- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 15, 2005

MILWAUKEE - Larry Hughes just seems to love breaking the hearts of the Milwaukee Bucks in the late stages of games.

Last season Hughes scored 23 of his 36 points in the second half to help the Wizards to a rare win at Bradley Center. And last night he surpassed the Bucks again.

Isolated against Desmond Mason, probably the Bucks’ best defender, with less than 10 seconds left and the game tied, Hughes swayed back and forth, back and forth with the ball.

“I was getting in rhythm,” Hughes said, describing the moment. “I was using those dribbles to get in rhythm to see what his feet were doing, what his feet were saying. I looked up at the clock with four seconds left, and then I just took off.”

When Hughes landed after blowing by Mason, and laying the ball in for the game-winning layup with six-tenths of a second to play, the Wizards had their sixth win in a row 105-103. It was just their second victory in their last 12 games in Milwaukee and put them eight games over .500 (21-13) for the first time since 1979.

“We wanted to get [the clock] down to where they couldn’t get a shot, and Larry executed it perfectly,” Wizards coach Eddie Jordan said.

The Wizards’ winning streak is the longest in the league and their longest since they won nine in a row from Dec. 6 to 22, 2001. The victory was their eighth on the road, matching last season’s total.

Hughes continued in his role as box-score stuffer, finishing with eight assists and five steals.

Antawn Jamison, who passed the ball back to Hughes in the waning seconds, finished with 22 points and four steals. Gilbert Arenas added 20 points despite shooting 2-for-11 from behind the 3-point line. Juan Dixon scored 12 of his 13 points in the fourth quarter and also finished with five assists.

Down 95-87 late in the fourth, Washington scored 12 unanswered points to go ahead on Dixon’s jumper with 1:30 left. After each team made two free throws, Milwaukee’s Mo Williams converted a three-point play to get the Bucks within 101-100.

After Dixon sank another pair of free throws, it appeared the Wizards might have some breathing room. But Milwaukee’s Michael Redd (20 points) drilled a 3-pointer to tie the game, forcing the Wizards to call a timeout and set up Hughes’ winning basket.

It really never should have reached that point, though. Milwaukee, the Central Division’s worst team at 12-22, outscored the Wizards 32-18 in the third quarter. This was mostly the byproduct of a 24-6 Bucks run that boosted them to a 71-64 advantage late in the quarter.

Washington were 4-for-8 from behind the 3-point line in the first quarter en route to a 10-point lead. That lead reached its biggest point of the half when Laron Profit, getting minutes in place of injured Jarvis Hayes (mild concussion), connected on a 3-pointer early in the second that gave the Wizards a 34-21 led with 11:44 to play in the half.

The Bucks, behind reserve guard Mike James’ 10 points in the quarter, reduced the Wizards’ lead to 46-43 on James’ layup with 3:46 left in the half. But the Wizards withstood this charge, holding the Bucks to just two field goals the rest of the half and closing it with a 10-4 run.

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