Indiana Pacers beat Washington Wizards, 114-113, at Verizon Center

Pacers guard T.J. Ford drives around Wizards guard Earl Boykins during the second quarter, when Indiana surged into the lead.
Pacers guard T.J. Ford drives around Wizards guard Earl Boykins during the second quarter, when Indiana surged into the lead. (Evan Vucci/associated Press)
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By Gene Wang
Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Washington Wizards lost another game in excruciating fashion, this time failing to hold a lead in the final seconds and falling to Indiana, 114-113, Saturday night before 13,171 at Verizon Center.

The Wizards' losing streak reached four games, and they wasted a triple-double by Gilbert Arenas and strong performances from Antawn Jamison and Caron Butler.

After Arenas missed two free throws with six seconds to play, T.J. Ford drove to the basket and put up a shot that was blocked out of bounds as the buzzer sounded. Officials reviewed the play and put 0.5 of a second back on the clock. The Pacers' Earl Watson inbounded to Mike Dunleavy Jr., who went up for a shot that DeShawn Stevenson and Brendan Haywood challenged.

Haywood was called for the foul, again apparently with no time left. But officials reviewed that sequence and determined there should be 0.1 of a second to play, sending Dunleavy to the foul line for two shots. He made both, and the Wizards called timeout.

Washington inbounded to JaVale McGee, whose desperation heave clanked off the back of the rim as time expired, and the Wizards were left to absorb their second straight defeat in the closing seconds. On Thursday against Boston, Arenas missed two free throws with 26 seconds to play in a 104-102 loss.

"I never fathomed I'd be missing free throws again," said Arenas, who finished with 22 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds for the fourth triple-double of his career and second since March 19, 2004.

Jamison scored a game-high 31 points on 13-of-18 shooting and had seven rebounds, and Butler chipped in with 23 points on 9-of-15 shooting. He also had three rebounds and two assists and was 5 of 5 from the foul line. Troy Murphy led the Pacers with 28 points and 12 rebounds, and Dunleavy finished with 24 points, including 10 of 10 from the free throw line.

"We're inventing ways to lose," Wizards Coach Flip Saunders said after his team could not close against the last-place team in the Central Division.

The Wizards appeared to have the game in hand with 1 minute 22 seconds to play after Earl Boykins made a long jumper for a 111-105 lead. The Pacers, however, countered with a Tyler Hansbrough layup and two free throws by Watson. Indiana drew to 113-112 on a pair of Dunleavy free throws with 13 seconds to play, and Arenas found himself at the line moments later.

"It's just mental," Arenas said of his misses, "because I make them in practice."

The Wizards (7-14), mired in last place in the Southeast, took the lead with eight minutes to play after erasing a 14-point halftime deficit. Nick Young's three-pointer gave Washington a 99-96 advantage, and the game went back and forth to the end.

The Wizards got back in the game in the third quarter on the strength of Arenas and Jamison. The duo combined for 17 points during a run that trimmed the deficit to one, 78-77, with 4 minutes 3 seconds to play in the third quarter.

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