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Butler, Wizards hand Pistons another bad loss

Dec 10, 2008 - 4:52 AM By Tim Hipps PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

WASHINGTON (Ticker) -- Caron Butler scored 33 points and Juan Dixon added 16 off the bench to lead the Washington Wizards to their fourth win of the season, a 107-94 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Tuesday.

The victory ended a three-game losing streak for the Wizards, while the Pistons dropped their third in a row, including consecutive losses to New York and Washington.

Butler shot 9-of-15 from the field and was perfect on 14 free throws. He also had five rebounds and six assists. Darius Songaila added 15 points on 7-of-13 shooting and grabbed five rebounds in 28 minutes off the bench.

"Our young guys were just unbelievable tonight," Butler said. "They had effort and energy off the bench. They did some unique things out there and got themselves and the crowd energized and we just fed off it.

"What they came in and brought us was just unbelievable. You've got to tip your hat to them and continue to encourage them and lead them."

Richard Hamilton led Detroit with 29 points and Rasheed Wallace added 19 on 8-of-11 shooting.

"We've still got to get a great rhythm," Hamilton said. "At times, it looks great and at times it looks horrible. We've just got to be better and more consistent.

"We played well the first quarter, but we did not play well the three quarters after that. Being up by 15 and then losing by 13 is a crazy turnaround."

Allen Iverson scored 13 points on 6-of-13 shooting with four assists, but rarely seemed a factor.

"I don't think one player will have anything to do with having a 17-point lead and then it dissolves like that," Iverson said. "Obviously it's not going to be fair and something is going to be there - it's going to be an issue - but I don't think one player could have took a 17-point lead away and gave a game away like this. It's going to be talked about, but I don't think that's the issue.

Iverson went on to confess more about his short time in Detroit.

"Am I comfortable? Sometimes I am and sometimes I'm not - simple as that," Iverson continued. "Anybody that watched me my whole career and then if you watched me tonight, obviously you would make a statement like that and ask a question like that because it don't seem like I'm comfortable if you're watching the game.

"Anybody watching a basketball game and saw games that I played over the years, then obviously you would say that it doesn't look like me out there because that's not my role like it used to be. I have a totally different role here and, if it translates to success, I'm totally happy with it. But it feels different. I don't feel like myself out there on the basketball court."

The Wizards took a 92-82 lead on Butler's two free throws with 3:56 remaining, and then the Pistons kicked it into overdrive.

Iverson scored inside, Tayshaun Prince made a layup and Hamilton's jumper on Detroit's fourth shot of a possession pulled the Pistons within 92-88 with 2:36 left.

"I wasn't sweating at all," Wizards coach Ed Tapscott said with a smile. "You know at the end of a game, every team makes a run, this is the NBA. ... We just had to get back and match up, and that's when we got a better defensive possession, got a rebound, and started walking to the foul line."

From there, the Wizards made 10-of-10 free throws to secure the victory. Dixon's 3-pointer as the final horn sounded was the Wizards' third buzzer-beater of the game.

The fourth quarter started with a flurry. Andray Blatche dunked over Wallace, who answered with a 3-pointer.

Dominic McGuire then made back-to-back buckets for Washington, including a two-handed slam follow that gave the Wizards an 80-71 lead with 10:30 left.

"I always crash the boards and it just came off perfect and I timed it good," said McGuire, who contributed six points on three shots. "It feels good to see it finally go in. We've just got to finish games like we did tonight."

Songaila helped keep Washington in contention with eight points in the third quarter.

"We got it to Mr. Backdoor Cut, Darius Songaila," Tapscott said.

"Sometimes the five guys who come out to start it can't do it by themselves, and today was a perfect example of guys coming off the bench, bringing some energy, knocking down shots, making hustle plays," Songaila said. "There was opportunity for us and we took it. The teammates did a good job of finding me rolling for layups and open looks, and all I had to do was make some shots."

The Wizards closed the quarter with a 17-2 run, capped by Blatche's buzzer-beating jumper for a 74-68 lead after three.

The Wizards went on a 13-0 run late in the second, capped by Dixon's layup off Songaila's missed free throw that pulled Washington within 43-41. After Hamilton knocked down a 3-pointer, Butler's buzzer-beating layup pulled the Wizards to 46-43 at the break.

Wallace picked up his seventh technical foul of the season during the Wizards' run. He is second in the league in that category behind Boston's Kendrick Perkins, who has nine technicals.

Antonio McDyess entered the game in the second quarter and promptly blocked Dixon's shot and made a layup for a 40-26 lead as if he had never left the Pistons. Detroit traded McDyess, Chauncey Billups and Cheikh Samb to Denver for Iverson on November 3.

The Nuggets promptly waived McDyess, who had to wait 30 days before re-joining the Pistons, who re-signed him on Tuesday. McDyess finished with nine points and six rebounds in 25 minutes.

Hamilton made four of his first five shots and scored 14 points to lead the Pistons to a 29-14 lead after one quarter.

"We stopped doing the things that we did to get the lead," Iverson said. "I don't know what it is. We had a great first quarter and then it all went downhill from there. I have no idea. That's something you have to ask the head coach.

"He's the one who does the analyzing of what happens on the basketball court, so you have to ask (Pistons coach Michael Curry). I don't know."

Hamilton scored seven straight points for Detroit, capped by a pull-up jumper that gave the Pistons an 18-7 lead midway through the first.

Wallace scored seven of Detroit's first nine points, including a 3-pointer from atop the key that gave the Pistons an early 9-0 lead. That could have been a bad omen for the Wizards because the Pistons are 6-1 when Wallace scores 15 or more.

"Somebody might have accused Rasheed of child abuse there," Tapscott said of Wallace's early spree against Wizards rookie JaVale McGee. "It was the young guy vs. the vet. He just used his leverage and his body to spin off of JaVale. He probably knew JaVale is long and has very good elevation. And when you bump a guy, it takes your legs away.

"... JaVale learned a very valuable lesson tonight against a quality big man. Trust me, he will be studying the Songaila demonstration tape for the next couple of days about how you play in the pivot against quality big men."

Washington's starters shot 3-of-16 in the first quarter. Overall, the Wizards shot 29 percent in the period.

"We dug ourselves into a little bit of a hole early, but we dug out of it and we did maintain that level throughout the second half," Tapscott said. "I'm very happy about that."

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