Antawn Jamison scored 21 of his 28 points after halftime, Caron Butler made two big baskets down the stretch and the Washington Wizards put together a rare winning streak Monday with a 97-92 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers.
Jamison was 3 for 10 from the field at halftime, but he shot 7 of 11 in the second half in a game that was close throughout. The victory gave the Wizards two wins in a row — only the fourth time they've accomplished that in a distressing season that includes last week's guilty plea to a felony gun charge by three-time All-Star Gilbert Arenas.
Randy Foye added 19 points and Butler had 18 for the Wizards, who made 25 of 28 free throws and shot 52 percent from the field.
Andre Miller scored 20 of his 22 points in the second half before fouling out with 19 seconds to play, LaMarcus Aldridge also scored 22 points and had a season-high 15 rebounds, and Martell Webster added 18 points for the Trail Blazers, who had a two-game winning streak snapped as they opened a four-game road trip.
Portland played again without leading scorer Brandon Roy, who sat out his second straight game with a sore right hamstring.
Neither team led by more than 10, and there were six ties in the fourth quarter alone, but Portland didn't make a field goal in the last four minutes, its final bucket coming on Webster's 3-pointer that put the Trail Blazers ahead 88-85.
After a fast-break layup gave the Wizards a 90-88 lead, the teams went scoreless for nearly 1 1/2 minutes. Butler finally hit a 20-foot jumper with 1:09 to play to put the Wizards ahead by four. Jerryd Bayless answered with two free throws, but Butler's tip-in restored the four-point lead with 43 seconds left.
Bayless got to the line again and made one of two — ending a 13-for-13 run from the line for the Trail Blazers — and Foye's two free throws at the other end put Washington ahead by five with 19 seconds remaining, enough of a cushion to pull out the win.
Both teams were slow to adjust to the 1 p.m. holiday tip-off. At halftime, the Wizards had five turnovers, five assists and five fouls. For the Trail Blazers, Miller was limited to 12 minutes because of foul trouble. The teams combined to make only two of 13 3-point attempts as Washington took a five-point lead into the break.
The game had much better flow in the second half. Jamison scored the Wizards' first nine points, and Washington soon had a 10-point lead. But Miller started a run of his own, scoring 10 in a row for the Trail Blazers. His jumper cut the lead to one, and Steve Blake — fouled away from the ball — made a free throw to complete an unusual three-point play to tie it at 68 late in the third quarter.
NOTES: The Wizards are 3-5 since Arenas was suspended indefinitely by the NBA for bringing guns to the Verizon Center. ... The game drew a season-low 12,209 to the Verizon Center. ... Washington guard Mike Miller returned again after missing four more games with a calf injury that has bothered him for much of the season. He scored 13 points ... Portland F Nicolas Batum, yet to play this season because of shoulder surgery, said he's aiming to return Jan. 25 against New Orleans. ... Some players wore specially designed shoes for the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. The shoes had green, black and red trim. ... To get his team energized for an early afternoon game, Wizards coach Flip Saunders arranged breakfast for the players. "Hopefully, that'll put a little fuel in their tummies," he said. Not all of them got the memo — Butler arrived in the locker room carrying a McDonald's bag and cup. ... Trail Blazers coach Nate McMillan on the early start: "We got the guys in last night and got them through a workout. We wanted them to try and get lights out at midnight. ... We've got to be early birds this morning."
(This version CORRECTS that Wizards are 3-5, not 3-4, since Arenas' suspension)
Source: AP News