TORONTO – Caron Butler scored 21 points including the winning
basket at the final buzzer to lead the Washington Wizards to a 100-98
victory over the Toronto Raptors on Friday.
Chris Bosh had 21
points and 10 rebounds to top the Raptors (30-49), who suffered their
fourth consecutive loss. Jason Kapono added 20 points, while Jose
Calderon finished with 15 points and 11 assists and Anthony Parker had
Antawn Jamison scored 24 points to top the Wizards (19-61), who snapped a seven-game losing skid on the road.
The game between two teams making early exits on their seasons didn't
have a lot of relevance except perhaps a chance for the Raptors to
salvage some pride playing in front of their Air Canada Centre fans.
Toronto, coming off Wednesday's 130-101 road rout by the Indiana
Pacers, led for most of the night, but never by more than eight, and
the Wizards took their first lead of the game midway through the third
quarter and led 66-63 going into the fourth.
The fourth quarter
had its moments, including a sizzling behind-the-back pass from Bosh to
Shawn Marion, the ensuing shot attempt unfortunately swatted away.
Jamison and Butler – who combined for 38 points in the second half –
converted back-to-back three-point plays and Washington was up by six
with just under two minutes to play.
But Toronto battled back,
Kapono draining a pair of three-pointers less than 12 seconds apart to
tie the game at 96-96 with 29 seconds left. Former Raptor Juan Dixon
and Calderon traded baskets, then Butler dribbled the ball as the clock
ticked down, throwing up a long jump shot at the buzzer to give the
Wizards the win.
The Wizards shot 51 per cent on the night to Toronto's 43 per cent shooting and outrebounded the Raptors 44-40.
The Raptors will miss the playoffs for the first time since the 2005-06
season. Their hopes of a post-season appearance had officially been
erased a week earlier, but it was virtually a foregone conclusion in a
season that was plagued by problems early on – Calderon's hamstring
injury, Bosh's early-winter slump, the Jermaine O'Neal acquisition that
never lived up to its billing, and the firing of head coach Sam
The Raptors have four games to go and then will head
back to the drawing board to try to improve their fortunes for next
The Raptors took the lead from the outset, going up by
seven points midway through the first quarter and taking a 20-16
advantage into the second.
Toronto kept their lead through the
second quarter, despite shooting just 35 per cent in the frame, and
went into the dressing at halftime leading 41-37.
Washington's first seven points of the third to spark a Wizards run
that gave the visitors their first lead of the game with 6:05 left in
the quarter. Washington would take a six-point lead late in the quarter
and led 66-63 with one quarter left.