SACRAMENTO — Another road game, another slow start and another electrifying comeback for the Washington Wizards.
This time the Wizards - on the third stop of a five-game western trip - victimized the Sacramento Kings, rallying from a 13-point halftime deficit to prevail 114-108 last night at Arco Arena.
With the victory, the Wizards improved to 38-34 on the season and moved to four games above .500 for the first time since Jan. 30.
Five Wizards finished in double figures with Antawn Jamison — recording 25 points and 12 rebounds for his 43rd double-double of the season - leading the way. Shooting guard DeShawn Stevenson scored 20 points, and forward Caron Butler added 18 points and seven assists. Darius Songaila added 17 off the bench, while point guard Antonio Daniels finished with 11.
Our guys just understand that 48 minutes is pure gold, meaning that every minute counts for us,” Wizards coach Eddie Jordan said. “We play every minute with veteran leadership. They tell our guys every timeout, every halftime, every dead ball ‘Stay in it, concentrate.’ This is just a tribute to our leadership, Antawn, Caron, [Daniels] and DeShawn Stevenson.
As was the case two nights earlier in a comeback win over in Seattle, the Wizards struggled to execute and defend for the better part of three quarters.
After leading the Kings 19-13 with five minutes left in the first quarter, the Wizards allowed their hosts to go on a 12-3 run that led to a 31-21 advantage heading into the second quarter.
The Kings (32-40) continued to outplay the Wizards in the second, outscoring them 24-16 while shooting 50 percent from the floor. Meanwhile, Washington struggled, getting only six of 18 shots to fall. The Kings took 10-point leads at three different times in the second quarter and went in at halftime up 55-43.
Sacramento continued its strong play early in the third quarter and led Washington 68-56 with 7:27 left in the period. Then the Kings fell apart and the Wizards rallied.
Sacramento forward Mikki Moore was called for a charge and argued the call, drawing a technical foul. He kept arguing with the official after receiving the technical and was assessed another and ejected.
Butler made both foul shots to trim the lead to 68-58.
A minute and a half later, Washington pulled within seven points when Jamison dunked on an alley-oop from Butler and was fouled in the process. He converted the three-point play to make the score 70-63.
The teams traded baskets until the Wizards managed to further narrow the gap on two foul shots by Stevenson and a layup by Songaila - who began his pro career in Sacramento — that cut the score to 74-71 with 3-1/2 minutes left in the third.
Butler turned in a highlight-worthy play that even impressed the home team when he drove the lane, went up with the ball in his right hand, cocked it all the way back and threw down a thunderous tomahawk jam on a leaping Kevin Martin.
It was just a momentum boost, Butler said. Obviously, looking for something to get myself going. Everybody else had a nice rhythm about themselves. Just trying to find something … ended up being success. And once that happened, it opened up a lot of other situations because then I got a couple more fast break dunks, getting into the passing lane and shooting the gaps and stuff.