- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 28, 2008

SEEN AND HEARD AT VERIZON CENTER

The questionable officiating in the Washington Wizards‘ game in Cleveland on Christmas night doesn’t matter from a playoff-position perspective. Call or no call, the Wizards are headed to the lottery this season.

The rest of their season is mostly about bookkeeping, learning which of the young players has a future with the team and finding out which version of Gilbert Arenas the team will get back — the three-time All-Star Arenas or the scaled-down one who never will be what he was after three knee surgeries.

Otherwise, the Wizards were reminded anew in Cleveland that nobody respects a loser.

How else to explain the awarding of three free throws to LeBron James with 1:33 left after replays showed Caron Butler didn’t make contact with him? James made all three, and the Cavaliers overcame a seven-point deficit in the final two minutes to win 93-89.

Antawn Jamison also had a beef with two calls late in the game: a questionable charging call against him and a foul he was assessed while defending Anderson Varejao.

The Wizards had seven free throw attempts to the Cavaliers’ 25. That disparity was enough to force the team to have the league office review the handiwork of referees Joe DeRosa, Luis Grillo and Courtney Kirkland.

“That process is under way or has been looked into,” Wizards interim head coach Ed Tapscott said. “But the outcome is the same. My point is, once a game is in the can, you look at it and learn from it. They are not going to send us back to Cleveland to replay that.”

— Tom Knott

QUOTABLE

“I told a cop up in Cleveland, ‘We could have used you about 15 minutes ago. We just got robbed.’ ”

— Wizards director of team services Jack Miles on the officiating in the Wizards’ loss to the Cavaliers

BY THE NUMBERS

105 Regular-season games Wizards guard Gilbert Arenas has missed the last three seasons.

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