LOS ANGELES -- The Washington Wizards finally made the crucial play at the right time and abruptly ended their eight-game losing streak.
Antawn Jamison scored 29 points and tipped in a missed shot by Antonio Daniels with three-tenths of a second left, giving Washington a 91-89 victory against the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday night.
"It was a gutsy win for us," Daniels said. "We made some big plays when they counted. We were patient and we executed."
Daniels finished with nine points, eight rebounds and seven assists in 46 minutes after missing two games because of bone spurs in his right ankle. Caron Butler sat out for the eighth time in 10 games and fifth in a row due to a strained hip flexor on his left side. It's an injury that will prevent him from playing in his second straight All-Star game.
The Wizards are still holding down a playoff spot despite a host of physical detours. Etan Thomas underwent open heart surgery about four months ago, but expects to play again before the season ends. Gilbert Arenas, who underwent knee surgery just eight games into the season, will be able to start practicing sometime after the break.
Before the game, Wizards coach Eddie Jordan pointed to the team's injury jinx as a primary reason why they had wilted down the stretch in previous games.
"Someone asked me how come we haven't really closed games out," said Jordan, whose team came in 1-6 in games decided by fewer than four points. "But when you're at this level and facing the teams we play, the best players close games out for you. They're the ones who make the plays and get it done. But we just don't have our best players to do that.
"Antawn's got terrific numbers, he's worked his tail off and shown terrific leadership for us, but you need to have that go-to guy to do it. And right now, our go-to guys are sitting in civvies."
Somehow, the Wizards got it done. After the Clippers took an 83-82 lead on a jumper by Corey Maggette with 1:58 to play, Jamison responded with a 3-pointer 20 seconds later. Maggette's two free throws tied it at 89 with 26 seconds left, and the Wizards called a timeout.
Jamison inbounded to Daniels, who dribbled down the clock against defensive specialist Quinton Ross. Tim Thomas then had to pick up Daniels on a switch, and Daniels went around him before putting up a short running jumper that hit the front of the rim. Darius Songaila went for the tip and fell short before Jamison made good on his tip.
"It was only fitting that we lose the game on an offensive rebound, because that was the killing point all night long for us," coach Mike Dunleavy said after the Clippers were overwhelmed 22-7 on the offensive glass. "Giving up 22 offensive boards just doesn't cut it."
Rookie Al Thornton led Los Angeles with 24 points and nine rebounds, and Maggette added 20 points. After going 3-4 on their longest road trip of the season, the Clippers kicked off a six-game homestand by shooting 48.5 percent from the field in their last game before the All-Star break and getting outscored 56-34 in the paint.
"Their size had something to do with it, but they just outworked us," Thornton said.
The Wizards, who blew a 23-point lead in Monday's 120-117 loss to the Warriors, led Los Angeles by as many as 14 before Cuttino Mobley's 14-footer capped a 9-2 spurt that helped slice the margin to 52-46 with 7:15 left in the third quarter. Less than 2 1/2 minutes later, Brendan Haywood shoved Mobley out of the way with his forearm while teammate DeShawn Stevenson scored on a layup.
The 6-foot-4 Mobley went right back at the 7-foot Haywood, and would've gotten in his face if he had a stepladder with him. The two had words before they were separated, and both received technicals.
The Clippers, coming off a 96-89 victory against Milwaukee, haven't won consecutive games since opening the season 4-0. This was their 13th attempt at it, and only the third in which the losing margin was in single digits. They're still awaiting the return of Elton Brand and Shaun Livingston with cautious optimism. Neither have played this season.
"It's just going to depend on how long it takes them once they're cleared to practice," Dunleavy said. "We want them to be at full recovery."
- The Wizards also snapped an eight-game road losing streak.
- Butler will make the trip to New Orleans for All-Star weekend despite his injury.
- The Clippers began a 12-game stretch in which they will play 11 times at Staples Center, including a designated "road" game against the Lakers.
- The Clippers' next loss will be Dunleavy's 600th as an NBA head coach. He has 209 in less than five seasons with the Clippers, only 181 fewer than he had during his first 10 in the league.
- The injury-ravaged Clippers have had only two players physically available for all 50 games: G Dan Dickau and F Josh Powell. Neither saw action against the Wizards.