Game Notes: 76ers at Wizards
The Wizards win one for their late owner
by Aaron Kaplowitz
Hours after learning that beloved owner Abe Pollin had died, the Washington Wizards held off a late push by the visiting 76ers to pick up their fourth win of the season, 108-107. Antawn Jamison scored a game-high 32 points and collected 14 rebounds and Nick Young, filling in for the injured Mike Miller, pitched in 20 points.
“After wins, knowing you won’t hear that voice saying ‘Good job, men,’ and ‘I believe in you,’ it’s going to be tough,” Jamison said after the game. Jamison, in his sixth season with Washington, was particularly close with the late owner.
After two quarters of uninspiring basketball, the Wizards trailed the 76ers by one at the half before opening the third stanza with a 20-10 run. Jamison, with eight offensive rebounds on the night, stayed active in the paint and highlighted Washington’s 40-point third with 17 of his own.
Trailing by double digits for most of the quarter, 76ers rookie Jrue Holiday drilled a three with 5:24 to play, putting the visiting team in good position to steal a win on the road. Trying to quell Philadelphia’s comeback attempts, Randy Foye responded with a baseline challenge over Jason Smith, who returned the one-handed attempt to sender, leaving Foye sprawled on the floor.
During a crucial possession with less then 3:30 to play, Philadelphia grabbed offensive rebounds on two missed three-pointers before Louis Williams hit the third attempted three to bring his team to within three, 100-97. They would cut the lead to one and, following a Gilbert Arenas turnover, set up a final play with 11 seconds remaining and the chance to win.
Williams took the inbounds, dribbled horizontally past the top of the key and settled on a step-back three over Arenas’s outstretched arm. The ball skidded along on the inner left side of the rim before popping out.
In Washington’s postgame locker room, following the media gush over Nick Young, players reflected on Pollin.
“I just try to remember the best, because Mr. Pollin did a lot for this city,” said Brandon Haywood, the longest tenured Wizard. “He put a lot into this organization, and we all owe him a debt of gratitude.”
Arenas recounted with a smile some of his favorite memories of Pollin, describing the late owners’ tendency, in the heat of celebration, to slap players’ faces following victories.
“He wanted a championship before he died and as long as I’m here, that’s our mission.”