Butler's late dunk lifts Wizards


Washington Wizards Antawn Jamison gets his shot blocked by New York Knicks' Channing Frye during the first half Wednesday in Washington.

The Associated Press
Published: Thursday, January 18, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 18, 2007 at 12:00 a.m.

WASHINGTON — Caron Butler performed the kind of heroics usually reserved for Gilbert Arenas, dunking with 2.2 seconds remaining Wednesday night to give the Washington Wizards a 99-98 victory over the New York Knicks.

With the Knicks smothering Arenas, Butler took a feed from DeShawn Stevenson and put home the one-handed slam to give the first-place Wizards their ninth straight home win and a half-game lead over Orlando in the Southeast Division.

Butler had 27 points and a career-high 10 assists. Arenas, who has been stealing headlines with high-scoring games and buzzer-beating game-winners, was shadowed by Stephon Marbury all evening and was held to 16 points on 4-for-14 shooting. Washington improved to a meager 4-14 when he scores 26 or fewer.

Quentin Richardson scored a season-high 35 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to lead the Knicks, who had won four of five to move into contention in the weak Atlantic Division.

Jamal Crawford's short jumper in the paint gave the Knicks a 98-97 lead with 12.4 seconds remaining. After Butler's dunk, the Knicks could only take a quick desperation shot at the buzzer because they were out of timeouts.

RAPTORS 101, KINGS 85

Morris Peterson scored 22 points and Chris Bosh added 20 to help the Atlantic Division-leading Toronto Raptors to a victory over the visiting Sacramento Kings.

Jose Calderon had 11 points and nine assists for the Raptors, who won the first of a five-game homestand. Toronto plays three other teams with losing records during the stand.

Mike Bibby scored 21 points and Ron Artest had 18 for the Kings, who have lost seven straight — their longest skid since closing the 1997-98 season with seven consecutive losses.

The Kings play at Boston on Friday before Artest returns to Detroit on Saturday — his first game there since the brawl.

The Raptors have won six of their last eight and, since getting off to a 2-8 start, have turned their season around by going 17-13 to lift them to the top of the NBA's weakest division.

Toronto's bench outscored Sacramento's 50-12.

Peterson, who lost his job in the starting lineup earlier this season, went 4-for-6 from behind the 3-point arc. He also had five rebounds.

The teams traded leads in the first three quarters before Toronto took control in the fourth — outscoring Sacramento 33-16.

Toronto went 8-for-20 from beyond the 3-point arc, including 3-for-4 in the fourth quarter.

NETS 92, BOBCATS 85

Vince Carter scored 26 points and had two big baskets late in the fourth quarter as the visiting New Jersey Nets hung on to beat the Charlotte Bobcats.

Jason Kidd added 17 points for the Nets, who saw a 23-point third-quarter lead sliced to seven after going nearly five minutes without a point.

But Carter's reverse layup and fadeaway jumper from the baseline put the Nets ahead 87-78 with 3 minutes left and they survived 11 missed free throws to win for the seventh time in nine games.

The Nets started 11-17, but their recent hot streak has moved them within two games of .500 and to the top of the weak Atlantic Division.

New Jersey cruised early against the undermanned and poor-shooting Bobcats, who were without three key players and then lost coach Bernie Bickerstaff to a second-quarter ejection.

HAWKS 105, T-WOLVES 88

These young Atlanta Hawks are showing signs of coming together.

Joe Johnson had 29 points and eight assists to lead the visiting Hawks to a victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves, Atlanta's third straight victory.

Josh Smith added 21 points and five rebounds for the Hawks, who have their longest winning streak since they won four in a row from Nov. 3-10.

The Hawks were aided by an uncharacteristically flat performance from Wolves star Kevin Garnett, who just barely kept his remarkable double-figure scoring streak alive.

One of the most intense and focused players in the league, Garnett seemed a little distant in this one. He missed his first seven shots and managed just 13 points on 6-of-15 shooting, scoring at least 10 points in his 359th straight game, the eighth-longest streak in NBA history.

JAZZ 100, PISTONS 99

The Utah Jazz spoiled Chris Webber's debut and Chauncey Billups' comeback with the Detroit Pistons.

