Playing some uninspired basketball at least until the third quarter, the Wizards fell to the Atlanta Hawks, 94-82. And you'll never believe this: the Wizards cut into the Hawks' lead and were down only four heading into the fourth quarter -- and then they were outplayed yet again in the game's final frame.
Here's what you need to know about the game from Washington's perspective: 1) The Wizards shot 35.8 percent from the field; 2) despite their cold shooting, they were still six of 12 from three-point range; 3) they scored 33 first-half points; 4) DeShawn Stevenson played the most minutes off the bench, with 20, and he actually made a three!; and 5) Antawn Jamison played (and is playing) like an All Star.
More on Jamison: At this point, I feel a little sorry for him. I'm the first person to admit that, while he's an outstanding offensive player, he's not exactly a defensive force and that hurts the Wizards since no one else other than Brendan Haywood actually plays much defense. But still: Jamison always plays hard. Last night, Jamison scored 25 points and had 19 rebounds. In January, he's averaging 27.3 points and 10.4 rebounds per game while shooting over 50 percent from the field. Either Jamison's been feeling it lately, or he's desperately trying to play his best so the Wizards can send him to a contender. And if that's the case, it's hard to blame him.
On the other hand, Caron Butler is not playing like an All Star. With Gilbert Arenas out, Butler should be getting all the touches on offense that he wants, yet he's not doing much with them. Last night his 15 points came on 18 shots, though he deserves a little credit for grabbing 11 rebounds. Right now, he's averaging 16.5 points on the season, his lowest since his 2004-2005 season with the Lakers (15.5 points). I don't know if he wants to get out of Washington, or if he really misses Mountain Dew, but Butler doesn't look like the same player of the last few seasons.
Other than that, Haywood had a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds -- and he made all seven of his free throws -- and Randy Foye chipped in 18 points, eight assists, and four rebounds. Remember earlier in the season when Foye couldn't get on the court because of Earl Boykins? That sure seems like a long time ago.