Wizards Finally Take Down The Nets

dwight stevenson - washington wizards
Wizards guard DeShawn Stevenson delivers a slam dunk over Richard Jefferson in the third period and moments later is slapped with a technical foul for taunting. (Nick Wass - AP) (Nick Wass - AP)
By Ivan Carter
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, December 10, 2007

The Washington Wizards snapped a six-game losing streak to the New Jersey Nets with a 104-89 victory at Verizon Center last night because nearly every player on their injury-depleted roster chipped in.

All five starters scored in double figures for the third time this season and reserve forward Darius Songaila came up with 11 points and six rebounds and helped during a key stretch of the second half.

The Wizards (10-10) improved to 3-1 on a season-long five-game homestand that will conclude tomorrow night against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Caron Butler led the Wizards with 28 points on 10-of-21 shooting, Antawn Jamison added 22 points and 10 rebounds for his 14th double-double of the season and the Wizards turned 18 New Jersey turnovers into 22 points.

Jason Kidd led the Nets (9-12) by posting a triple-double with 13 points, 13 assists and 10 rebounds. Vince Carter scored 30 points but only two of them came during the fourth quarter, which the Wizards opened with a 14-5 run.

The Nets have lost three straight and four of their last five. It was Washington's first win over New Jersey since Dec. 13, 2005, and came on the heels of a rough, 122-107 loss to Phoenix on Friday night.

"We've been playing good basketball lately," said Butler, who scored 20 of his 28 points in the second half, including one stretch in which he outscored the Nets 10-1. "We let one slip away the other night against Phoenix but we bounced back tonight and got a good quality win against a good quality team."

The Wizards trailed 48-42 at the half but got rolling in the third quarter when they outscored New Jersey 36-24 while turning six Nets turnovers into 13 points.

Carter scored 15 points in the period but the Wizards shut down Richard Jefferson (nine points on 4-of-12 shooting) and took a 64-63 lead with 3 minutes 58 seconds left in the period when DeShawn Stevenson (12 points) made a spectacular one-handed dunk over Jefferson.

Stevenson was hit with a technical foul for his reaction to the dunk -- the referees felt that he taunted Jefferson; Stevenson said he didn't say anything -- but the play energized the crowd and Wizards players.

Stevenson, who was known as a high-flyer when he entered the NBA out of high school in 2000 and who once finished second in the dunk contest that takes place over All-Star Weekend, said he hasn't had a dunk like that since two seasons ago when he had one over Charlotte's Gerald Wallace while playing for Orlando.

"I was in transition and heard Antonio [Daniels] yell, 'Dunk on him,' so that's what I did," said Stevenson, who had scored two points in the previous two games. "I was just going to lay it up but when I heard that, I decided to dunk on him. . . . Whenever you get a big play like that it can get momentum going for you and your team."

CONTINUED     1        >

© 2007 The Washington Post Company