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Jamison leads Wizards past Nets

Dec 3, 2008 - 5:55 AM By Carl Dispoto PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey (Ticker) -- The Washington Wizards finally re-discovered their shooting touch, cooling off one of the league's hottest teams in the process.

Antawn Jamison scored 11 of his 22 points in a decisive third quarter and Caron Butler had 22 and 10 assists as the Wizards halted the New Jersey Nets' three-game winning streak with a 108-88 triumph on Tuesday.

Washington buried more than seven 3-pointers per game last season but struggled with its outside shot in November on its way to a brutal 2-12 start.

The Wizards were the worst 3-point shooting team in the league before torching New Jersey's lackluster defense with long-range jumpers.

Jamison made 10-of-19 shots from the floor and Butler was 9-of-16 for Washington, which shot 52 percent from the floor (44-of-85) - just shy of its season high - and had a season-high 33 assists.

"We had a lot of people get a lot of touches and, when everyone touches the ball, we play better and everyone is happy," said Wizards coach Ed Tapscott, who improved to 2-2 since taking over for Eddie Jordan.

DeShawn Stevenson nailed five 3-pointers en route to a season-high 21 points as the Wizards buried a season-best 13 3-pointers on 24 attempts.

"It felt good, because I've been in kind of a slump," said Stevenson, who entered the game shooting just 30 percent from the floor. "I was going to shoot and, if I miss it, who cares? I have to have that approach and they started going in."

Washington captured its first road win in seven tries and improved to 1-11 against Eastern Conference opponents.

"We just have to keep building and finding our formula," Tapscott said.

It was a startling reversal of fortune for the Nets, who returned home after winning the final three games of a four-game West Coast swing and had won seven of nine overall.

Two nights after scoring a career-high 47 points in a win at Phoenix, Devin Harris led New Jersey with 18 points but managed only three after halftime. Vince Carter scored 16 but made only 6-of-17 shots.

"We had a good trip, but that's in the past and we have to look forward," Harris said. "We didn't have a lot of energy and that starts with me and Vince all the way down. We have to play better. Two steps forwards, one step back."

"It's unacceptable," Carter said. "Our aggression took a step back, it was just a tough night. (The road trip) can't be our excuse and I won't let that be our excuse. When you step on the floor, you have to perform."

Washington led for most of the first half and had a one-point lead at halftime before turning in their best quarter of the season. The Wizards scored 35 points on 13-of-23 shooting in the third, including 5-of-7 3-pointers.

New Jersey was held to just 12 points - its second-worst quarter of the season - and missed 16 of 20 shots as it was flustered by Washington's zone defense.

"We just wanted to change defenses to give them some hesitation," Tapscott said. "They are so explosive with their guards, we wanted to keep them out of transition where they can blow right by people."

Washington scored the first eight points of the quarter led by Butler, who made a pair of free throws and assisted on baskets by Jamison and JaVale McGee.

Dee Brown nailed back-to-back 3-pointers to give the Wizards a 78-60 cushion with 3:05 left. Stevenson scored the final five points of the period, sinking a 3-pointer with one minute left for an 86-62 bulge.

New Jersey never recovered, recording more fouls (six) and turnovers (five) than baskets in the third quarter.

"We missed some easy shots and got sort of fragmented," New Jersey coach Lawrence Frank said. "We never got stops and then Stevenson got going. It's disappointing that we got thoroughly outplayed."

Keyon Dooling scored 14 points off the bench and rookie Brook Lopez collected 10 points, nine rebounds and three blocks for New Jersey, which has lost five of eight home games this season.

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