Jamison Leads Wizards In Opener
Washington 99, Toronto 96
TORONTO, Nov. 2 (Ticker) -- Antawn Jamison flashed his All-Star form in Wednesday night's season opener.
Jamison scored 29 points and collected nine rebounds as the Washington Wizards started their season with a 99-96 victory over the Toronto Raptors.
"We didn't lose our poise or get rattled," Jamison said. "We stayed calm and got stops when we needed to, and those are the things we need to do to be successful."
The Raptors had an opportunity to tie, but Rose shot an airball 3-pointer on the Raptors' final possession.
"I feel this team needs me to step up and make plays in crucial situations," said Rose, who made 6-of-14 shots, but committed five turnovers. "I did not do that. I had a couple of turnovers down the stretch, missed a couple of shots and I can't do that. I take this loss upon myself."
"I thought to win on the road in the season opener is a big deal," Wizards coach Eddie Jordan said. "We have almost a brand new team and we're trying to learn how to play with each other. They (Raptors) had a chance to tie it at the end, but the basketball gods were with us."
An All-Star for the first time last season, Jamison made 12-of-21 shots, including 2-of-5 3-pointers. He scored 17 points in the first half, keeping the Wizards within striking distance at 57-54.
"I've been underestimated my whole career but all I care about is winning basketball games and I'm trying to do whatever it takes to help the team," said Jamison, who won the 2004 Sixth Man Award with Dallas.
Gilbert Arenas had 21 points and seven assists and Jarvis Hayes scored 17 points off the bench for Washington, which is coming off its first playoff appearance in eight years. Hayes, a third-year swingman, missed the postseason with an injury.
"It's always great to start the season off with a win, especially for myself. This was my first game back in nine months, so it's good to back out there," Hayes said. "We have a lot of interchangeable pieces and a lot of depth and hopefully we can go a long way with it."
Swingman Caron Butler, acquired in the offseason in the trade that sent Kwame Brown to the Los Angeles Lakers, added 11 points and seven rebounds.
"That's my job, to spark the team," Butler said. "I try to be the utility guy, not just scoring but finding my teammates. I'm trying to bring the energy and I was able to do that tonight."
Rose led Toronto with 20 points and Chris Bosh netted 17 and 14 rebounds. Rookie Charlie Villanueva, who led the Raptors in scoring during the preseason, scored 11 points in his NBA debut.
"We missed open shots down the stretch," Bosh said. "With experience comes wisdom. If we keep being these situations, eventually we will learn."