- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 16, 2008

Antawn Jamison wasn’t having the greatest of fourth quarters last night against the visiting Los Angeles Clippers.

He missed four field goals, including two 3-pointers, and a foul shot. His teammates played almost as poorly as they made three of their first 14 attempts in the quarter.

But Jamison summoned the burst the Washington Wizards needed and led them to a 119-109 overtime victory last night.

The Wizards (33-32) trailed the Clippers 100-97 when Jamison stepped to the line with 2.2 seconds left in the fourth quarter after Cuttino Mobley fouled him on a 3-point attempt. The All-Star then made all three of his free throw attempts.

“I was kind of frustrated about the ones I did miss, and it was very big,” said Jamison, who led the Wizards with 36 points and 11 rebounds. “I was able to stay focused, calm down and take my time. It was funny because yesterday I stayed after practice extra to really work on my free throws because I was disappointed and it came in handy.”

The foul shots tied the game and Clippers forward Tim Thomas missed an 18-footer at the horn to force overtime.

Then Jamison went back to work.

With the score tied 102-102, Jamison hit a 3-pointer with 3:49 left on the overtime clock. Then with 3:04 left, he drilled another from 3-point range, giving Washington a 108-104 lead.

The Wizards fed off Jamison’s energy as Caron Butler followed with a dunk and forced the Clippers to take a timeout. A minute later, Antonio Daniels sank a floater to continue the Wizards’ onslaught.

Butler came away with a steal and dunked on a breakaway despite drawing a foul and made the foul shot.

Daniels capped the run with a 3-pointer from the left with 5.5 seconds remaining The veteran had missed his last 12 from 3-point range and hadn’t made a 3-pointer since Feb. 1.

The Wizards, who outscored the Clippers 22-9 in the last 2.2 seconds of regulation and in overtime, earned their first three-game winning streak since mid-January. With the win, they pulled within 1½ games of Toronto for fifth place in the Eastern Conference standings.

The Wizards also moved a game above .500 for the first time since Feb. 5.

“It’s encouraging because of the way we’re playing and the way we’re winning basketball games,” said Daniels, who had 14 points and six assists. “We’ve won some tough ones and we’ve fought back, a lot of character wins. Today was a character win. The last two minutes of the game, it looks like nothing’s going our way, and for us to continue to fight, we have guys who continue to gut it out.”

Darius Songaila — starting in place of Brendan Haywood, who sat out with a strained patella tendon in his left knee — added 14 points, Butler finished with 16 and DeShawn Stevenson rounded out the starters with 11. Backup guards Roger Mason Jr. and Nick Young scored 10 points apiece.

Until overtime, the game went back and forth that featured 11 lead changes and 11 ties. The first quarter ended in a 25-25 tie and the teams went in at halftime tied at 55-55.

After losing a third quarter lead, the Wizards appeared gassed in the fourth quarter, but they never trailed by more than six points.

But with 2:46 left, Daniels drove the lane for a one-handed dunk that cut the Clippers’ lead to 90-87.

Daniels then hit a running jumper with 2:08 left on the clock, and 40 seconds later, Butler made two foul shots to pull Washington within 92-91.

Jamison missed a potential game-tying 3 with 30 seconds remaining but gave the Wizards hope with a 3-pointer that cut the lead to 98-97 with 4.5 left.

Note — Center Etan Thomas, who has missed all of this season after having surgery to repair a leaky aortic valve in October, said last night he’s waiting to have another CT scan, which will let him know how well his sternum has healed.

The 6-foot-10, 260-pound veteran said his heart is fine, but his sternum’s recovery is delaying his return. The last CT scan, which was conducted six weeks ago, showed his sternum is 50 percent healed, Thomas said. If he receives a hard blow to the chest before it is fully healed, the sternum could get jarred and would need to be reset, which would mean another surgery.

Thomas first returned to practice Feb. 18 but experienced pain when he took contact to his chest. He didn’t resume practice until March 4.

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