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Thursday, Nov. 26, 2009

Wizards pay tribute to Pollin with victory

WASHINGTON (AP) There was no way that last shot could go in. No way the Washington Wizards could lose their first game in 46 seasons without their beloved owner.

News photo
Primal scream: Washington's Antawn Jamison goes to the basket against Philadelphia's Rodney Carney during the Wizards' 108-107 win on Tuesday. AP PHOTO

Louis Williams' 3-pointer at the buzzer rimmed out, giving the Wizards an emotional 108-107 win over the Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday night, hours after the death of team owner Abe Pollin.

"I guess Mr. P, he probably contested that last shot better than anybody," Wizards coach Flip Saunders said.

Down the hall, the opposing coach — who worked for Pollin until last season — uttered the same thought.

"Maybe Abe's spirit knocked that out," 76ers coach Eddie Jordan said.

Antawn Jamison had 32 points and 14 rebounds, and Nick Young returned from end-of-the-bench exile to add 20 points for the Wizards on a night when the team's internal squabbling felt extremely trite. The focus of this game was going to be Jordan's return to Washington exactly one year to the day after he was fired, along with Gilbert Arenas' squabbles with teammate Caron Butler over how to play in Saunders' new offensive system.

Instead, the arena was full of heavy hearts paying tribute to Pollin, who died at the age of 85.

"It was a hard evening," said Arenas, who had 17 points and eight assists but also six turnovers. "But at the end of the day Abe Pollin loved us so much that we couldn't feel the pain until after the game. We had to go out there and just play. He wouldn't want us to stop doing what he loved."

Williams' layup pulled Philadelphia to within 108-107 with 40 seconds remaining. After Arenas committed a turnover, Williams dribbled down the clock and missed the potential game-winning shot.

Williams scored 26 points to lead the Sixers, who have lost three straight. Thaddeus Young scored 23, and Samuel Dalembert had 12.

"I think those guys went out there and played hard, and you could kind of tell there was sadness in the stadium," Philadelphia guard Andre Iguodala said. "But they came in and supported their team tonight and came up with a win."

There was a moment of silence before the national anthem was played at Verizon Center, which Pollin built mostly with his own money. The arena has helped revitalize a downtown area torn apart by riots in the 1960s.

Lakers 100, Knicks 90

In Los Angeles, Kobe Bryant scored 34 points, Pau Gasol added 11 points and 16 rebounds, and the Lakers exploited a major size advantage in their fourth straight victory, defeating a hapless New York squad.

Ron Artest scored 17 points for Los Angeles, which scored 17 consecutive points in the third while holding the out-of-towners scoreless for nearly 7 1/2 minutes.

Nuggets 101, Nets 87

In Denver, Carmelo Anthony scored 27 points, Nene added 17 and the Nuggets dealt New Jersey its 14th straight loss to start the season.

Raptors 123, Pacers, 112

In Toronto, Chris Bosh had 16 points and 12 rebounds, Jose Calderon scored a season-high 21 points and the Raptors handed Indiana its fourth straight loss.

Warriors 111, Mavericks 103

In Dallas, Monta Ellis scored a season-high 37 points, Anthony Morrow added a season-best 27 and the short-handed Warriors ended the Mavs' five-game winning streak.

Thunder 104, Jazz 94

In Salt Lake City, Kevin Durant scored 28 points and Oklahoma City held off a late surge by Utah.

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