- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 14, 2005

The Washington Wizards acquired Antawn Jamison for a variety of reasons, among them to help lead the franchise to its first playoff berth since 1997.

With that goal accomplished Wednesday with a 93-82 victory over the Chicago Bulls, Jamison’s leadership skills will be counted on to make sure the Wizards aren’t complacent in the final four regular-season games.

“You have to realize that our job is not done,” Jamison said of the Wizards (43-35), currently seeded sixth but trailing fourth-seed Chicago (44-34) by just one game. “We made it to the playoffs, and it’s been awhile, and we should definitely celebrate that and recognize that. But our overall plan is to win as many games as possible. We’ve got four important games left.”

The first of those games is tonight against a Cleveland team fighting for a spot of its own. The Cavaliers (40-37) entered last night’s game at New York seeded seventh in the East, 21/2 games behind the Wizards and a full game up on current No. 8 seed Philadelphia, which played host to Miami.

Despite their recent shaky play ” before last night, the Cavaliers had lost five of their last eight games ” Cleveland still has plenty of incentive.

Young teams like the Wizards can be unpredictable when they experience success for the first time. Jamison, however, does not anticipate a letdown.

“We’re one game behind the fourth seed, and that’s our goal now,” said Jamison, who has averaged 23.7 points and 8.5 points in four games since returning from a knee injury. “What kind of character are we going to have” Are we just going to relax these last four games, or are we going to continue to fight and take some momentum into the playoffs” It’s going to be interesting to see, but I don’t think it’s going to be a problem.”

Although the Wizards will be without forward Jarvis Hayes through the playoffs (broken kneecap), their win over the Bulls featured the return of Brendan Haywood (broken thumb). The center gave Washington a boost with seven points, 11 rebounds and four blocks.

Haywood even brought some attitude to the Wizards. After being pulled down from behind by Tyson Chandler, who half-kicked at Haywood before being ejected, Haywood called the tactic “a sucker move.” He also said he has seen Chandler out in public and that Chandler never would act that bold when there were no referees to get between them.

Chandler, the Bulls’ 7-footer, said he had no fear of Haywood. He mentioned a preseason brawl between the Wizards and the Bulls in which Haywood backed away from the Bulls’ Antonio Davis.

“I’m not going to fight somebody that I watched one of my teammates chase out of the arena before he would turn around and fight him,” Chandler said after being ejected Wednesday.

Haywood and Chandler might meet again if the Wizards and Bulls are matched up in the first round. As for now, it’s time for the Wizards to focus on Cleveland and the remainder of the regular season.

“The celebrating is over,” Wizards coach Eddie Jordan said. “We had an intense practice today, a very physical practice. That’s basically a practice to say, “OK, the celebrating’s over. We have work to do.’ ”

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