WASHINGTON -- With a second left, Earl Boykins stepped to the line with the score tied. After he made both free throws to give the Washington Wizards a two-point lead, a few fans in the Verizon Center broke into a chant of "MVP! MVP!"
The 5-foot-5 point guard was certainly the most valuable player on the court down the stretch Wednesday night. Boykins scored 11 of his 13 points in the final 10 minutes to lead the Wizards to a 104-102 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks.
"It just has to do with being patient," Boykins said. "A lot of times, especially at the end of games, guys rush. And if you're able to be patient you're able to get things done."
Boykins had a hand in Washington's final eight points. A fade-away jump shot with 1:39 pulled the Wizards to 99-98. On the next possession, Boykins found a rolling Brendan Haywood, who finished the play with a dunk to give Washington (7-10) the lead.
Boykins then hit four straight free throws in the final 17 seconds to finish it off. On the final possession, he came off a double screen before being fouled by Brandon Jennings on a jumper.
"He was being Earl. Making big plays, running the team well," said Nick Young, who scored 21 points for Washington. "He's out there being a mini mouse, just doing his job."
Luke Ridnour's jumper at the buzzer on the game's final play fell well short. Ridnour and Hakim Warrick both scored 20 points off the bench for Milwaukee (9-8).
Milwaukee's Charlie Bell scored all 15 of his points in the second half, but he missed a jumper with 20 seconds left that would have given the Bucks the lead.
Jennings, who scored 17 points, tied the game on a 3-pointer with 10.5 seconds left to tie the game at 102 and set up Boykin's final play. Jennings entered the game shooting 50 percent this season on 3-pointers, but was 2 for 8 against Washington.
"One bad call here, or a missed shot here or there, that's what's killing us," Jennings said. "It's not that the guys are not playing hard."
The Bucks have lost five of six after a good start. The Wizards are heading in the opposite direction, having won four of their last five after starting the season 2-7.
Gilbert Arenas led Washington with 22 points. Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison each scored 15 points for the Wizards, who were playing for the second night in a row after a 106-102 win at Toronto on Tuesday. Washington coach Flip Saunders said the key for his team would be to start the game with energy to combat fatigue and the "late-arriving" Washington crowds.
Washington scored the opening points and led the entire first quarter, but went cold late in the second quarter. Milwaukee outscored the Wizards 13-2 over a five-minute span and took a 54-50 lead into halftime.
While Saunders was happy with his team's effort, Bucks coach Scott Skiles was definitely not.
"We lost this game before the ball even went up tonight," Skiles said. "We were not ready to play. Our defense was terrible. We had breakdown after breakdown after breakdown."
In an attempt to light a fire under his team, Skiles was given two quick technical fouls and ejected late in the first quarter for protesting a non-call on Warrick. After the first technical, Skiles charged on the court to continue his protest. He was immediately assessed the second technical and ejected from the game with 29.7 seconds left in the opening period.
Ridnour returned after leaving Monday's game against Chicago with a sore hamstring. Skiles said Ridnour originally hurt the hamstring Nov. 27 against Oklahoma City. F Luc Richard Mbah a Moute (left foot sprain) missed his ninth straight game, and G Michael Redd (left knee soreness) did not make the trip. ... It was Saunders' 1,000th career game as a head coach. He has a 594-406 record. ... Before the game, Saunders said he's adjusting to the number of fans arriving after tipoff. "It's something we've got to try to change," he said. "As the team becomes better ... they'll want to come out and hopefully get out here sooner."