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Butler, Wizards again top Celtics

Jan 15, 2008 - 4:43 AM By Mike Petraglia PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

BOSTON (Ticker) -- The Washington Wizards completed a rare sweep of the Boston Celtics.

Caron Butler had 21 points, including the go-ahead shot with 19.6 seconds remaining, and Antawn Jamison had 20 and 10 rebounds to lead the Wizards to an 88-83 victory over the Celtics on Monday night at TD Banknorth Garden.

It was the first time Boston (30-6) has lost consecutive games this season while Washington (20-16) also completed a sweep of the home-and-home series.

An All-Star forward, Butler took it upon himself to take over the game.

"The game was close, and there was just some opportunity to for myself to get more aggressive and to make some big-time shots," Butler said. "My teammates were looking for me to step up, and they were finding me on the floor, and we just made some big shots."

"Two big drives, one left and one (free throw), and the one to the right," Wizards coach Eddie Jordan said of Butler's play down the stretch. "When he attacks the basket like that, he gets a rhythm, he can get things to happen for him. That's what happened tonight. He was just as awesome at the other end tonight."

With both teams jawing back and forth, Butler scored 11 of his 21 in the fourth quarter to lead the rally against the team with the best record in the NBA.

"It's a big confidence booster," Butler said. "We've got the utmost respect and there's a lot of talk going out there and everything, but that's basketball, you know we just enjoying ourselves."

The Wizards finished the game with a 25-6 run to capture the victory.

Jamison led the Wizards back, hitting a field goal with 1:47 remaining to cut the Celtics' lead - which was as many as 14 - to 79-76. DeShawn Stevenson's 3-pointer from the right wing with 1:08 remaining tied the game, 79-79.

After Kevin Garnett's putback with 51.9 seconds remaining, Butler hit a layup with 40.1 seconds remaining and was fouled. His free throw gave Washington its first lead since leading, 23-22, early in the second quarter.

After holding the Celtics to a season-low 78 points in Saturday's win, the Wizards continued to play well defensively to open this one.

Washington held Boston to 8-of-19 shooting and 18 points, a season low for the first quarter.

Garnett's layup with 6:10 left in the second quarter started Boston on a 9-2 run that gave it a 34-27 lead. The seven-point advantage was the biggest either team enjoyed in a back-and-forth first half.

Stevenson's 3-pointer with 21.8 seconds remaining in the second capped an 8-1 run that tied the game, 35-35.

Ray Allen hit a 19-foot baseline jumper from the right side at the halftime buzzer to give the Celtics the lead, 37-35, heading to the locker room.

With the game tied, 47-47, in the third, it was Garnett again who started another rally. His layup with 6:12 to go in the period spurred Boston on an 11-3 run, concluding with his 19-foot jumper from the right wing with 3:15 to go.

Jamison hit a shot from the arc with 6.8 seconds remaining in the third to cut Boston's lead to 63-59 and give Washington some momentum going into the fourth.

"We knew it was going to be a dog fight," Jamison said. "Obviously, (Garnett) kept getting the crowd in it during the course of the game, and you know when they got up on us, we were like 'Man, there's still four minutes left we can come back.'

"We just came down and got some key stops, guys converted on some big-time plays, we got some more stops, protecting the paint, getting out on transition, got to the foul line."

The Celtics appeared ready to put the game away thanks to the work of reserve Eddie House, who drilled a 3-pointer from the left baseline to put Boston up, 75-63, with 7:14 remaining.

House followed that with a jumper at 6:22 to give the Celtics their largest lead, 77-63.

"Losing at home anytime, as far as I'm concerned, anytime is tough," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. "Especially when you've got a pretty good lead in the second half and thinking you're going to take care of the ball and take care of the game, rather.

"And we didn't. I thought we had a chance to knock them out and we didn't. We let them stay around."

Garnett had 23 points and nine rebounds and Paul Pierce added 18 points and Allen 16 for Boston, which fell to 16-3 at home.

"I don't think we stopped playing, we definitely didn't stop playing," Garnett said. "We've got our set plays that we go to, we went to them, we didn't hit shots when we needed to, didn't get stops when we needed to.

"It's as simple as that, they got some stops, I thought initially our ball movement was good - just didn't make any shots. I felt like when we needed stops we didn't get stops, and it cost us."

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