Wizards hold on and hold off KingsJan 22, 2009 - 7:50 AM By Tom Galland PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer
SACRAMENTO, California (Ticker) -- A marquee matchup this certainly was not. For the hometown fans in Sacramento it turned
out to be downright embarrassing.
Antawn Jamison scored 33 points and Caron Butler added 32 as the Washington Wizards defeated the Sacramento Kings for the seventh consecutive time, 110-107, at Arco Arena on Wednesday.
The two teams entered the contest with a combined 18-64 record but the Wizards (9-32) jumped on top early and held off the Kings late to secure their third road win of the season.
"Any win is a good win," said Butler. "Obviously you know it's going to be tough down the stretch (with) two teams that are really fighting and clawing trying to get (wins). It meant a lot for us."
The Wizards carried a 19-point lead into the fourth but the Kings stormed back into contention with a 17-5 run to open the frame, cutting the lead to seven with 7:30 left.
The Kings kept hanging around, then Beno Udrih, who caught fire with 16 of his 24 points in the fourth, nailed a 3-pointer with 43 seconds left that brought Sacramento within two at 104-102.
"The shot clock was running down and I had to take that shot," said Udrih, who hit 6-of-8 shots including three from the arc during the fourth quarter. "We were looking for the open guy and that helped. Rhythm shots are better than (forced) ones."
Jamison answered on the other end with a tough driving layup over Sacramento's Sheldon Williams to push the lead back to four.
John Salmons made one from the line for Sacramento, then Butler seemed to put the game away with two free throws with 19 seconds left that made it 108-103.
But alas, the Kings had one last push in them.
After Udrih converted one of two from the line, Sacramento got the rebound and eventually got a 3-pointer from Francisco Garcia that made it 108-107. A pair of free throws by Andray Blatche made it 110-107 with 3.4 seconds left.
"I was nervous," said Blatche, a 22-year old who made the jump from high school to the NBA. "I tried to stay as calm as possible, took some deep breaths and knocked (the free throws) down."
Sacramento got a rushed baseline 3-point attempt from Garcia that came up short as time expired.
Washington powered its way inside all night to little resistance from the Kings. When Jamison drove for a layup that turned it into a three-point play after a foul by Spencer Hawes', the
Wizards' lead ballooned to 20 points with 4:17 left in the third quarter.
"The coaches preached definitely getting the ball inside and penetrating a lot," said Jamison, who converted 12-of-21 shots. "We were disciplined enough to do that and get a big lead, but (Sacramento) did a good job of not giving up and made a game of it."
Washington finished with a 47-31 advantage on the boards and outscored the Kings in the paint, 56-34, to run the Kings' record against Eastern Conference teams to 0-16 during the 2008-09 campaign.
"We've had (about) 13 or 14 games this season in which we were down by 15, 19 in the fourth quarter and we'd push all the way back and not have enough energy to finish the game," said
Butler. "This time we were on the opposing end of the stick. We knew that they hadn't beaten and Eastern Conference team so guys were 'ah man, don't let it be us.' We held them off and did a good job."
Sacramento fell to 7-15 at home and are on pace to finish with the worst record in franchise history, dating back to the Cincinnati Royals team of 1959-60 that went 19-56.
"This story is getting redundant," said Kings interim coach Kenny Natt. "For whatever reason, we have a tendency to dig a hole for ourselves. One thing our players have not learned is
the value of coming out, playing hard from the beginning and showing more consistency."
Kevin Martin, who scored 22 for Kings, led a brief rally with two 3-pointers and a pair of free throws to cut the deficit to 83-70.
But as quickly as they rallied, Sacramento gave it right back. Jamison tipped in an errant shot just before the 24-second clock expired to ignite a 6-0 run to close out the quarter.
Butler scored 15 and Blatche added 12 on 5-of-6 shooting to carry the Wizards to a 54-44 lead at the half. Washington shot 56 percent (24-of-43) while holding the Kings to 42 percent
SACRAMENTO 107 FINAL
Jan 22 12:28 AM
SACRAMENTO 70 END, 3RD QTR
Jan 21 11:46 PM
SACRAMENTO 44 HALFTIME
Jan 21 11:01 PM
SACRAMENTO 21 END, 1ST QTR
Jan 21 10:35 PM
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