Wizards hold off Raptors behind Jamison's 29

TORONTO (AP) -- The Washington Wizards escaped with a victory in
their season opener.

Antawn Jamison had 29 points and the Wizards held off the
Toronto Raptors 99-96 on Wednesday night.

Gilbert Arenas added 21 points for the Wizards, who were
repeatedly beat on the offensive glass down the stretch. The
Raptors couldn't take advantage though as they kept missing open

"We played poorly," Jamison said. "We didn't rebound. They
pretty much got 25 points off offensive rebounds, but nothing was
gift wrapped. We just stay poised. We didn't let our play affect

Jalen Rose had 20 points for the Raptors, but just two in the
fourth quarter as he missed a number of shots down the stretch.

Down by three with 12.7 seconds left, Toronto rookie Charlie
Villanueva threw up an airball on a 3-point attempt and Rose's
3-pointer clanked off the front of the rim.

Toronto shot 24 percent in the fourth quarter.

"We had a chance to win the game. We missed shots down the
stretch," Rose said. "This team needs me to step up in crucial
situations. I did not do that. I had a couple of turnovers down the
stretch, missed a couple of shots and I can't do that. I take this
loss upon myself."

The trio of Arenas, Jamison and Larry Hughes helped Washington
reach the playoffs for the first time since 1997 last season, but
they lost Hughes to free agency this past summer.

Coach Eddie Jordan said his team probably won't click right away
as he integrates newcomers Antonio Daniels, Caron Butler and Chucky
Atkins into the Princeton offense.

"We're still trying to find our way with each other," Arenas

Jamison also grabbed nine rebounds and finished 12-for-21 from
the field. He struggled in the preseason but had 13 points in the
first quarter.

"I've been pretty much underestimated my whole career,"
Jamison said. "Last year I got some recognition, but I don't care
about that. I care about the success of this team."

After Toronto's Mike James made a 3-pointer to cut the lead to
one with 1:16 left, Brendan Haywood took a charge as Rose drove to
the basket.

Rose went 1-for-5 from the field in the fourth quarter.

Jamison followed the charge with a short jumper, and Toronto
missed their two 3-point attempts.

Jamison said he was impressed with Villanueva and fellow Toronto
rookies Joey Graham and Jose Calderon.

"On paper the Raptors don't look like much, but these guys are
going to be a force to be reckoned with in the future," Jamison
said. "Charlie has size, he can put it on the floor and he has a
nice jumper."

Game notes
Jordan said a season opening win is important but not that
important. "It's a fragile, sensitive league, but it's not going
to make or break the season," Jordan said. ... Graham's twin
brother Stephen, who was recently cut by San Antonio, attended the
game. ... Free agent pitcher A.J. Burnett, Toronto ace Roy Halladay
and pitching coach Brad Arnsberg sat in the second row behind one
of the baskets. The Blue Jays are trying to recruit Burnett.
Actress Lara Flynn Boyle sat courtside.