Jamison, Blatche provide lift as Wizards squeak past Raptors

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Andray Blatche did what any 21-year-old understudy might do after being told in the morning he would need to take over a starring role that night: He went home to rest up.

Relaxed and ready, Blatche did a fine job filling in for an injured Caron Butler, with plenty of help from Antawn Jamison and others.

Blatche had 19 points and eight rebounds in only his second start of the season, and Jamison finished with 24 points and 20 rebounds Tuesday night, leading the Washington Wizards to a 108-104 overtime victory over the Toronto Raptors.

"I knew I had to bring it, because Caron's are big shoes to fill," Blatche said. "After hitting my first shot, I knew I was going to be rolling."

Chris Bosh led the way with 37 points and 12 rebounds for the Raptors, who trailed by as many as 12 points in the fourth quarter. Anthony Parker's high-arching 3-pointer curled into the net as the regulation buzzer sounded, forcing the extra period.

"A tough shot," Jamison acknowledged. "A phenomenal shot."

A bit stunned, the Wizards went to the sideline not with heads hung low, but yelling at each other that they were still going to win. And with Jamison scoring five points in overtime, and DeShawn Stevenson making a key 3-pointer, the Wizards did just that in a thrilling back-and-forth game.

"It was like a knockout punch to the head," Washington coach Eddie Jordan said, "and we stood our ground and kept our composure."

It was only Washington's fifth victory in 21 games without Butler over the past two seasons. The forward, like Jamison hoping to be among the All-Star reserves announced Thursday, strained his left hip flexor when he fell during an overtime loss at Milwaukee on Sunday.

So Butler was on the sideline in a suit and tie, high-fiving fans after Stevenson's fifth 3-pointer of the game put the Wizards ahead 104-98 in overtime. Bosh answered with a 3, but Jamison's tip-in put Washington back up 106-101. After Jason Kapono's 3 with 5.2 seconds to go pulled Toronto within 106-104, Antonio Daniels went 2-for-2 from the line with 4.9 seconds on the clock.

Already managing to play well without Gilbert Arenas since November, the Wizards simply carried on Tuesday, with contributions from all over: Stevenson's 20 points, Daniels' 15, reserve Roger Mason Jr.'s 13 points and six assists, rookie Dominic McGuire's 10 rebounds.

Overall, the Wizards held a 57-44 edge on the boards.

"There's no excuse for not rebounding," Raptors coach Sam Mitchell said.

"When we lose games, most of the time, that's part of it," he said. "It's not just one guy. It's all of us on the team. I don't know where we're going to find it from. We've got to learn to box out."

Bosh helped the Raptors -- who had won seven of their past nine games -- build a lead of as many as 10 points in the first half. But paced by Blatche, Washington opened the second half with a 14-0 run to go up 60-50 and never trailed the rest of the way.

The Wizards tightened their defense during that early second-half stretch: The Raptors started the quarter with four missed shots, two turnovers, an offensive foul and a shot-clock violation.

At the other end, Blatche was exerting himself. The third-year player, who went straight to the NBA from high school, made his second 3-pointer of the season to put the Wizards ahead 56-50. Then he finished a strong drive with a pretty finger-roll layup to make it 58-50. And he capped his personal show by sinking an 18-foot jumper.

That last one got Butler up out of his seat, waving his hands to implore the crowd of 12,905 to cheer louder.

Game notes
Toronto's Jose Calderon had 23 points and 13 assists. ... Butler missed only one of Washington's first 42 games, but he is expected to miss his second in a row Wednesday, when the Wizards play at Toronto. ... Wizards coach Eddie Jordan was asked whether Butler and Jamison deserve to be selected as All-Star reserves this week. "I haven't campaigned for them, and I won't campaign for them," Jordan said. "Their numbers speak for themselves." ... Toronto, Washington and idle Cleveland all entered the day within a half-game of each other for fourth place in the Eastern Conference. The victory pushed the Wizards into a tie with Cleveland (both 24-19), ahead of the Raptors (24-20).