Butler's Long-Distance Touch Is Picture Perfect

caron butler - washington wizards
Caron Butler was a career 30.3 percent three-point shooter coming into the season but had made 6 of 12 long-range attempts through 13 games. Monday night, he was 5-for-5 from downtown and 13-for-17 overall. (Donna Mcwilliam - AP)
By Ivan Carter
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, November 27, 2007

DALLAS, Nov. 26 -- Caron Butler has excelled as a scorer all of his basketball playing life but he's never been particularly adept as a three-point shooter. So last summer, the Wizards forward spent hour after hour working to add range to his shot.

The results of those efforts were on display Monday night as Butler made a career-high five three-pointers on five attempts, including one late in the fourth quarter that gave Washington a commanding 14-point lead over the Dallas Mavericks.

The Wizards (7-7) finished what Butler started and snapped a five-game losing streak in Dallas with a 110-98 victory. It was perhaps the team's best performance of the season and the most impressive road victory since an overtime win in Phoenix on Dec. 22 last year.

Butler finished with 35 points and capped his big night by pulling up off the dribble and hitting a three-pointer over Trenton Hassell with 4.1 seconds remaining. He then turned and strutted back upcourt as disappointed Mavericks fans headed for the exits at American Airlines Center following Dallas's first home loss of the season.

"I got into a real nice rhythm," said Butler, who is averaging career highs in several categories. "I was able to come out early with [assistant coach] Wes Unseld Jr. and get some shots up and once the game started, I was feeling good. The main thing is, I'm not hesitating when they are giving me the shot. My teammates are always yelling at me to just catch and shoot, and that's what I did tonight."

The Wizards bounced back from losses to Golden State and Memphis and gave themselves a boost heading into Wednesday's game against the defending NBA champion San Antonio Spurs.

Antawn Jamison added 27 points, Antonio Daniels scored a season-high 16 along with six assists and DeShawn Stevenson added 13 points as the Wizards sent the Mavericks (9-5) to a third straight defeat.

Butler was a career 30.3 percent three-point shooter coming into the season but had made 6 of 12 through 13 games. Still, opponents tend to back off of him, perhaps thinking that he would prefer to drive to the basket.

Butler made Hassell and Jason Terry pay for that approach in the third quarter when he made three-pointers on consecutive possessions, giving the Wizards an 11-point lead.

Daniels pushed the advantage to 12 (80-68) when he scored late in the period. Butler ended the quarter by making another three-pointer over Dirk Nowitzki (31 points) and the Wizards carried an 85-72 lead into the fourth.

The 38 points scored by the Wizards in the third matched a season high. After the Mavericks threatened with an early push to start the fourth, rookie guard Nick Young drove and converted layups on consecutive possessions.

When Young drove, spun into the lane and missed another attempt, Brendan Haywood was there to tip in the miss, giving the Wizards a 91-77 lead with 9 minutes 28 seconds to play.

CONTINUED     1        >

© 2007 The Washington Post Company