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The Wizards could not complete the simplest pass after calling a timeout on two occasions late in the game. It can be assumed that interim coach Ed Tapscott did not instruct Dominic McGuire and Mike James to throw the ball out of bounds on successive possessions.

It also can be assumed that Tapscott felt compelled to call a timeout on each occasion after James let two shots fly after forgetting to get the ball to either Antawn Jamison or Butler, the team’s two principal scorers.

Tapscott called yet another timeout with 20.6 seconds left, and this time the Wizards were able to follow instructions. It is funny how that works. Jamison received a pass on the left baseline and sank a 17-footer to put the Wizards up 79-77 with 10.5 seconds left.

What followed was a deviation from NBA business as usual.

“I had no expectations [on the Spooner call],” Tapscott said. “If it was the correct call, it was the correct call. I don’t evaluate the officials.”

The correct call nullified a basket that would have tied the score and possibly sucked the last bit of fight out of the fragile Wizards.

Jamison could be excused his displeasure after the Wizards fashioned yet another wobbly fourth quarter.

“You get frustrated, not because a team makes a run on you but because of the way you lose the lead,” he said.

His frustration was alleviated in part after Spooner broke free from the herd that protects James.

“I’m not surprised by the correct call,” Jamison said. “Now I’ve been surprised by some of the calls the last few seasons.”

So a call went the Wizards’ way.

It was one of the few things that has gone their way this season.