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Question of the Day
MILWAUKEE — When they planned for last night's game with the Milwaukee Bucks, the Washington Wizards braced themselves for a heavy dose of shooting guard Michael Redd.
But when word circulated an hour before the game that Redd — the Bucks' leading scorer — was a scratch with a strained left knee, Wizards coach Eddie Jordan didn't breathe a sigh of relief. He instead grew nervous. Washington had geared so much of its strategy to shutting down Redd that Jordan feared his team would be susceptible to a big game from one of Redd's teammates.
Jordan was right. Four of Redd's teammates scored in double figures, and the Bucks won 105-102 in overtime after a valiant fourth-quarter charge from the Wizards.
Point guard Mo Williams led Milwaukee (18-27) with 25 points, including two key 3-pointers in the final 1½ minutes of overtime and two clinching foul shots in the last 2.3 seconds.
Center Andrew Bogut added 18 points and 15 rebounds, and backup guard Royal Ivey finished with 17 points — including a long jumper with six seconds left — and six assists.
"That was some comeback in the last minute or so, and look, they hit three big shots," said Jordan, whose team fell to 23-19. "Two were executed by them, and one we got hung up in our rotations.
"They did what they had to do to win. We did what we had to do to force it to overtime, but we couldn't get out on those three big shots, and that was the game right there."
Caron Butler — playing 30 minutes from his hometown of Racine and with 37 friends and family members in attendance — led the Wizards with a career-high 40 points, including 14 in the fourth quarter and overtime.
Antawn Jamison finished with 21 points and nine rebounds, and DeShawn Stevenson scored 11.
After losing their initial lead late in the second quarter, the Wizards spent much of the third quarter playing catch-up. They tied the game 66-66 by the end of the third quarter, but the Bucks reclaimed the lead four minutes into the fourth.
Milwaukee appeared well on their way to closing out the game, posting a 13-3 run to lead 90-79 with 1:39 left. But the Wizards came to life.
Stevenson sparked the rally by hitting two 3-pointers in a nine-second span to pull his team within 90-85.
Antonio Daniels then got to the line with 24.6 seconds left and made his first attempt. He missed the second, but Jamison scored on an acrobatic putback and drew a foul in the process.
Jamison missed his free throw, but Butler swooped into the lane and put up an off-balanced shot that fell, tying the game 90-90 with 20.2 seconds left.
Williams milked the clock and threw up a 3-pointer at the buzzer, but his shot clanked off the rim, evoking boos from the home crowd and sending the game into overtime.
Butler jump-started the Wizards with a 3-pointer and then a steal, which he took the length of the court for a layup. The forward was fouled on the play and made the free throw — his 70th straight — and Washington led 99-95.
But Williams hit a 3 in front of his bench with 1:19 left, cutting the lead to 99-98. Then with 47 seconds left, he hit another 3-pointer to give the Bucks a 101-99 lead. Ivey made a 22-foot jumper over Jamison, and Williams went 2-for-2 at the line to clinch the win.
"We thought we had a good shot to win it," said Butler, who hit one last 3 with 2.7 seconds left. "But they have a good team. Mo Williams is a heck of a clutch player, and he hit some big shots when he got open. Unfortunately we weren't able to keep a hand on him.
"Same sense of urgency we played with in the fourth quarter, we should've played the whole time, and we fell short in overtime while they hit some real big shots."
Last night at Bradley Center in Milwaukee
SEEN AND HEARD
In addition to a rigorous offseason training program, Wizards forward Caron Butler attributed his career-high 21.5 points and .481 shooting percentage to the work of shooting coach Dave Hopla, who joined Washington's coaching staff this season.
One of the elements of Hopla's expertise is shot charting, which is new to Butler and his teammates. It allows a player to see the spots on the floor from which he's shooting well — or poorly.
"It lets me know what I need to work on," Butler said. "And with the percentage now, I know from the floor, I'm shooting like 80 [percent] from 16 on in. It gives me confidence. I can come to a spot on the floor and know it's a good shot. I can be like 'Coach, I'm shooting 80! It was a good shot!' "
"What's going on down here? You think he just fell? Sniper?"
— Bucks coach Larry Krystkowiak when the referees didn't call a foul when guard Royal Ivey fell hard to the court while going for a rebound
BY THE NUMBERS
70 Consecutive foul shots made by Caron Butler, who now has the second longest streak since the 1997-98 season.
— Mike Jones
By Drew Johnson
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