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Jamison returns, leads Wizards to third straight win

Apr 10, 2008 - 4:44 AM By Tim Hipps PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

WASHINGTON (Ticker) - Antawn Jamison returned from a two-game hiatus and notched 27 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Washington Wizards to a 109-95 victory over the Boston Celtics on Wednesday night.

Jamison, who missed the last two games recovering from a sprained right shoulder, shot 8-of-17 from the field and 8-of-11 from the free-throw line as the Wizards became the only team in the league to defeat the Celtics three times this season.

Cleveland and Orlando each beat Boston twice. Washington (41-37) remains two games behind Cleveland (43-35) for the fourth spot in the Eastern Conference with four games remaining.

The Wizards could meet the Celtics in the second round of the playoffs.

"It says a lot to beat that team three-games-to-one throughout the regular season," Jamison said.

"If a match-up was to occur in the playoffs, it gives us the confidence to know that we can match up with them," Jamison said. "We're taking their best shot and things are going to intensify once the playoffs get started. I think it's good for us to know that we have the confidence to beat Boston three times."

Meanwhile, the Celtics have already clinched home-court advantage and don't put too much stock into the three losses.

"If we had beat them three times it doesn't mean anything," said Ray Allen, who scored 13 points. "Once the playoffs starts, it's a new ballgame."

"It's what it is," said Celtics forward Kevin Garnett, who had 22 points, 14 rebounds and five assists. "If we just so happen to get past our first opponent and meet, that's what it's going to be. It should be a good match up."

DeShawn Stevenson scored eight points of his 14 points, including two 3-pointers, in the final 3:24 to secure the Wizards' third straight win.

The Celtics, who appeared disinterested in the game, pulled to 91-85 on Paul Pierce's 3-pointer with 7:42 left.

Washington ended the game with an 8-0 run after a 3-pointer from Pierce cut the deficit to 101-95 with 2:27 remaining.

"I thought we played pretty well for 48 minutes," Wizards coach Eddie Jordan said. "We withstood a couple of their runs and we were able to stage a few runs of our own. It was one of those proud, manly games. You have to get through it and prove to yourself that you can compete on a level like the Boston Celtics."

Pierce led the Celtics with 28 points and seven assists, and Garnett added 22 points and 14 rebounds. However, the Celtics were hurt by their 20 turnovers.

"I understand this team is up for us every time we play them," Pierce said. "They execute and move well without the ball. They run their offense, and they turned us over. I think that's been the key in these last games with them, they've been able to turn us over.

"Washington outplayed us tonight. ... I still feel that we're the better team. Maybe we can see them in the playoffs, who knows, and go from there."

Caron Butler had 13 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists and Gilbert Arenas added 13 points for the Wizards. It was just the second time since November that Jamison, Arenas and Butler all played in the same game.

"We like it the way it is right now," Jordan said of slowly working Arenas back into the mix. "We are sticking to his 20 to 24 minutes. He created a lot of action on the defensive end tonight. He still has to get his conditioning and get his legs under him. We knew it was going to be a process, but we have a few more games to get it right.

"It is exciting right now. Gilbert is the difference. We've been satisfied to a degree with how we have played through injuries this year. It is very exciting to have him out there and it makes us an exciting dangerous team."

Celtics reserve forward Glen Davis strained his right hamstring in the first half and did not return. Celtics guard Rajon Rondo felt sick and left the game in the second half.

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