Can the Washington Wizards finally get a win this season when they host the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday at the Verizon Center?
The Wizards are 0-3 and one of the two remaining NBA teams that are winless. The Detroit Pistons are the other and they are at the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday and a win doesn't seem likely.
At least the Wizards have been competitive. They just dropped a home-and-home series against the Boston Celtics, but lost both games by a combined nine points, including an overtime loss in Boston Wednesday.
"There's always progress every game," said rookie guard Bradley Beal, who had his best game as a pro on Wednesday with 16 points. "Our defense is stepping up. Our offense is stepping up. It's just we have to close out games in the end."
In Boston, the Wizards outscored the Celts by eight in the fourth quarter, but got doubled up in the overtime, 12-6.
The Wizards rank 10th in the NBA in opponent's points, but a dismal 28th on the offensive side.
One bright light for Washington early on has been Kevin Seraphin. In his third season, Seraphin, who missed the opener with a strained right calf, has averaged 17.5 ppg. and is playing more minutes than starter Emeka Okafor. It's a continuation from last season when Seraphin averaged 14.1 ppg. as a starter.
The Bucks had their bid for an undefeated season shattered on Wednesday when the Memphis Grizzlies trounced them, 108-90. After two victories to open the season, it was bound to happen sometime.
"If you expect to win and expect to do things right out there, you're never quite sure how much credit to give the other team, or how much you let them do whatever they want," said head coach Scott Skiles. "They did everything better than we did."
One thing the Bucks do better than almost anyone in the league is get scoring from their bench. Milwaukee has three reserves (Mike Dunleavy, Larry Sanders and Beno Udrih) averaging double-figures.
Washington is no slouch in that department either. The Wizards two leading scorers (Seraphin and Jordan Crawford) are both bench players.
Skiles preached defense in the offseason. The Bucks were fifth in scoring last season, and are tied for ninth in the early going of the 2012-13 campaign. But defensively, the Bucks are 20th in the NBA.
It's hard to be a good defensive team when your best defender, Luc Mbah a Moute, is on the shelf, but Milwaukee should post good defensive numbers against the Wizards, a truly bad offense.
The Bucks have won seven of the last nine meetings and three of its last five in Washington.