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If the Boston Celtics face the Washington Wizards in the playoffs, everyone will remember that the Kevin Garnett and the NBA's top club team lost three straight to Antawn Jamison's team from the nation's capital.
And there's one highlight that will likely be recalled more than any other: Jamison's baseline dunk over Garnett in Wednesday night's 109-95 victory.
"It's just letting the young fellows know I still got it," the 10th-year veteran said with a laugh. "I joke with them all the time. For me, it was an aggressive move going to the basket, and I was able to find it."
After sitting out two games with a sprained right shoulder, Jamison returned to score 27 points as the Wizards ended Boston's seven-game winning streak and became only the second team to win the season series against the Celtics. Jamison left no doubt that he was again full throttle by making 8 of 17 field goals, grabbing 11 rebounds and ramming home a one-hander over Garnett to cap a 10-0 run that gave the Wizards the lead for good early in the third quarter.
"It says a lot to beat them three games to one throughout the regular season," Jamison said. "I think if the matchup was to occur as far as meeting them in the second round or whatever, it gives us the confidence to know that we can match up with them. We're taking their best shot."
Or at least close to it. Boston really tried to win this game, at least more so than it has recently. Coach Doc Rivers, who has been resting his starters liberally since clinching the No. 1 overall seed in the Eastern Conference, put his top players back in the game in the fourth quarter with the game on the line, unlike in Tuesday's overtime win at Milwaukee.
"We didn't play with much intensity, but, honestly, I understand that," Rivers said. "This is the game I wanted to use minutes with the starters, and I probably will do it one more time. After that, we are just getting ready for the playoffs."
Gilbert Arenas, in his third game back after a 66-game absence due to knee surgery, added 13 points on 5-for-14 shooting in a relatively low-key 24 minutes. Agent Zero's full range of flashy moves has yet to return, and he twice passed up easy fast break layups in the first half to set up teammates.
"He's coming off the bench. He's still got to get his conditioning," coach Eddie Jordan said. "He won't be Gil until next October."
Caron Butler had 13 points, 10 assists, seven rebounds and seven turnovers for the Wizards, who handed the Celtics' their second-worst loss of the season. Washington, which beat Boston in back-to-back games in January, joined Orlando as the teams to win the season series against the Celtics.
Paul Pierce scored 28 points, and Kevin Garnett had 22 points and 14 rebounds for Boston, which had 21 turnovers and allowed the Wizards to shoot 51 percent.
Will losing three straight to the Wizards mean anything if the teams meet in the postseason?
"I don't know — unless you let it get in your head, psychologically," Pierce said. "I still feel that we're the better team. Maybe we can see them in the playoffs, who knows, and go from there."
The Celtics trailed by 15 late in the third quarter, then cut the deficit to six three times in the fourth quarter, the last time on Pierce's 3-pointer that made the score 101-95 with 2:27 to play. But Boston didn't score again. The Wizards ended the game with an 8-0 run, including a clinching 3-pointer from DeShawn Stevenson that gave Washington a 12-point lead with 1:29 to go.
The Wizards are trying to catch Cleveland to gain homecourt advantage in the first round of the postseason while simultaneously fine-tuning team chemistry now that Arenas is back. Wednesday was only the 10th time that Arenas, Butler and Jamison have played together this season.
"A lot of teams are resting their starters because they're in the playoffs," Jamison said. "But for us, I think we had too much rest throughout the season. It's time to get the rotations down, get the chemistry down."
This program aired on April 10, 2008. The audio for this program is not available.
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