to us. ... I can't say we weren't prepared. We knew what this game meant."
He wouldn't use illness as a reason for his play, but after 39 minutes it was painfully obvious that Ariza wasn't himself.
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“He fought. He’s fighting being under the weather," Wizards coach Randy Wittman said.
The Wizards have fallen to the No. 7 seed in the East and have two winnable games this weekend starting with the Orlando Magic.
"Just remember what it feels like when you come into this locker room, when we lost (a game) that was important to our team," Ariza said of how Washington can bounce back. "Remember it every day. Try not to let that feeling happen again."
If Ariza continues to suffer from the after-effects of the flu, Wittman should consider making a lineup adjustment with Martell Webster. He can still play but used in key situations when the Wizards need stops, such as at the end and start of quarters. Then sit and save him, and if the Wizards end up in OT like they did vs. Charlotte, Ariza can go contribute five solid minutes to close out.
TV: There is no pregame show Wizards Central. Tipoff from Amway Center is on CSN+, the overflow channel, at 7 p.m. ET. There's also no Wizards Postgame Live following the conclusion. Radio: 1500 AM.
Last game: Wizards (40-38) lost to Charlotte Bobcats 94-88 OT on Wednesday; Magic (23-55) beat Brooklyn Nets 115-111 on Wednesday.
Last meeting: Washington won 105-101 OT in Orlando on March 14, highlighted by a game-saving block from Bradley Beal on Jameer Nelson with 66 seconds left. Season series: Tied 3-0.
Projected starting lineups: Wizards –- PG John Wall, SG Bradley Beal, SF Trevor Ariza, PF Trevor Booker, C Marcin Gortat. Magic –- PG Jameer Nelson, SG Arron Afflalo, SF Moe Harkless, PF Kyle O'Quinn, C Dewayne Dedmon.
X-factor: PF Nene played 17 minutes in his first action since Feb. 23 but still is on a minutes restriction.
Around the bend: The Wizards return to D.C. immediately after the game and will play the Milwaukee Bucks at Verizon Center on Saturday (CSN, 7).