Deron Williams scored a career-high 31 points, had 10 assists and made a 3-pointer with 44 seconds left to help the visiting Jazz hold off Detroit.

The Pistons had a chance to win the game after a timeout with 5.1 seconds left, but Billups missed a shot just before the buzzer.

Mehmet Okur had 10 of his 22 points in the fourth quarter to help Utah improve to 4-0 over the last two seasons against his former team. Utah's Carlos Boozer had 20 points and nine rebounds and reserve Matt Harping added 10 points.

Webber, who signed the previous day, was with the team for only the morning shootaround before entering the game with 10:07 left in the first half and was welcomed by a standing ovation. The five-time All-Star made his first shot before missing his next four and finishing with two points, five rebounds and three assists.

BULLS 99, BUCKS 90

Andres Nocioni scored 21 points, Ben Gordon added 20 and Luol Deng had 19 to lead the visiting Chicago Bulls to their third straight victory.

It was Gordon's seventh straight game with at least 20 points and helped give the Bulls a rare win in Milwaukee, where they had lost 15 of the previous 16 times. Milwaukee, which got a career-high 22 points from 19-year-old Ersan Ilyasova, committed a season-high 26 turnovers.

Still, Milwaukee led 73-65 late in the third quarter before Chicago went on a 20-3 run to take its first lead since the first half. Milwaukee missed its first 10 shots of the fourth quarter.

Milwaukee's only basket during the run was from Ilyasova, who hit a step back 3-pointer to give the Bucks their last lead at 76-74 with 7:37 left.

Deng and Nocioni hit jumpers as Chicago retook the lead, and Gordon intercepted Andrew Bogut's pass and flung it 60-feet down court in stride to Kirk Hinrich for an easy layup.

On the next possession, Ruben Patterson was stripped and Gordon hit a 3-pointer to give the Bulls an 85-76 lead with 5:12 left. Chicago extended that lead to 12 and the Bucks never got back within striking distance.

GRIZZLIES 118, 76ERS 102

Former Florida Gator Mike Miller scored 30 points and Rudy Gay added 23 to lead the Memphis Grizzlies to a victory over the Philadelphia 76ers in a matchup of the NBA's two worst teams.

The Grizzlies, who led by as many as 25 in the first half, snapped a three-game losing streak as seven players scored in double figures. Lawrence Roberts and Chucky Atkins scored 13 apiece for Memphis, while Pau Gasol had 12 points and 12 rebounds.

The Sixers, who got no closer than 11 points in the fourth quarter, lost for their third straight. Philadelphia has dropped seven of its last eight.

Kyle Korver scored 30 points for Philadelphia, going 11-of-17 from the field. Willie Green scored 23, and Samuel Dalembert added 17, shooting 6-of-8.

Philadelphia leading scorer Andre Iguodala, who entered the game averaging 16.5 points, scored only four, taking just four shots.

Philadelphia coach Maurice Cheeks said he wanted to control the tempo and try to keep the Grizzlies off their running game that has averaged 110 points in the last 10 games.

SUNS 110, ROCKETS 91

Steve Nash had 21 points and 14 assists as the streaking Phoenix Suns overcame an early 15-point deficit to win their 11th straight game.

Amare Stoudemire scored 22 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for the visiting Suns, who are 29-3 in their last 32 games. They became the second team in franchise history to have two winning streaks of more than 10 games in one season. The 1992-93 Suns had winning streaks of 14 and 11 games on their way to the NBA finals.

Rafer Alston matched a career high with 29 points to lead the Rockets, who played without Tracy McGrady. The six-time All-Star sat out with stiffness in his lower back.

Shane Battier and Luther Head added 16 points apiece for Houston, which dropped to 1-9 with both McGrady and Yao Ming out of the lineup. Yao is out until at least the end of February with a broken right leg.

The Suns, the league's highest-scoring team, committed 18 turnovers and struggled to find their usual offensive rhythm against the Rockets, the league's top defensive team. Phoenix missed 14 of its first 21 shots and trailed 28-19 after the opening quarter.

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