Butler scores 25 as Wizards end three-game losing streak

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- The Washington Wizards knew they had to find somebody to pick up the scoring slack with Gilbert Arenas out until March following knee surgery.

But Roger Mason? The guy who's bounced around the NBA and even spent two years playing in Israel?

If the last two games are any indication, the answer is yes.

Mason set a career high in points for the second consecutive game, scoring 24 Wednesday night as the Wizards rode big games from four players in a 108-104 win over the Charlotte Bobcats.

Caron Butler returned from two sore ankles to score 25 points, Antawn Jamison had 26 points and 14 rebounds and Brendan Haywood had 20 points and nine rebounds as the Wizards snapped a three-game losing streak.

But Mason was the talk of the locker room on a night coach Eddie Jordan won his 200th career game.

"I thought Roger was phenomenal at looking for his scoring opportunities, running the show," Jordan said. "We had a great first quarter because Roger kept the tempo."

Getting the start again at point guard with Antonio Daniels missing his fifth straight game due to a sprained right knee, Mason hit his first six shots, four of them 3-pointers, as the Wizards built a 41-30 first-quarter lead.

Mason, who scored 20 points in Saturday's loss to Indiana, finished 9-of-16 from the field and 6-of-9 from 3-point range.

Not bad for the former second-round pick from Virginia who played only 43 games in his first three seasons with Chicago and Toronto. After going overseas, he averaged 2.7 points per game for Washington last season.

"Coach has put a lot of confidence in me, and I'm pretty consistent with my minutes out there," Mason said. "I'm getting good looks and my teammates are finding me."

Gerald Wallace scored 32 points and Jason Richardson added 27 for the Bobcats, who lost their second consecutive game and got little from their big men.

Emeka Okafor didn't grab his first rebound until late in the first half and finished with 12 points and seven rebounds. Nazr Mohammed was in foul trouble most of the night and was held to six points and 12 rebounds.

"Teams are going to have the nights when they shoot the lights out of the gym," said Wallace, who narrowly missed a triple-double with nine rebounds and eight assists. "For Washington, tonight was the night. It seemed like everything they threw up was going in the basket."

Still, Charlotte rallied from a 12-point deficit, taking a four-point lead midway through the third quarter. That's when Mason came alive again. He hit two 3s and Butler had a three-point play in a 15-2 run to put Washington ahead to stay.

"It's a long season and I plan on keeping it up," Mason said. "Right now it's good. As long as we keep getting these wins, it will be even better."

Butler, who missed Saturday's loss to Indiana after injuring both ankles in a week, hit a fadeaway with 4:07 left to put Washington ahead 101-90.

After the Bobcats cut the lead to three with 26 seconds left, Nick Young got behind Charlotte's press and Mason found him for an open dunk to put it away.

Jordan improved to 200-252 in six-plus seasons in the NBA, including a short stint with Sacramento. He was presented with the game ball by his players.

Meanwhile, it was a frustrating night for Charlotte coach Sam Vincent, who screamed at the officials after the game while being restrained by assistant coaches Lee Rose and Paul Mokeski.

Vincent was peeved that point guard Raymond Felton attempted only two free throws -- and one came on a technical foul.

"I was upset," Vincent said. "I thought Raymond was driving to the basket all night and getting hit and not getting calls."

Game notes
The firing of Chicago coach Scott Skiles on Monday left Jordan, in his fifth season, the longest-tenured coach in the Eastern Conference. "Shhhh," Jordan said when told of the news. ... Vincent, a teammate of Skiles at Michigan State and with the Orlando Magic, said his ouster was "pretty shocking." ... Daniels did some light work on the side during the shootaround and Jordan said the safe bet for his return is Jan. 2 against Detroit. ... The Connecticut and Wake Forest football teams, in town for Saturday's Meineke Bowl, attended the game.