Butler Helps Wizards Outlast Pistons
Washington 120, Detroit 114 (2OT)
AUBURN HILLS, Mich., Nov. 25 (Ticker) -- Ben Wallace gave the Washington Wizards a second chance. Caron Butler made sure they took advantage of it.
Butler was perfect on all eight of his free throws in the second overtime to lift the Wizards to a 120-114 victory over the Detroit Pistons.
"It was a tough one," Wallace said. "I've been in that situation a lot of times. We had our opportunities to win it. We just let it slip away. That'll make it real tough for (Saturday in Milwaukee).
In the second extra session, Butler scored Washington's first six points - all from the line - to give the Wizards a 110-105 lead with 2:37 to play.
"I was just thinking, 'Let's get over that hump,'" said Butler, who scored 27 points. "That's one of the best clubs in the league and it was going to take everything we had to beat them, so we couldn't afford to miss any free throws."
The Wizards never trailed in the second overtime as they also stopped a 10-game skid against the Pistons dating to an 88-83 triumph on December 4, 2002.
"We weren't looking at history," Washington coach Eddie Jordan said. "We were looking at possession by possession tonight. Our guys really supported each other tonight. We stayed disciplined when the Pistons put the heat on us. Give our guys credit for being resilient and picking themselves up after five straight losses. It was an important learning process for us tonight."
Gilbert Arenas, who had 39 points and eight assists, made two free throws with 2.3 seconds to play in the fourth quarter for the Wizards, tying the game at 95-95. Rasheed Wallace missed a 3-pointer as time expired to send the game into overtime.
"I had a good look but I couldn't knock it down when we needed it," Rasheed Wallace said. "That makes everything else irrelevant."
The Wizards also got 22 points and 20 rebounds from Antawn Jamison, who has 36 rebounds in his last two games. They also got a huge lift from Butler and Arenas, who was playing despite a knee injury.
"He was out there tonight playing with a bum knee, playing defense and keeping us organized," said Jordan, who benched Arenas less than a week ago. "That's as important as his scoring. His will to win is what makes him great."
"We continued to fight back, but if Chauncey (Billups) and Ben hadn't fouled out, we still might not have won," Arenas said. "I'm going to enjoy this. It might be another five years before we beat them again."
Former Piston Chucky Atkins added 20 points for Washington, including four 3-pointers in the fourth quarter.
Rasheed Wallace had 33 points and 11 rebounds in a remarkable 56 minutes and Billups added 21 points before fouling out for Detroit, which has lost two of three after an 8-0 start.
It was rough night for Pistons guard and former Wizard Richard Hamilton, who scored just 11 points on 4-of-15 shooting.
"I never was able to get into a good rhythm," Hamilton said. "I just never had the opportunity to hit a few shots and get into a nice little groove."