Without Arenas, Wizards continue hot streakNov 22, 2007 - 4:53 AM By Derek Smith PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer
CHARLOTTE, North Carolina (Ticker) -- The Washington Wizards found out that All-Star guard Gilbert Arenas will be out for a while. It didn't seem to bother them on the court.
The Wizards won for the sixth straight time - including three in a row without Arenas - in a thrilling, 114-111, overtime victory over the Charlotte Bobcats on Wednesday night.
Caron Butler scored a career-high 39 points and Charlotte-native Antawn Jamison added 27 points for the Wizards, who moved over the .500 mark after starting the season with five straight losses.
But the win was even more impressive for undermanned Washington, which endured the news that Arenas would be out at least three months after undergoing left knee surgery on Wednesday.
"We knew we had to come out with a lot of energy," Butler said. "The guys got it together. We dealt with the emotional strain of losing him for three months and we went out there and got the win.
"We've showed a lot of character. Guys are more serious right now. We were a little bit loose to begin the season. Now we know what it takes, and we've been able to rally."
Jamison and Butler opened the extra period with seven points for the Wizards, who never trailed in overtime. A dunk by Emeka Okafor got Charlotte as close as 112-111, but Butler sank a pair of free throws to push the lead to three points.
"It was a gutsy win," Washington coach Eddie Jordan said. "It wasn't pretty in the end. They made it tough for us. Our guys were great tonight and were resilient."
DeShawn Stevenson then missed a pair of free throws with 1.9 seconds left which would have sealed the victory, but a 3-pointer by Matt Carroll was off the mark at the buzzer.
"It felt rushed," Carroll said. "It was a good play, and we got the shot off which we wanted to do. But unfortunately, there wasn't much time on the clock to take our time."
The Wizards opened up the final quarter with a 7-2 run capped by an Antonio Daniels' shot from the arc. Daniels made two more clutch baskets for the Wizards.
First, he gave Washington a two-possession cushion at 90-86 and then sank a long jumper over Jason Richardson to push the lead to a game-high nine points at 99-90.
The Bobcats, however, would not go away quietly.
A 3-pointer by Carroll pulled Charlotte within two and then Richardson tied the game at 101-101 on a layup with 1:01 to play. However, Richardson was unable to convert the three-point play which would have given Charlotte its first lead since the third quarter.
Jamison drained a 3-pointer to give the lead back to Washington. The Bobcats tied it back at 104-104 after Raymond Felton sank 3-of-4 free throws.
The game headed to overtime after Butler was unable to score on Jeff McInnis on the final possession of regulation.
Charlotte rallied behind the inspired play from Gerald Wallace, who scored eight points in a 13-4 burst that put his team up by two points.
Stevenson and Daniels scored the final eight points in the third for Washington, which took a 79-78 lead into the fourth quarter.
Felton collected 27 points and 12 assists and Wallace added 25 points for the Charlotte, which made just 20-of-29 free throws and took a season-high 27 shots from the arc.
The loss snapped a three-game home winning streak for the Bobcats, who survived an injury scare when Wallace temporarily left the game with 38 seconds left in the second quarter after hitting his head on the backboard.
"I came back and was able to make a run and get in the flow of the game," Wallace said. "I took a shot to the ribs which kind of shut me down mentally. I felt I wasn't physically able to do what my team expected me to do in the fourth quarter."
CHARLOTTE 111 FINAL IN 1ST OT
Nov 21 9:58 PM
CHARLOTTE 78 END, 3RD QTR
Nov 21 8:56 PM
CHARLOTTE 46 HALFTIME
Nov 21 8:14 PM
CHARLOTTE 20 END, 1ST QTR
Nov 21 7:39 PM
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