Butler, Daniels steal another win from HawksJan 12, 2008 - 5:09 AM By Phil Foley PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer
ATLANTA (Ticker) -- The Atlanta Hawks were already stripped of one win on Friday afternoon. The Washington Wizards' Antonio Daniels and Caron Butler made sure that they did not get it back.
Daniels drained a jumper to break a late tie and Butler connected on four free throws in the extra session to power the Wizards to a 102-98 overtime victory over the Hawks on Friday night.
The playoff-challenged Hawks started the day with a 16-16 record, tying them with the Cleveland Cavaliers for the seventh spot in the Eastern Conference. And then only something that happens to a team that hasn't been in the playoffs in this millennium occurred.
The league ruled that the Hawks' stats crew was "grossly negligent" in assessing a sixth foul on Miami Heat superstar Shaquille O'Neal in the December 19 contest between the two clubs that Atlanta initially won 117-111 in overtime.
NBA commissioner David Stern stripped the Hawks of their win and the clubs will replay the final 51.9 seconds of the game on March 8. As a result, the Hawks bid farewell once again to the .500 mark.
Despite a third-quarter comeback in this contest, Atlanta (15-17) somehow found itself going from the break-even mark to two games under .500 within a short seven-hour span on Friday.
"I'm pretty sure everybody would have prayed for a day off today, if you told us that," Atlanta forward Marvin Williams said when asked of Atlanta's unlikely move in the standings. "We have to re-group and get ready for Chicago (on Saturday)."
"Anything that happened earlier (with the protest), we just have to clear out of our heads," Hawks forward Josh Smith said. "We'll deal with that when we play those guys again. We should have won this game (against Washington) to get back to .500."
With the contest tied at 94-94 in overtime, Daniels buried a six-foot jump shot to give the Wizards the lead with 37.5 seconds remaining. After Antawn Jamison grabbed Joe Johnson's miss on the other end, Butler and Daniels combined to drain six free throws, sandwiched around two Atlanta buckets to seal the win.
"This was a very important win for us," Jamison said. "We definitely wanted to come in and get a win on the road. It wasn't a pretty win, but we'll take it. This definitely wasn't an important win, because this was a divisional game, and it could come back to help us at the end of the season."
Butler poured in 21 points and Daniels added 14 more for Washington.
Jamison posted his 22nd double-double of the season with 22 points and 17 rebounds and DeShawn Stevenson added 19 points to lead the Wizards, who won for the 12th time in their last 15 games at Philips Arena.
"It's a tough loss," Hawks coach Mike Woodson said. "We had our chances, and I thought they wanted it a little bit more."
Washington opened up an eight-point advantage midway through the third quarter when Andray Blatche's layup with 5:06 remaining gave the Wizards a 58-50 lead. But behind the solid play of Smith and Johnson, the Hawks responded with an 18-4 run to end the period with a 68-62 lead.
"The Hawks got on a roll," Wizards coach Eddie Jordan said. "They had a good third quarter, and made some momentum plays. I have to credit our resiliency and emotional toughness, because we hung in there tonight. We didn't lose our poise, kept our composure and we executed at key moments."
Atlanta was staked to an 82-76 lead with 5:44 remaining in the contest before Washington struck back with nine unanswered points. Butler capped the run with a 3-pointer with 2:58 remaining to give the Wizards an 85-82 lead.
But Johnson answered right back with a 3-pointer to tie the game at 85-85 and the clubs traded points before Butler missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer to send the game to the extra session tied at 87-87.
Atlanta had plenty of opportunities to secure the victory down the stretch. Williams went to the line twice with a chance to put some distance between the Hawks and the Wizards, but connected on just two of his four attempts from the line late in the game.
"That hurt us," Johnson said. "Free throws are what really cost us the game. Free throws and rebounds. We couldn't get the key ones down the stretch when we needed it."
"In close games like this, you have to make free throws," Woodson said. "We had an opportunity, and I don't think we made two free throws in a row coming down the stretch. Those (are) huge in a close game. They made plays and we weren't able to get it done."
Smith had 35 points, nine rebounds and five assists in one of his finest all-around performances of the season. Rookie center Al Horford posted a career-high 19 rebounds for the Hawks, who lost for just the second time in seven Southeast Division contests this season.
ATLANTA 98 FINAL IN 1ST OT
Jan 11 10:12 PM
ATLANTA 87 END OF 4TH QTR GOING INTO OVERTIME
Jan 11 9:46 PM
ATLANTA 68 END, 3RD QTR
Jan 11 9:10 PM
ATLANTA 33 HALFTIME
Jan 11 8:31 PM
ATLANTA 17 END, 1ST QTR
Jan 11 8:03 PM
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