Undermanned Wizards Rally Past T-Wolves
Tuesday, December 11, 2007; 9:51 PM
WASHINGTON -- The Washington Wizards are down to nine healthy players, so it's a good thing six scored in double figures Tuesday night.
Antawn Jamison led the way with 22 points and 13 rebounds, Caron Butler added 20 points and 10 rebounds, and Washington overcame a career-high 36 points from Craig Smith to beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 102-88.
Brendan Haywood had 11 points and 14 rebounds, and reserve guard Roger Mason Jr. scored 17 points, as the Wizards (11-10) moved above .500 for only the second time all season. They improved to 8-5 without star point guard Gilbert Arenas.
Arenas, who had a second operation on his left knee in November, is expected to miss at least another two months. Washington also is without Etan Thomas (heart surgery), Oleksiy Pecherov (broken foot) and Darius Songaila (sprained left ankle).
Minnesota has its own injury problems, although it did get someone back Tuesday: Coach Randy Wittman returned after missing three games because of back surgery.
The Timberwolves dropped to 1-8 on the road and 3-16 overall, and they were trying to win consecutive games for the first time this season. But they couldn't follow up their victory over the Phoenix Suns on Saturday with another surprise.
That was hardly Smith's fault, though. He had never scored more than 26 points in an NBA game, and he didn't get much help Tuesday: No one else on Minnesota scored more than 14.
Washington was up by as many as 20 points, 66-46, after a 10-0 run to begin the third quarter.
But Minnesota kept chipping away, and when Al Jefferson scored two straight baskets, then Corey Brewer made two free throws, it suddenly was a game again: Washington's lead was down to 85-79 with 8 1/2 minutes left.
But the Wizards responded with a 7-0 run to get some breathing room, with two putback dunks by Haywood bracketing a three-point play by Jamison off a pass from Butler.
Jamison had his seventh consecutive double-double, matching the longest streak of his career _ but something he hadn't done since Dec. 27, 2000, to Jan. 8, 2001.
Notes:@ Minnesota G Randy Foye is expected to be rehabbing his injured left knee for a few more weeks. Foye, an NBA all-rookie team selection in 2006-07, hasn't played this season, but he was cleared to ramp up his rehab work after having some tests on the knee Monday. ... Songaila missed the game with a sprained left ankle, leaving coach Eddie Jordan with nine healthy players. ... It looked as though the Wizards might lose another player when F-C Andray Blatche sprained his right ankle in the first half. But he was back on the court in the third quarter.