- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 31, 2007

Chris Bosh has spent the better part of the four games between the Toronto Raptors and the Washington Wizards, well, pummeling the Wizards.

Last night at Verizon Center, the Wizards saw what appeared to be a sure victory in regulation snatched away by an improbable shot at the end of regulation, and then watched Bosh finish them in overtime 123-118.

It looked as if the game was over after Gilbert Arenas (34 points) gave the Wizards a 109-106 lead with 3.8 seconds left in regulation. But the Raptors sent it into overtime when Morris Peterson scored on a 31-foot 3-pointer at the buzzer that he should have never had the chance to take.

He had the opportunity when the Wizards’ Michael Ruffin made a steal on an Anthony Parker inbounds pass but then threw the ball directly at Peterson.

“Honestly I tipped it because I was thinking there was a short clock,” Ruffin said. “It was just a natural reaction to throw it in the air. I was thinking the time would run out. I didn’t get a good throw and there ended up being more time left on the clock.”

Wizards coach Eddie Jordan said he didn’t have time to evaluate whether Ruffin had made a mistake. He was too busy trying to prepare his team for overtime.

“What happened was they got the ball back and made a miraculous shot,” Jordan said of Peterson, who was inserted in the game for the first time with just 9.3 seconds left. “It wasn’t even a real jump shot, it was a throw.”

From there the game belonged to Bosh, the Raptors 6-10 superstar-in-the-making forward. Of his game-high 37 points, eight of them came in overtime — on four straight baskets — to put the Wizards away.

“We just have to be tougher and stronger when we get to overtime,” Jordan said. “That’s a tough, tough loss. You have to suck it up, hold your chin up high, be men and come in and prepare for a tough game on Sunday afternoon.”

Bosh has been virtually unstoppable when he has played the Wizards. Before last night, in a 119-109 victory on Jan. 31 at Air Canada Centre, Bosh scored 34 points and at one point made 15 straight baskets — after missing his first four.

And on Jan. 7, Bosh went for 24 points and 15 rebounds in a 116-111 victory against the Wizards.

“You’ve just got to keep it going,” Bosh said. “We’re trying to win basketball games. We just wouldn’t give up.”

With the loss the Wizards (38-33) fell to sixth place in the Eastern Conference playoff seedlings. They relinquished their lead in the Southeast Division to Miami (39-33), whom they would face in the first round if the playoffs started today.

Five Wizards players scored in double figures, with 19 from DeShawn Stevenson, who also had a season-high 10 rebounds. Caron Butler had 17 points, and Antawn Jamison had 16 points and 10 rebounds.

What was equally noticeable was what they didn’t get from their center.

For the second straight game, Brendan Haywood, who played just 12 minutes, was held scoreless, and in the last four games combined he has just three points and 12 rebounds.

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