Against Mirror Image, Wizards Grind Out Win

Late Kings Shot Provides Dramatic Finish: Wizards 106, Kings 104

Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, March 16, 2009; Page E03

Nothing has come easy for the Washington Wizards this season, so it was no shocker that they had to sweat out a 106-104 win over the dreadful Sacramento Kings last night at Verizon Center.

When it comes to battling injury, this season's Wizards rank as one of the least fortunate teams in sports history, but they did get a bit of good luck in the late stages last night.

Despite failing to score a field goal in the game's final 8 minutes 3 seconds, the Wizards held a 105-102 lead in the closing seconds.

With the clock running below 10 seconds, Sacramento point guard Beno Udrih drove to his left, curled underneath the basket and whipped a pass out to the corner, where Francisco Garcia spotted up, received the pass and launched a jump shot before either Nick Young or Antawn Jamison could get to him.

The shot went in with 3.8 seconds remaining and Garcia started skipping back toward the Sacramento bench believing he'd tied the game. But referee Eli Roe pointed to the ground and signaled that Garcia's right foot had touched the three-point line.

As the Kings players and coaches protested, Roe and fellow referees Mark Wunderlich and Mark Ayotte gathered around a television monitor on the scorer's table, reviewed the play and ruled that Roe made the correct call.

"We needed a win so yeah, his foot touched the line," Wizards forward Dominic McGuire said with a grin. "It was a good call."

Wizards guard Mike James then kept things interesting by missing the second of two free throws with 2.7 seconds left after he was intentionally fouled to stop the clock. The Kings called a timeout and inbounded the ball at midcourt.

Guard Kevin Martin (24 points) got a decent look at a potential game winning three-pointer from the top of the circle but his shot missed long, giving the Wizards and their fans a chance to celebrate a rare victory.

"It felt good," Martin said. "I thought it was going in for me."

The win kept the Wizards (16-51) slightly ahead of the Kings (14-52) and Los Angeles Clippers (15-50 heading into last night's game) at the bottom of the league's standings.

Jamison led the Wizards with 30 points and nine rebounds, Andray Blatche added 16 points and Darius Songaila chipped in with 15 against his former team. The victory came despite the absence of Caron Butler, who has been bothered by a tight hamstring all month.

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