Big Basket Is a Shot In the Arm for Jones

By Ivan Carter
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, November 2, 2006

CLEVELAND, Nov. 1 -- The Washington Wizards didn't have to look hard in Quicken Loans Arena for reminders of last spring's thrilling playoff series. A painting on the wall not far from the visiting locker room depicts Cavaliers piling on one another after Damon Jones made a shot with 4.8 seconds left in Game 6 to win the series, and a pregame video board montage included a highlight of Jones's shot and game-winning baskets by LeBron James in Games 3 and 5.

Then there is Jones himself. His China-based shoe company, Lei Ning, has printed up T-shirts with the message "4.8" and Jones has basked in the glow after hitting one of the biggest shots in team history.

"Well, you know that I've always been a big star," deadpanned Jones, who has played with 10 teams during a nine-season career. "But when you hit a shot like that in the playoffs, it does change perceptions about you. I would love to see what kind of effect it has when I become a free agent."

First and Foremost

Wednesday's game drew extra attention because of the developing rivalry between the teams, but Wizards guard Antonio Daniels feels that the opener is always special.

"It's not so much who you play but how you play," he said. "It can definitely set the tone for the early part of the season."

When it was noted that Daniels was on a Seattle team that lost, 114-84, to the Clippers in the 2004-05 opener, Daniels nodded his head. Seattle won 52 games that season. "Yes," he said. "And that first game woke us up."

© 2006 The Washington Post Company