Regular Season Series (Game 4 of 4)

Series starts 11/4

Game 1: Thursday, November 4th
Game 2: Monday, December 27th
Game 3: Saturday, March 5th
Game 4: Sunday, April 17th

Bobcats 104

(17-63, 4-36 away)

Wizards 106

(45-35, 29-12 home)

    1:00 PM ET, April 17, 2005

    Verizon Center, Washington, DC

    1 2 3 4 T
    CHA 24 33 18 29104
    WSH 29 22 22 33106

    Top Performers

    Cha: M. Carroll 22 Pts, 6 Reb, 2 Ast

    WSH: A. Jamison 26 Pts, 13 Reb, 5 Ast, 1 Stl

    Wizards with three scoring 26 or more

    WASHINGTON (AP) -- Gone are the days when Washington Wizards luck was all bad. This year's team must have collected a few four-leaf clovers, or at least enough to make a deflected ball somehow end up in Antawn Jamison's hands for a wide-open, game-winning layup.

    With Larry Hughes racing the length of the court and the clocking running down, Charlotte's Brevin Knight knocked the ball away from behind -- and right to Jamison, who put it off the glass and into the basket with 1.3 seconds remaining to give the Washington Wizards a 106-104 comeback victory over the Charlotte Bobcats on Sunday.

    "It's almost like the basketball gods were looking out after us," Washington coach Eddie Jordan said.

    The Wizards, who have already clinched their first postseason berth in eight years, won their fourth straight and moved within one game of Chicago with two to play in the race for the No. 4 seed and homecourt advantage the first round in the Eastern Conference playoffs. The Wizards hold the tiebreaker over the Bulls.

    Washington also finished 29-12 at the MCI Center, its best home record in the arena since it opened in December 1997 and the franchise's best overall home record since 30-11 in 1988-89.

    "It's character wins, half of them," Jordan said. "Guys coming back, guys having a lot of willpower and determination to stake their claim and protect homecourt."

    Hughes finished with 28 points and four steals, Gilbert Arenas had 27 points and eight rebounds, and Jamison had 26 points and 13 rebounds for the Wizards, who trailed by 11 with 7:14 to play against a game, hard-luck Bobcats team missing its two top scorers.

    The Bobcats played without leading scorer and rebounder Emeka Okafor, who bruised his right thigh in Saturday's 100-98 loss to New York, while center Primoz Brezec missed his third straight game with a sprained ankle. In addition, Gerald Wallace didn't play the last seven minutes because of a sore left shoulder.

    Malik Allen got his first start of season in coach Bernie Bickerstaff's 24th starting lineup of the season. Charlotte dressed just nine players, prompting Bickerstaff to say, "We got more coaches than we got players" after the starting lineups were introduced.

    Yet the Bobcats stayed close throughout and were upset with the officiating in the final seconds. Knight felt he was fouled by Hughes when driving to the basket with six seconds left -- Hughes, in fact, said it was a foul -- and the Bobcats guard had to be restrained as he pursued officials at midcourt after the final buzzer.

    Knight wouldn't comment on the call afterward, but Bickerstaff was clearly upset over the no-call, especially given that it resulted in the second two-point Bobcats loss in as many days. Charlotte has lost 16 games by three points or fewer.

    "I think they deserved better than that," Bickerstaff said. "They didn't get what they had coming. It should be won on the court."

    Matt Carroll scored a career-high 22 points for the Bobcats, which had six players in double figures.

    Charlotte led 90-79 with 7:14 left, but the Wizards finally awoke with an 11-2 run off a pair of jumpers each from Hughes and Arenas.

    Still, the Bobcats led 104-100 with 90 seconds to go, but two straight turnovers by Knight kept the Wizards in the game. Hughes converted one of the turnovers into a fast-break dunk to make the score 104-102.

    Arenas tied the game at 104 with a drive through the lane with 27 seconds to play, but he missed the free throw that would have given him a three-point play and the Wizards a one-point lead. Knight then missed his contested shot, setting up the final dash down court that resulted in Jamison's fluky game-winning layup.

    "They did everything they had to do to win the game," Jordan said of the Bobcats, "except they didn't get a break at the end."

    Game notes

    Bobcats part-owner and rap star Nelly had seats along the baseline and yelled "Don't" when the Wizards attempted free throws, prompting smiles and laughs from Washington's players. Jamison even smiled and said "He got me" after missing one with 3:36 to play. ... The Wizards won the season series 4-0. ... Washington activated guard Anthony Peeler before the game. Peeler had been on the injured list since April 5 with right knee tendinitis. Forward Damone Brown was placed on the injured list with right shoulder tendinitis. ... Michael Ruffin, the last remaining Wizards player to take part in every game this season, finally sat one out because of a bruised heel. ... Bickerstaff was the last coach to take the Wizards to the playoffs.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 104 106
    FGM-FGA 42-83 (.506) 41-88 (.466)
    3PM-3PA 2-5 (.400) 7-24 (.292)
    FTM-FTA 18-19 (.947) 17-24 (.708)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 10-37 15-44
    Assists 28 24
    Turnovers 18 18
    Steals 11 15
    Blocks 0 5
    Fast Break Points 16 25
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 24 (1/0) 16 (1/0)
    Largest Lead 11 8

    Top Performers

    Matt Carroll Carroll
    Points: 22
    Reb: 6
    Ast: 2
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 0
    Antawn Jamison Jamison
    Points: 26
    Reb: 13
    Ast: 5
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 0