By Melody Gutierrez
Special to The Washington Post
Friday, December 22, 2006
SACRAMENTO, Calif., Dec. 21 -- Antawn Jamison scored 33 points -- 17 during a torrid third quarter in which the Wizards outscored Sacramento 44-24 -- and Washington held on for a 126-119 victory at Arco Arena on Thursday night.
The win pushed the Wizards to 13-12 and improved them to 2-1 on this four-game road trip that winds up Friday night in Phoenix against the Suns, the hottest team in the league. Phoenix has won 15 straight.
Washington, which has scored at least 100 points in nine straight games, has won seven of its last nine.
"Jamison got hot. That was mainly the big difference for us," Wizards Coach Eddie Jordan said. "It was a pretty spirited halftime [session] in the locker room. We got things turned around."
Jamison was 9 for 17 from the field and got plenty of help: Gilbert Arenas had 30 points and Caron Butler added 23.
The league's highest scoring trio has been steady through Washington's nine-game stretch, combining for 67 percent of the team's scoring.
The Wizards shot 49.4 percent from the field, overcoming a dismal first-quarter performance in which Washington sank 9 of 27 shots (33 percent).
Sacramento's Kevin Martin scored a career high 40 points off 13-for-23 shooting from the field, including two from three-point range in 46 minutes on the court. John Salmons finished with 23 points and Brad Miller with 19, including 12 in the first quarter.
Mike Bibby remained cold in the second half, scoring two points and tallying two assists after displaying his trademark passes in the first half. Bibby finished with 11 points in 35 minutes.
Sacramento opened the contest having dropped eight of its last 10 games, with reports surfacing of frustration and dwindling team chemistry.
The Kings' effort was not helped by the absence of Ron Artest, who did not dress for the game with knee soreness.
The Kings barely missed him in the first half, building an early lead helped by cold Washington shooting.
After starting the game sinking two of its first three shots, Washington missed nine consecutive shots before closing the first quarter behind, 31-24. The Kings went on a 16-2 run in that time with the help of Bibby's six assists and Miller's 12 points.
Antonio Daniels scored nine points in the second quarter to get Washington as close as 42-41 before Sacramento went on an 11-2 tear to pull away once again.
The Kings led 59-53 at intermission.
Salmons shot 7 for 8 for 15 points. Jamison and Arenas added 12 a piece in the first half.
The Wizards shot 20 for 46 (43.5 percent) in the first half compared to Sacramento's 50 percent from the field off 25-of-50 shooting.