WASHINGTON -- It has been a difficult few weeks for the Washington Wizards. Despite their win Saturday night, it doesn't look as if things will get any easier any time soon.
Antawn Jamison scored 22 points to lead the Wizards to just their second victory in their last 12 games, 110-95 over the Charlotte Bobcats. Washington then got ready for a three-game road trip to New Orleans, Houston and Chicago without Caron Butler and Gilbert Arenas.
"We've been competitive without those guys for as long as those guys have been out," Jamison said. "We've been in games -- last-second shots, last minute of the game, we just haven't gotten it done. When they do get back, we have to find a way to get some chemistry."
Arenas has been out for more than three months after surgery on his left knee, and while he had long targeted March 2 for his comeback, he acknowledged before the game he wouldn't be able to meet that timetable. Butler, who's missed 11 of the last 13 games with a hip flexor strain, won't be back in the immediate future, either.
The players who remain are going to try and keep Washington in contention. Despite their horrid play recently, the Wizards remain in sixth place in the Eastern Conference, but barely ahead of New Jersey, Philadelphia and Atlanta for the final playoff spots.
Washington coach Eddie Jordan said his team has had to adjust to different roles. Without Butler and Arenas, they've had to depend on Jamison, DeShawn Stevenson and others.
"We're trying to get guys to close games out," Jordan said. "The guys who are on the floor -- that's not their role. It's their role now because that's what they have to do. We have to get wins when people don't expect us to get it."
Leading 70-69 with 3:33 to play in the third quarter, Washington went on a 14-2 run, led by five points by Oleksiy Pecherov to end the third quarter and start the fourth. The run gave the Wizards an 84-71 lead with 10:53 remaining.
"Before you know it, it's a landslide," Bobcats coach Sam Vincent said. "It goes from a five- or six-point game all the way up to 12 or 14. We had a small period where we didn't play well, and in that four- or five-minute span, they were really able to open the lead up."
After the Wizards' decisive run, Charlotte never got closer than seven points in falling for the 10th time in 11 games. The Bobcats were without Gerald Wallace, who suffered a concussion Friday. Wallace will be out at least two weeks after playing just his second game since missing five with a strained right foot.
"I think in the second half, they came out wanting the game a little bit more than us," Richardson said. "We had some defensive breakdowns, but we played a pretty tough game today."
Washington committed a season-low seven turnovers -- just three in the game's final 30:20. Brendan Haywood added 15 points and a career-high five assists.
"We've been losing a lot of close games," Haywood said. "We don't have any closers at the end of the game. Gilbert Arenas was our closer. He was our Mariano Rivera."
The game was close early, and Stevenson hit two free throws with 5:42 to play in the third quarter to put Washington ahead 66-64 before going on its decisive run. With Washington leading 95-87 with 4:41 left, Stevenson hit consecutive 3-pointers to give the Wizards a 101-87 lead. He finished with 20 points.
Washington is 12-3 against Charlotte -- 6-1 at home, and has won the three meetings between the teams this season.
|Antawn Jamison makes his move on Jared Dudley, who's filling in for Gerald Wallace. (Getty Images)|
|Washington (26-29) «||28||23||27||32||110|
|CHA:J. Richardson 25 Pts
CHA:E. Okafor 13 Reb
CHA:R. Felton 9 Ast
|WAS:A. Jamison 22 Pts
WAS:A. Jamison 9 Reb
WAS:A. Jamison 5 Ast
|Players of the Game|
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|J. Richardson, SG||39||10-17||3-4||5||1||0||25|
|R. Felton, PG||33||4-11||1-1||1||9||1||9|
|J. McInnis, PG||31||5-8||2-2||2||3||2||12|
|E. Okafor, C||28||8-11||1-3||13||0||4||17|
|J. Dudley, PF||24||1-3||4-4||3||2||2||6|
|N. Mohammed, C||27||1-9||3-6||8||0||4||5|
|J. Davidson, PF||18||1-2||2-2||1||0||3||4|
|E. Boykins, PG||15||2-5||0-0||0||5||2||5|
|D. Anderson, SG||13||2-4||0-0||2||1||0||5|
|M. Carroll, SG||11||3-4||1-1||1||0||1||7|
|R. Hollins, C||3||0-0||0-0||0||0||0||0|
|O. Harrington, PF||Did Not Play|
|G. Wallace, SF||Did Not Play|
|S. May, PF||Did Not Play|
|A. Morrison, SF||Did Not Play|
|Complete Box Score|
|D. Stevenson, SG||36||6-11||4-4||3||3||1||20|
|A. Jamison, PF||34||10-20||2-2||9||5||3||22|
|A. Daniels, PG||33||3-7||4-5||1||3||2||10|
|A. Blatche, SF||31||6-10||1-2||8||2||2||13|
|B. Haywood, C||28||6-12||3-3||7||5||1||15|
|N. Young, SG||21||3-7||0-0||5||0||1||6|
|D. Songaila, PF||18||4-7||0-0||3||2||2||8|
|O. Pecherov, C||15||4-9||0-2||6||1||3||9|
|R. Mason, SG||14||3-9||0-0||1||1||1||7|
|D. McGuire, PF||11||0-2||0-0||3||2||1||0|
|E. Thomas, C||Did Not Play|
|G. Arenas, PG||Did Not Play|
|C. Butler, SF||Did Not Play|
|Complete Box Score|