Washington 118, Seattle 108

WASHINGTON, Feb. 5 (AP) -- No one should be surprised Caron Butler came through with a career-high 38 points on a night Gilbert Arenas was off and Antawn Jamison was out. Butler is, after all, having his best season and headed to the All-Star game.

Andray Blatche, Calvin Booth and Brendan Haywood playing key roles for the Washington Wizards, too? That's a little more out of the ordinary.

With Arenas held to 16 points on 4-for-14 shooting and Jamison sidelined, Butler took over on offense and got all sorts of help in Washington's 118-108 victory over Seattle on Monday, the SuperSonics' franchise-record 15th consecutive road loss.

Southeast Division-leading Washington had been 0-2 since Jamison sprained his left knee; he could be gone six weeks.

"With Antawn being out, everybody has to do a little bit more. It can't just be Caron and Gil trying to overcompensate, because then that's going to make everyone look bad,'' said Haywood, whose season-high 20 points and 11 rebounds gave him his first 20-10 game since Nov. 28, 2004.

"Guys like myself, Andray, Calvin have to be ready. We have a lot of guys who can step up. It's about having the confidence to go out there and do it.''

Still, it all began with Butler, who usually must take a back seat to Arenas.

Not on this night. The highlight was a steal and buzzer-beating 3-pointer to end the third quarter, putting Washington up 88-79, but Butler was everywhere at both ends of the floor. He closed fast breaks with dunks, made mid-range jumpers, skipped a no-look bounce pass, harassed Ray Allen on defense and swatted one blocked shot into the seats.

Second-year forward Blatche contributed a career-high 14 points and seven rebounds, Booth had two blocks and two assists in 10 minutes, and DeShawn Stevenson added 15 points.

"Coach is showing a lot of confidence in me, and I appreciate it,'' Blatche said. "I want to come out and be energetic, rebound and block shots.''

Allen led Seattle with 29 points, but he shot only 3-for-14 after halftime.

"Ray is doing about as much as he can,'' Seattle coach Bob Hill said. "I don't know if you can ask much more from a man than what he's done to carry this team.''

Chris Wilcox had 24 points and 10 rebounds for the SuperSonics, who have lost five in a row overall.

Seattle's road losing streak is the longest in the NBA since the Portland Trail Blazers dropped 16 in a row away from home in February-April 2006.

"At some point in time, people have to voice their opinion, have to step up if you've got something to say or something we need to do,'' Allen said. "Maybe not the rookies, but I need Luke (Ridnour) to step up and say something and Nick (Collison) to step up and say something. Wilcox, I need him to say something. Because this is their team. I'm not going to say something every moment of a day.''

Before the game, Hill wrote this message atop the greaseboard in the visiting locker room in red ink and capital letters: "LOST 14 STRAIGHT ON THE ROAD.''

"Are we tough enough? Do we have competitive spirit? Do we know how to win? What is it? It's something,'' Hill said, before mentioning injuries as one element in his club's struggles. But, he continued, "There's other players in there, too, that need to scoot their ... chairs up to the table and be accountable.''

The SuperSonics led 59-56 at halftime, then used an 11-0 run - the last six points coming from Wilcox - to go up 70-58 with 7:45 left in the third quarter.

But Washington responded with a 17-4 spurt, capped by Arenas' 3-pointer, to take a 75-74 lead with three-plus minutes to go in the period. Those were Arenas' first points of the second half.

Washington ended the third quarter with an 11-1 run, and the crowd was loud at the end of the period when Butler took away the ball and made his 3-pointer. A couple of Butler's teammates ran over to celebrate by leaping into him.

"It worked out,'' Butler said. "Got the crowd into it.''

His coach, too.

"That really got us jumping,'' Eddie Jordan said. "I even jumped a little bit on that one.''

Notes: Seattle F Rashard Lewis will participate in full-contact practice Tuesday after missing more than a month with a right hand injury. Seattle is 7-14 without him. ... Butler's previous NBA best was 35 points, for the Miami Heat against Minnesota on March 28, 2003. ... Haywood's previous season high was 15 points. ... Blatche's career high was 10.


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