Wizards Snap Out of It, Hand Jordan 200th Win
Thursday, December 27, 2007
CHARLOTTE, Dec. 26 -- Eddie Jordan picked up the 200th coaching victory of his NBA career Wednesday night, and though he would probably have to sit down and think about it, it's doubtful that many of them were as nerve-wracking as the Washington Wizards' 108-104 victory at Charlotte Bobcats Arena.
The Wizards blew an early lead but appeared to be in control on several occasions in the fourth quarter only to surrender momentum to the Bobcats with a turnover or a missed shot.
Ultimately, however, Jordan's team ended a three-game losing streak and improved to 14-13 because it made the right plays at the right time.
One of the biggest swings came with 26 seconds remaining and the Wizards clinging to a three-point lead after a three-point play by Bobcats forward Gerald Wallace.
Charlotte set up in a full-court press but the Wizards successfully inbounded the ball to Roger Mason Jr.
With arms and legs flailing all around him, Mason kept his cool and found rookie Nick Young, who slipped undetected behind the Charlotte defense and ran to the Wizards' basket, where he received Mason's pass and dunked to push the lead back to five.
"We weren't very smart at the end; I'm still trying to recover from that," said Jordan, who was presented with the game ball by his players but looked more relieved than excited when addressing the media. "It's not easy winning in this league, but it shouldn't have been that hard. . . . They pushed us to the limit but we found a way to win."
Behind Mason, who scored 16 of his career-high 24 points in the first period, the Wizards built an early 12-point lead, but the Bobcats made things difficult all night as the lead changed hands five times.
Wizards forward Caron Butler, who returned to the lineup after missing Saturday's loss at Indiana with sprained ankles, scored 21 of his 25 points in the second half and added eight assists and seven rebounds. Antawn Jamison posted his 19th double-double of the season (26 points, 14 rebounds), and Brendan Haywood overcame foul trouble to finish with a season-high 20 points and nine rebounds.
Wallace, who seemingly always finds a way to post big numbers against the Wizards, led the Bobcats with 32 points, 9 rebounds and 8 assists.
The Wizards were able to answer every big shot or run by the Bobcats (10-16) with one of their own.
Charlotte troubled the Wizards with full-court pressure defense in the fourth quarter and drew to 95-90 on a three-pointer by Derek Anderson with 4:50 to play.