Butler Scores 39, Wizards' Overtime Win Is 6th Straight

By Ivan Carter
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, November 22, 2007

CHARLOTTE, Nov. 21 -- The mood was subdued inside the Washington Wizards' locker room before Wednesday night's game against the Charlotte Bobcats, as word spread that Gilbert Arenas underwent surgery on his left knee earlier in the day and is expected to miss at least three months.

Once game time arrived, the Wizards showed that they don't plan on falling apart without their three-time all-star.

Riding a career-high 39-point performance from forward Caron Butler, the Wizards overcame a flurry of late mistakes to emerge with a 114-111 overtime victory.

Antawn Jamison had 27 points and 12 rebounds for the Wizards, and Antonio Daniels finished with a season-high 14 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists.

It was the sixth straight win for the Wizards (6-5) and third straight without the services of Arenas, who also missed Saturday's win over Portland and Tuesday's win over Philadelphia.

Raymond Felton led the Bobcats (6-5) with 27 points and 12 assists.

After missing a difficult jumper that would have won the game as time expired in regulation, Butler hit the game's biggest shot: a three-pointer that gave the Wizards a 111-105 lead with 2 minutes 5 seconds remaining in overtime.

The shot was set up when Roger Mason skipped taking a difficult attempt and passed out to Butler, who had his feet set and was in perfect position to receive the ball.

"It was a veteran play," Coach Eddie Jordan said. "Roger had the mind to make the extra pass with the shot clock coming down and he did it. He could have pulled up and taken a tough shot. That was a big play for us."

That shot should have been a game-clincher, but the Wizards had problems handling Charlotte's pressure and turnovers on four of six possessions allowed the Bobcats to creep to 112-111 following a dunk by Emeka Okafor with 17.8 seconds left.

The Wizards handled the press on the next inbounds play and Butler made two free throws with 15.5 seconds remaining. They played sound defense on the ensuing possession and forced a three-point attempt by Gerald Wallace, who was defended closely by DeShawn Stevenson. The shot fell short with 4.9 seconds left.

But the Wizards made it hard on themselves again when Stevenson missed a pair free throws with 1.4 seconds left. After a timeout, the Bobcats set up for one more shot, but Matt Carroll's attempt at a game-tying three-pointer from the corner glanced off the backboard as time expired.

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