Sunday , Jan , 21 , 2007 C.Y. Ellis

Washington blows huge lead but hangs on to beat Boston

Washington, DC (Sports Network) – Antawn Jamison and Caron Butler each poured
in 23 points as Washington blew a 25-point second half lead but rallied to
beat Boston, 115-110, in overtime at the Verizon Center.

Gilbert Arenas scored 22 points on 10-of-26 shooting and dished out seven
assists and grabbed six rebounds for the Wizards, who have won four in a row.

“We pulled out the win,” Arenas said. “We started out great after building
that big lead, we got too comfortable and it almost cost us the game. They
came back and made a big run but we won it in overtime.”

Ryan Gomes posted 31 points and nine rebounds while Al Jefferson had 23 points
and 10 boards for the slumping Celtics, who have dropped seven straight.

“It was a good comeback, but it would have been even better if we would have
finished,” Jefferson said. “We came back against a great team and pushed it
into overtime and had a chance to win it.”

Washington held a double digit lead through most of the first half and back-
to-back jumpers by DeShawn Stevenson and Arenas early in the third gave the
Wizards a 75-54 advantage before Boston finally caught fire.

Jefferson scored the next five points and Kendrick Perkins followed with two
from the charity stripe to spark a huge 30-10 run that cut the Celtics’
deficit to 85-84 a the end of the third. Jefferson led the way for Boston,
scoring 15 of his 23 points during the run.

Then, with the score tied at 93-93 midway through the fourth, an Allan Ray
layup sandwiched by two Gomes’ baskets gave Boston a 99-93 lead with just over
five minutes to play.

Washington, though, showed some restored life, ripping off seven straight
points, capped by Butler’s three-point play that put the Wizards up 100-99
with 2:14 remaining. Gomes’ converted 1-of-2 free throws to knot the score at
102-102 and the game went into overtime. Arenas had one last chance to win it
in regulation, but his three-pointer found the rim at the buzzer.

The Wizards took control from the start of the overtime period as Jamison
nailed a trey and Brendan Haywood followed with two free throws to give
Washington a 107-102 lead. Ray answered with a three of his own to bring the
Celtics within 109-107, but Arenas’ jumper made it a four-point game with just
under two minutes remaining.

Ray’s layup with 35 seconds left made it a one-possession game, 113-110, but
Arenas iced the game with a layup with just 2.7 ticks left on the clock.

Haywood and Antonio Daniels each chipped in with 12 points for Washington,
which improved to 17-3 at home this season.

Ray ended with 20 points for the Celtics, who have lost five of their last six
at Washington.

Holding a 13-12 lead about four minutes into the opening quarter, Jamison
followed a three-pointer up with a mid-range jumper to spark a 10-2 Washington
run that gave the Wizards a 23-14 lead with 6:09 left in the first.

Washington’s lead blossomed to 39-26 at the end of the first and the Wizards
took a 62-49 advantage into the locker room before the Celtics stormed back.

Game Notes

Washington shot 47.9 percent from the floor and 38.1 percent from beyond the
arc (8-of-21)…Boston shot 47.1 percent and 42.9 percent from three point
range (6-of-14)…Delonte West finished with 13 points and 11 assists for