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News » Wizards end drought in division

Wizards end drought in division

Wizards end drought in division
The Washington Wizards avoided making history Wednesday. The bad kind.

With only a couple of opportunities left to avert becoming the first NBA team to go winless in its division, the Wizards overcame a shallow bench to pull off a 95-93 victory over the visiting Charlotte Bobcats.

The victory was the first for the Wizards (17-56) in 15 games against Southeast Division opponents this season.

With 27 points and eight rebounds from Antawn Jamison and 23 points from reserve guard Nick Young, the Wizards rallied from a 20-point second-quarter deficit and held off a fourth-quarter charge by Charlotte.

The Bobcats' poor free throw shooting down the stretch and three blown layups in the final 14 seconds also aided the Wizards' effort. Washington, meanwhile, committed five turnovers in the final minute but hung on for the win.

"It wasn't exactly what I'd call artistic or elegant, but a win is a win," Wizards coach Ed Tapscott said. "What I did like is tonight we really fought. We really brought some energy and competitiveness tonight. We were struggling, didn't have a lot of players, had some guys playing out of position at times and logging more minutes than they ever have, but I thought we really fought hard. And I will say with a great sense of pride, we won the third quarter, which maybe is one of the keys to getting wins."

The Wizards again were without guard/forward Caron Butler (strained left hamstring), guard Juan Dixon (strained right Achilles tendon) and forward/center Darius Songaila (pinched nerve in neck). It was the seventh consecutive game Butler missed, Songalia's second straight and the third in the last four for Dixon.

That trio joined inactives Gilbert Arenas, Brendan Haywood, Etan Thomas (knee) and DeShawn Stevenson (back), leaving the Wizards with eight healthy players.

Washington was forced to go with its 16th different starting lineup of the season. For the second straight game, the frontcourt consisted of forwards Dominic McGuire and Jamison and Andray Blatche at center. But in the backcourt, Mike James moved from point guard to shooting guard, Young went back to the bench and Javaris Crittenton started at point guard.

Tapscott said replacing Young, who had started the previous game, wasn't a move made because of poor play by the second-year player. Instead it was aimed at giving the Wizards a scoring option off the bench, and score Young did. After not playing in the first quarter, Young torched the Bobcats for 18 points on 6-for-8 shooting and helped the Wizards come back from a 55-35 deficit to pull within 57-50 at halftime.

Washington closed out the second quarter on a 6-0 run and then opened the second half with a 13-6 run capped by a 3-pointer from Mike James that tied the game at 63-63 with 6:25 left in the third.

After taking a 78-77 lead two minutes into the fourth, the Wizards never trailed again. The Bobcats threatened, however, cutting what had been a 87-79 advantage to 91-87 with 1:44 left. Charlotte missed six of 13 fourth-quarter foul shots but still had a chance thanks to rookie D.J. Augustin.

With 46 seconds left, Augustin made a pair of free throws, stole the ball and set up Raymond Felton for a jumper that pulled Charlotte within 93-91.

Then Augustin came up with yet another steal as the Wizards tried to get the ball up the court. Gerald Wallace missed a shot in traffic, however, and Jamison came down with the rebound and was fouled.

Jamison made the first free throw but intentionally missed the second to try to milk the clock.

Wallace made a layup on the other end and drew a foul from Dominic McGuire in the process. But he missed the foul shot, and the Bobcats then airballed two putbacks - one by Emeka Okafor and a second by Boris Diaw - before Jamison came down with his eighth rebound of the game and was fouled with less than a second left.

"I think in both instances guys rushed their shots," Jamison said of Charlotte's late misses. "They didn't realize they were going to be wide open and rushed. I've been in that situation before. Fortunately we were finally fortunate enough to get a break because a lot of them have gone against us so far. But we kept our heads up and we fought."

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: March 26, 2009


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