Wizards Look Lost Without Caron Butler

By The Associated Press
The Associated Press
Wednesday, April 4, 2007; 5:28 AM

-- After chasing Washington almost all season, the Miami Heat have to prefer the way things look now _ with the standings and the injury report.

The Heat welcomed back another key player Tuesday night, then beat the Toronto Raptors 92-89 to move into first place in the Southeast Division again.

Jason Kapono, the NBA's leading 3-point shooter, played in his first game since spraining his ankle four weeks ago. He hit his first three shots, including a 3-pointer, and finished with seven points.

"We just needed to win tonight," Kapono said.

The Heat moved a half-game ahead of the Wizards, who looked lost in their first game since Caron Butler broke his hand. Washington allowed Charlotte to shoot 57 percent in a 122-102 loss.

The All-Star, averaging a career-high 19.1 points and 7.4 rebounds, was hurt in Sunday's win over Milwaukee. Barring a deep run in the playoffs, Butler is done for the season.

The way the Wizards looked against the Bobcats, that appears unlikely.

"We miss Caron a lot. He's a guy that can guard guys like Gerald Wallace," Wizards guard DeShawn Stevenson said. "He's an All-Star. But some of the guys on this team will have to step up and become that nasty guy."

In other games, it was: Detroit 100, Indiana 85; Phoenix 116, Memphis 111; San Antonio 110, Seattle 91; New Orleans 119, Milwaukee 101; Cleveland 101, Minnesota 88; Dallas 97, Sacramento 93; and Denver 111, the Los Angeles Lakers 105.

Wallace had 34 points and 14 rebounds for Charlotte, which was never threatened in the second half. Walter Herrmann added 21 points, Emeka Okafor had 17 points and 13 rebounds, and Raymond Felton had 17 points and 14 assists for the Bobcats.

"They seemed like they were the team fighting for playoff position and we were the team that was going home in the next nine or 10 days," Wizards forward Antawn Jamison said.

The Wizards got 33 points from Gilbert Arenas, but lost for the fifth time in seven games.

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