- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 28, 2012

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — With 4.6 seconds left in the game Saturday night, JaVale McGee stood at the free-throw line, with the Wizards up by three points over the Charlotte Bobcats. McGee missed them both.

With the clock winding down, Bobcats guard Matt Carroll had a good look at a 3-pointer to tie the game, but missed it short, and the Wizards escaped with a 102-99 win at Time Warner Cable Arena.

“This was a good learning experience,” Wizards coach Randy Wittman said. “Our guys grew tonight. We’ve been down this path how many times? I think we got back up nine in the fourth, made careless turnovers, and they’re right back in it. But we didn’t panic. We made plays down the stretch.”

The ability to close out games has been one of the many problems that have plagued the Wizards this season, but they put on an excellent display of team basketball Saturday night to help them come up with the victory.

“We just did some smart things tonight.” Wittman said. “… That’s what we can do [when we share the ball]. I’m trying to get that across to them, if we just play [as a team] and let the system run. Every coach knows who the scorers are. They’ve got to give me the opportunity to put them in the positions to do that. They don’t need to create those opportunities on their own.”

The Wizards spread the scoring around, with six players in double figures — McGee (22), Nick Young (21), Trevor Booker (16), Wall (13), Jordan Crawford (12) and Rashard Lewis (10).

“We had great balance,” Wall said. “Tonight, nobody really cared about who scored. We just went out there and played basketball. … We just basically took our time and trusted each other. But the key thing is we stayed together and got defensive stops down the end. We knew they wanted revenge from what we did to them on Wednesday night, so we knew coming out it was going to be a tough match.”

The Wizards also shot a season-high 52.6 percent and dished out 26 assists, two short of their season high.

Wall’s counterpart for the Bobcats, rookie point guard Kemba Walker, recorded his first career triple-double, with 20 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds.

The Wizards (4-16) now have the third-worst record in the league, with the Bobcats and Pistons both having more losses, as they hope to begin their climb out of the NBA basement.

“It felt pretty good, getting our first road win, and it felt good being at home,” said Booker, whose 16 points was his most this season. “That’s two great feelings right there tonight.”



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