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Arenas done, Butler rescues Wizards

The Wizards’ Caron Butler, shooting over Wally Szczerbiak, scores 32 and the Cavaliers fail to close out the series at home.

Associated Press

The Wizards’ Caron Butler, shooting over Wally Szczerbiak, scores 32 and the Cavaliers fail to close out the series at home.

CLEVELAND — Caron Butler whispered in LeBron James' ear, one last word in case the Wizards' season was about to end.

"I told him, 'Miss this shot, make it interesting and let's take this thing back to D.C.' " Butler said. "And he started laughing.''

Seconds later, the Wizards were on their way home — for Game 6.

Butler made a layup with 3.9 seconds left and James missed a potential series- and season-ending runner at the horn, giving Washington an 88-87 victory Wednesday.

After Butler scored on a drive past James, the Cavs' star missed a bank shot as the Wizards, who have had their past three seasons ended by Cleveland, pulled within 3-2 in the series.

Butler scored 32 and DeShawn Stevenson had 17 for the Wizards, who played without guard Gilbert Arenas, who abruptly announced before the game that his season was over because of a bothersome knee.

"(Butler) played it like it was his last game, which it could have been," Arenas said. "He showed leadership and poise out there. Great players make great moves, and he did it tonight, and he's on his way to stardom because he's doing it on a big stage."

James scored 34 — 24 in the second half — but missed the final shot in traffic. The Cavs led by five with 1:47 left but then took bad shots on its final four possessions, mostly letting James go one-on-one, and allowed Washington to score the final six points and end a five-game playoff skid streak in Cleveland.

James felt he was fouled on his final shot but didn't make excuses, saying, "It just didn't fall."

WASHINGTON (88): Butler 11-22 6-7 32, Jamison 3-10 1-4 8, Haywood 1-6 2-2 4, Daniels 5-9 2-2 12, Stevenson 5-14 5-6 17, Songaila 2-5 2-2 6, Mason 4-8 0-0 8, Blatche 0-0 1-2 1, Young 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 31-76 19-25 88.

CLEVELAND (87): James 8-21 15-18 34, Wallace 1-1 0-2 2, Ilgauskas 8-11 3-4 19, West 4-11 3-3 12, Szczerbiak 1-6 1-1 4, Varejao 1-6 1-2 3, Smith 0-6 1-2 1, Gibson 3-8 0-0 9, Brown 1-5 0-0 3. Totals 27-75 24-32 87.

Washington 23 22 24 19— 88

Cleveland 16 27 22 22— 87

3-Point GoalsWashington 7-19 (Butler 4-8, Stevenson 2-7, Jamison 1-3, Mason 0-1), Cleveland 9-25 (Gibson 3-7, James 3-9, West 1-3, Szczerbiak 1-3, Brown 1-3). Fouled OutHaywood. ReboundsWashington 54 (Jamison 11), Cleveland 53 (James 10). AssistsWashington 13 (Butler 5), Cleveland 18 (West 8). Total FoulsWashington 24, Cleveland 20. TechnicalsSongaila, Stevenson, Varejao. A20,562 (20,562).

Celtics 110, Hawks 85

BOSTON — Takedowns and menacing gestures. Double technicals and flagrant fouls. The Celtics are heading to Atlanta to try to deliver a knockout punch.

Paul Pierce scored a playoff-high 22 and Ray Allen hit three 3-pointers in the middle of the third quarter to turn back the Hawks' last charge. Now Boston holds a 3-2 lead in the series.

Kevin Garnett scored 20 and Allen had 19 as Boston got a huge lift from its bench in the second quarter, when Sam Cassell scored nine and Leon Powe had seven with five rebounds while holding former Gator Al Horford to a pair of baskets.

Joe Johnson, who scored 35 in Game 4, scored 21, and Horford added 14 for Atlanta.

The first five games have all gone to the home team, with Game 6 in Atlanta on Friday.

The physical series had another double technical, when Garnett and Johnson jawed in the third, and another flagrant foul, when Horford took down Garnett late in the first half.

Boston's Pierce, fined $25,000 for what the NBA called a "menacing gesture" flashed toward Horford during Game 3, denied that the sign was gang-related. Director of basketball operations Danny Ainge claims the sign represents "blood, sweat and tears," a team motto.

ATLANTA (85): Williams 4-10 4-4 12, Smith 4-13 10-10 18, Horford 7-11 0-2 14, Bibby 2-8 0-0 6, Johnson 6-11 7-7 21, Childress 2-8 1-2 5, Pachulia 1-5 0-0 2, Law 1-1 3-4 5, Jones 1-2 0-0 2, Richardson 0-0 0-0 0, Stoudamire 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 28-69 25-29 85.

BOSTON (110): Pierce 10-17 2-3 22, Garnett 8-15 4-4 20, Perkins 1-1 0-0 2, Rondo 5-14 1-2 12, R.Allen 6-14 2-2 19, Powe 4-8 2-4 10, Posey 2-3 0-0 6, Brown 0-0 0-0 0, Cassell 6-8 0-0 13, T.Allen 1-2 0-0 2, Davis 2-2 0-0 4, House 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 45-84 11-15 110.

Atlanta 19 24 21 21— 85

Boston 27 31 23 29— 110

3-Point GoalsAtlanta 4-13 (Johnson 2-4, Bibby 2-5, Smith 0-4), Boston 9-20 (R.Allen 5-8, Posey 2-3, Rondo 1-2, Cassell 1-3, T.Allen 0-1, Pierce 0-3). Fouled OutNone. ReboundsAtlanta 39 (Horford 10), Boston 49 (Powe, Pierce 7). AssistsAtlanta 16 (Horford 5), Boston 28 (Rondo, Garnett 7). Total FoulsAtlanta 19, Boston 22. TechnicalsJohnson, Smith, Atlanta Coach Woodson, Garnett. Flagrant Fouls—Horford. A18,624 (18,624).

Mavs fire Johnson

DALLAS — Mavericks coach Avery Johnson lost his job, a move the team referred to as "relieving him of his duties." The softer tone made sense considering that in three-plus seasons Johnson guided the Mavs to the Finals for the first time and to a club-record 67 wins the next year.

Yet for all the high points, there were serious lows — blowing a 2-0 lead in those Finals, getting dumped in the first round of the playoffs after that 67-win season and then getting knocked out in the first round again this season after Dallas mortgaged some of its future to acquire Jason Kidd. Over those three straight postseason wipeouts, the Mavericks lost 12 of 15 games, including all nine on the road.

The final mark during Johnson's tenure: 194-70 in the regular season, 23-24 in the playoffs.

Suns: After a first-round loss to the Spurs, general manager Steve Kerr acknowledged differences with Mike D'Antoni but said he wants the coach back for a fifth season. He and owner Robert Sarver would meet with the coach in the next few days. D'Antoni, though, might not want to make the changes Kerr believes are needed. D'Antoni has two years worth $8.5-million left on his contract.

Rookie of the Year: Kevin Durant, the Sonics' dynamic young star, will be named rookie of the year, the Associated Press reported. An official announcement is likely today, when the team has scheduled a news conference. The No. 2 overall draft pick, who averaged 20.3 points, becomes the first Sonics' player to receive the award.

Wizards 88

Cavs 87

Arenas done, Butler rescues Wizards 04/30/08 [Last modified: Thursday, October 28, 2010 1:28pm]
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