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Jamison, Wizards take down Pistons

Mar 24, 2008 - 4:26 AM By Tim Hipps PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

WASHINGTON (Ticker) -- Antawn Jamison had 24 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Washington Wizards to their third straight victory, a 95-83 triumph over the Detroit Pistons on Sunday night.

Caron Butler had 17 points, six assists and five rebounds and Brendan Haywood added 16 points for Washington.

"This was one that we needed," said Jamison, who posted his 40th double-double of the season. "We have a tough West Coast trip coming up, so it is nice to get three games above .500 and beat a very quality opponent."

The Wizards, who hold a 1 1/2-game lead on Philadelphia and Toronto for the fifth playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, now embark on a five-game trip to Portland, seattle, Sacramento, Los Angeles Lakers and Utah.

"We are starting to get back to the form we need to be at," Jamison said. "We are starting to get back on the right page defensively. Offensively, we are really moving the ball and making our opponents play defense. It is definitely a big win and hopefully something that can carry over on this trip."

Haywood's three-point play on a dunk over Rodney Stuckey for a 90-78 lead with 1:41 left sealed the victory.

"He played well," Wizards coach Eddie Jordan said of Haywood. "I am very proud of him and how he played defense. He cut off the perimeter against Rasheed (Wallace), got some rolls, some baskets, some putbacks and some deep post-ups. It is a luxury for us to get that sort of scoring from him."

Former Wizards guard Richard Hamilton led the Pistons with 19 points. Tayshaun Prince added 13 points and Antonio McDyess had 14 rebounds.

"We had a sub-par first half and talked about stepping up and doing the things we needed to do, but we were trading baskets," Prince said. "That was our downfall coming out of halftime.

"We didn't even much at all run our normal plays. We were running pretty much stuff just to get some movement or whatnot, just to not having guys standing around. Usually, in crucial situations during the game, we usually go to our bread-and-butter plays, but we didn't run no plays at all tonight, really."

That's because the Pistons are locked into the No. 2 seed in the East and working on things that might benefit them in the playoffs.

"We weren't running a lot of sets," said Detroit guard Chauncey Billups, who had 11 points and 11 assists. "We were running like secondary break stuff. With the position that we're in, we have the luxury of trying to work on some things. We're not moving up or down or trying to go nowhere.

"We just have to stay healthy and try to work on some things that could benefit us in some series. Then, you know, try it."

Reserve guard Roger Mason Jr.'s 3-pointer gave the Wizards an 81-71 lead with 7:25 remaining in the game.

After shooting 0-for-5, Mason made a 3-pointer that gave the Wizards a 71-63 lead with 27 seconds remaining in the third quarter. Washington led, 71-65, after three.

"Roger started off a little slow, but he made some key baskets for us and some big threes," Jordan said.

Prince followed Wallace's back-to-back 3-pointers with a slam that pulled Detroit to 62-59 with 5:59 remaining in the third quarter.

Jamison converted his falling-down follow over McDyess into a three-point play that gave the Wizards a 62-54 lead midway through the third.

"They run an offense with a lot of intricate little stuff - a lot of back-door slips, lobs and things like that," Billups said. "You talk about it going into the game, then just don't execute on it, so that's disappointing.

"I thought our effort was good, we just didn't play smart. I thought the energy wasn't bad. I don't think that was the problem. Mentally, we just weren't locked in. And defensively, we weren't on the same page."

Butler's 3-pointer from the top of the key with 4.4 seconds remaining gave Washington a 47-40 lead at halftime.

A driving layup by Butler capped the Wizards' 14-2 run that bridged the first two quarters and gave Washington a 32-10 lead early in the second.

The Pistons responded with a 9-0 run, capped by former Wizards guard Jarvis Hayes' jumper that pulled the Pistons to 32-29.

Haywood scored 11 first-quarter points, including a dunk with 2.1 seconds left that gave Washington a 28-20 lead after one.

"The key was that we played good defense early on," Haywood said. "We defended in the paint and were scoring in the paint. We had a huge advantage in the paint tonight and that led to a lot of easy buckets. It allowed us to really get comfortable out there."

Wizards rookie reserve guard Nick Young missed the game because of a bruised right thigh.

Three-time All-Star guard Gilbert Arenas came to Verizon Center expecting to play but was held out by team doctors. He left the arena, went home and got dressed appropriately to sit on the Wizards' bench, where he re-appeared wearing a tan sport coat during the first quarter.

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