for this game

Marksman Mike James helps Wizards top Timberwolves

Feb 18, 2009 - 5:20 AM WASHINGTON (Ticker) -- Mike James hit a pair of key 3-pointers in the final minutes and Antawn Jamison scored 29 points to lead the Washington Wizards to a 111-103 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday.

Caron Butler added 17 points and James finished with 15 for the Wizards, who shot 51 percent (40-of-78) and put six players in double figures.

"It felt good," Butler said. "This is exactly what I expected as a captain and Antawn (Jamison) (expected it) as well.

"After a good practice, the guys came out with a lot of energy and played good basketball, and that's the goal. I thought the practice (Monday) was real uplifting and, hopefully, we can continue to play this kind of basketball."

After Kevin Love gave the Timberwolves a 98-95 edge with a pair of free throws with 2:53 left, Javaris Crittenton pulled Washington within one with a layup. The Wizards made a defensive stop and James got the ball at the top of the key, drilling a 3-pointer for a 100-98 lead with 1:24 left.

Sebastian Telfair responded with a 3-pointer to put Minnesota back on top, but Crittenton hit a jumper to give Washington a one-point edge and James provided the dagger with another 3-pointer from the corner that pushed it to 105-101 with 28 seconds left.

"Mike James hit some huge shots down the stretch," Love said. "His 3-pointer in the corner put the nail in the coffin for us. Essentially, he is a veteran point guard and he did what he was supposed to do."

"We got key stops and critical rebounds," Washington interim coach Ed Tapscott said. "It allows you to push the ball down and get a flow. When you get a chance to run your offense before the defense gets set, you get the defense moving and that allows you to get penetration and good shots."

Washington hit all six of its free-throw attempts in the final 20 seconds to put the game away.

"As Caron and Antawn try to get to the rim, the defense is going to suck in," Tapscott said. "The defense isn't set. They haven't identified all the matchups so as an offense we got to the open spots. Mike knocked down two big threes because he was able to step right into the shots."

Randy Foye scored 23 points and Love - starting at center in place of the injured Al Jefferson - finished with 17 and 11 rebounds for the Timberwolves, who fell to 0-2 without Jefferson.

"We got down early and we were never really able to make a successful comeback," Timberwolves interim coach Kevin McHale said. "We dug ourselves a hole and (the Wizards) did what they were supposed to do by capitalizing on our errors."

With Love - who was the key performer off the bench for Minnesota prior to the injury - moving into the lineup, the team got just 19 points on 6-of-18 shooting from the reserves on Tuesday.

"Our defense in the fourth quarter let us down, again," McHale said. "We couldn't get stops. We were scoring enough, we just couldn't get stops."

Butler provided the lone down note in the final minutes for the Wizards when he limped off the court and to the locker room with under a minute to play after falling to the ground and banging his hip while grabbing a rebound.

"When everything is going bad, as players and as people, we take the initiative to try to do things on our own," said Butler, who should not miss any time. "We kind of got out of our gameplan and we got the game tied back up.

"You heard the crowd and the coaching staff really getting on us and we bounced back. I think that shows a great sign of maturity from the young guys and for us as leaders. It was great. I thought the energy was great."