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November 20, 2009

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Wizards cast a spell on Cavaliers

THE Washington Wizards overcame a 34-point performance by LeBron James to crush the Central Division-leading Cleveland Cavaliers 108-91 on Wednesday and snap a six-game losing streak.

Antawn Jamison, who hurt his shoulder during preseason and missed the first nine games, sparkled in his season debut, scoring 31 points and grabbing 10 rebounds for the Wizards.

"It felt good to be out there competing, being out there with my teammates and having fun again," said Jamison, who connected on 12 of 22 shots. "One thing that I've noticed lately is our energy level has been down. I tried to change that.

"I've been sitting down forever, so I have a lot of energy."

Cleveland (8-4) saw a 17-point, second-quarter lead evaporate amid a flurry of turnovers and a stagnant offense.

"We played one quarter of good basketball and the last three quarters were not good at all," said Cleveland coach Mike Brown. "In the second half we brought the ball to a complete stop offensively.

"We didn't have any player movement or ball movement. I don't know how we could have so many turnovers in the second half (nine) because we weren't moving the ball.

"Our energy wasn't there, our focus wasn't there, our ball movement wasn't there, our player movement wasn't there. Nothing. We were really flat.

"And it resulted in us getting our behinds kicked."

Elsewhere in the National Basketball Association, it was: 76ers 86, Bobcats 84; Magic 108, Thunder 94; Hawks 105, Heat 90; Knicks 110, Pacers 103; Celtics 109, Warriors 95; Grizzlies 106, Clippers 91; Rockets 97, Timberwolves 84; Brewers 99, Nets 85; Jazz 104, Raptors 91; Mavericks 99, Spurs 94 (in overtime); and Trail Blazers 87, Pistons 81.

In Washington, the Wizards' Caron Butler scored seven points during a 16-2 fourth-quarter surge that turned a three-point lead into a 95-78 advantage with just over six minutes to play.

Hottest team

"When you fall behind by 17 to a team that's probably the hottest team in the league right now, it would have been very easy to say, ?Well, not tonight'," Wizards coach Flip Saunders said. "But they kept fighting through it."

The Cavaliers played without center Shaquille O'Neal, who missed his third successive game while nursing a shoulder injury.

James said the Cavaliers, whose five-game winning streak was snapped, could have used the physical presence of the 2.16-meter, 147.4-kilogram O'Neal.

"When it becomes a rat race with us not having our big fella down in the paint to slow things down, we become a jump-shooting team at times," said James, who left the game in the final minute with a nagging wrist injury.

"Against certain teams you've got to have that interior force and we didn't have that tonight."


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