WASHINGTON (AP) -- Two minutes into the game, the Washington
Wizards took a 4-2 lead over the San Antonio Spurs, an achievement
coach Eddie Jordan considered worthy of mentioning to his assistant
"I said, 'Geez, we got four points. That's good. We're a lot
better than we were in San Antonio," Jordan said.
Not only did the Wizards avoid the 21-2 hole they dug for
themselves in San Antonio three weeks ago, they beat the Spurs
95-87 Wednesday night with stellar performances from their new
Antawn Jamison had a season-high 35 points and 11 rebounds, and
Gilbert Arenas scored 24 as Washington won its third straight.
While the Wizards took advantage of Tim Duncan's absence, they were
quick to point out that the 101-73 drubbing in Texas on Jan. 17 was
their first game after Larry Hughes broke his thumb.
"When you lose the way we did in San Antonio, you take it
personally," said Jamison, who played 46 of 48 minutes. "It was
our first game without Larry. They did pretty much everything they
wanted to do. We had it in the back of our head, but we're not a
team that's all about revenge."
Without Duncan, the Wizards' All-Stars outnumbered the Spurs'
All-Stars two-to-one, and they were the difference. Arenas spurred
a 16-2 run in the second quarter when the Spurs were threatening to
blow the game open. Jamison scored 14 points on 5-for-6 shooting in
the fourth quarter to keep San Antonio from making a final run.
The loss snapped a five-game winning streak for the Spurs, who
played their second game in two nights without Duncan. Duncan has a
sprained right ankle but might return for Friday's game at New
Jersey, the fifth stop in their seven-game road trip.
All-Star Manu Ginobili couldn't make up the slack, scoring 15
points on 6-for-15 shooting. Tony Parker scored 13 of his 22 points
in the fourth quarter to keep the Spurs in the game. Malik Rose,
starting in Duncan's spot, matched his season-high with 19 points.
Rasho Nesterovic, who has had a string of big games when Duncan was
out, had just eight points and eight rebounds in his second game
back from an ankle injury.
The Spurs were outscored in the paint (38-36) for just the
eighth time this season, a crucial stat on a night when they made
just 7 of 26 3-pointers. Washington's Etan Thomas and Michael
Ruffin left little room down low.
"If we can't hit the outside shot it's hard because we've got
nobody inside that can really dominate like Timmy," Parker said.
The Wizards took the lead in the third quarter and kept it the
rest of the game, but they never led by more than eight. Parker
made a 3-pointer to cut the deficit to two with 4½ minutes to play,
but Jamison answered with a 3-pointer that started a 7-2 run.
"Timmy wasn't there; it didn't matter," San Antonio coach
Gregg Popovich said. "It's not about who wasn't there. It's about
who did what tonight, and Antawn and Gilbert were great."
Arenas was 0-for-5 in the first quarter, and the Wizards went
5-for-21, as the Spurs built a 22-15 lead. San Antonio was ahead
28-17 early in the second when Arenas connected on a tough baseline
jumper for his first basket, starting a run that left the Wizards
trailing 40-39 at the half.
Update on Duncan from Popovich: "He's doing well,
progressing as one might think, probably 50-50 for New Jersey on
Friday." ... Popovich said Robert Horry's leg injury is actually a
slight fracture in a "non-weight-bearing bone." "It's got to
heal on its own," Popovich said. "He's allowed to play on it. I'm
trying to play him as little as possible, so we'll have him down
the stretch." Horry played 18 minutes and scored four points. ...
Popovich didn't sound thrilled about the prospect of coaching the
West in the All-Star game Feb. 20, a chore he expected to go to
Phoenix's Mike D'Antoni after the Suns' torrid start. "All my
plans were made, and they did not include the All-Star game,"
Popovich said. "Now that I'm there, it's time to be a big boy and
figure out ways to enjoy yourself." Popovich said he usually
spends the break by himself studying the first half of the season
and watching movies. ... Wizards guard Jarvis Hayes left the game
in the third quarter with a strained right arch strain, but he
returned in the fourth. ... The game was a sellout, the Wizards'
sixth of the season.