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Wizards get well against Clippers

Washington matches L.A. with its 10th victory. Mike Dunleavy bemoans 25 turnovers.

February 01, 2009|Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Ed Tapscott could hardly speak. The Washington Wizards' interim coach has been fighting flu, and the best medicine was a rare win.

Washington won for the 10th time this season -- 106-94 over the equally woeful Clippers on Saturday night -- and Tapscott forced a smile.

"It is funny to hear a team with our record having a 'must' game," Tapscott said.

The Wizards are 10-37, and so are the Clippers, who have lost five straight and 18 of 20.

Three of Washington's victories have come against fellow doormats: the Clippers, Oklahoma City and Sacramento, who have combined for 31 wins.

"I'd like to expand that group," Tapscott said. "I'm not happy with 10 wins. I'm happy with any win."

The teams entered the game with a combined record of 19-73 -- and the game lived down to expectations. The Clippers committed a season-high 24 turnovers -- 10 in the first quarter alone.

"If you look at the stat sheet, it tells the story: turnovers," Coach Mike Dunleavy said. "Bad decisions. We were not connected."

Antawn Jamison had 25 points and 12 rebounds for the Wizards. Nick Young added 22 and rookie JaVale McGee tied his career high with 18.

"We're to the point where we don't want to lose any game at all. We've been pretty much embarrassed this season. It doesn't matter who we're playing," Jamison said. "Just because their record is close to ours doesn't prove anything."

The Wizards ended a lackluster first half on a 12-2 run, culminating in an exciting final 4.9 seconds. Young drove past three Clippers and dunked, and L.A.'s Eric Gordon scored on a layup with 0.9 seconds remaining. Mike James responded with a three-pointer at the horn to give Washington its largest lead, 58-47.

The Clippers cut a 13-point deficit to two when Ricky Davis made a three-pointer with a minute to play in the third, but Young hit two free throws to start the Wizards on an 11-0 run that gave them an 88-75 lead with 9:13 to play.

Gordon led the Clippers with 25 points.

Caron Butler added 16 points and had 13 rebounds and seven assists for the Wizards.

Dunleavy said that Zack Randolph, out since Dec. 22 because of a bruised left knee, is nearing a return: "That will be a positive when it happens -- probably in the next week or so."

Tapscott will give the Wizards a day off today.

"I need some sleep and some NyQuil," he said. "That's my drink of choice nowadays."

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