Butler scores 35 points in return to lead Wizards over Pacers

WASHINGTON -- Caron Butler was still weak after missing two games with the flu.

He pushed his body through one final quarter and led the Washington Wizards to an improbable win.

Butler scored 15 straight points, including a game-winning 18-footer at the buzzer, as the Wizards edged the Indiana Pacers 119-117 on Sunday night.

"I wasn't going to come out," Butler said. "I wasn't going to let Coach know I was tired. Everytime he made eye contact with me, I tried to seem as bright as I could. Just trying to stay out there and will my way through it."

Butler scored 17 points in the fourth quarter and 35 overall as Washington overcame a 110-103 deficit with 5:08 left. His 35 points and 13 rebounds both tied season highs.

"In the last four minutes of the game, the key is who has the hot player," Wizards coach Ed Tapscott said. "Tonight, we had the hot player."

Danny Granger led Indiana with 29 points, while T.J. Ford added 23 and Troy Murphy had 18 and 10 rebounds.

Nick Young and Butler each made one of two free throws to cut the deficit to 110-105 with 3:45 to play. Butler then converted three straight field goals to cut the Pacers' lead to 112-111 with 1:32 to play.

After Granger hit a jumper with 1:18 to play to cut the lead to 114-111, Butler made two 3-pointers for a 117-114 lead with 20.9 seconds remaining. Granger then made a 3-pointer with 15.3 seconds to play to tie it at 117.

After a timeout, Butler calmly dribbled to the right corner and fired the decisive jumper over Granger and was mobbed by teammates who've had little to celebrate this season.

"I was hoping somebody came to help me up," Butler said.

Granger, who was selected as an All-Star over Butler, had to guard his competition on the final play.

"I knew he was going for a jump shot because he didn't have time to get it to the rim," Granger said. "He likes his hesitation and I got a hand up on him and he hit it falling down. It was a great shot."

The Wizards, who lost their previous three games by an average of 21.3 points, trailed in the fourth quarter until Butler's first 3-pointer.

Through the first three quarters, Antawn Jamison kept Washington afloat with a season-high 34 points, but he missed both his shots in the fourth quarter. Fortunately for the Wizards, who recorded just their 11th win against 40 losses, Butler more than made up for him.

"I didn't have no energy," said Butler, who needed three IV treatments during the game.

The Pacers, who have stabilized since the Jan. 7 return of Mike Dunleavy, lost him again barely three minutes in when he injured his right knee -- the same knee that cost him the first 34 games of the season.

"It was sore yesterday and he just couldn't go on," said Indiana coach Jim O'Brien, who added that Dunleavy's knee would be reevaluated Monday.

Game notes
Indiana was without G Marquis Daniels, who missed his third consecutive game with a sore back. ... Washington C Andray Blatche, who's missed the last seven games with an injury to his left knee, dressed for the game, but isn't ready to play, according to Tapscott. ... Granger, named to the All-Star team for the first time, said he didn't plan on missing the game to rest his aching right knee. "I'll hobble through that game if I have to," Granger said. "No way am I bagging that one." . ... The Wizards ended their season-high five-game homestand 2-3. They won't play at home again until Feb. 17 -- two days after the All-Star break. ... O'Brien played all 12 players in the first half. ... Pacers C Roy Hibbert, who played at Georgetown, scored four points in just under four minutes.