Jamison led the Washington Wizards to a 102-86 victory over the Toronto Raptors on Tuesday, handing Carter’s club its sixth loss in seven games and prompting his coach to compare the team to the comical Washington Generals.
Carter has asked for a trade and been booed at home this season. He wasn’t even in the game when the Raptors overcame a 19-point fourth-quarter deficit to beat San Antonio on Sunday. Former North Carolina teammates Jamison and Carter talk regularly, with Jamison trying to keep Carter’s spirits up.
“Half the time, basketball is not the key topic,” Jamison said. “That’s what I’ve been trying to stress to him: ‘Go out and have fun.’ Basketball is supposed to be about having fun, and not being stressful. I know it’s kind of been difficult for him, and I kind of wanted to go out there and make it fun for him—but not too much fun.”
There was little chance of that in a game in which the Raptors were outrebounded 64-47 and trailed—again—by 19 at the start of the fourth. They tried to repeat the comeback against the Spurs, cutting the Wizards’ lead to six with five minutes left, but Jamison steadied Washington down the stretch.
“I can’t explain it,” Toronto coach Sam Mitchell said. “Our guys, they just showed no toughness. We had one guy trying to rebound in the first half and that was Loren (Woods). Everybody else was standing and watching. We didn’t put a body on nobody. We didn’t move. We didn’t box out. We didn’t even jump, and we have athletes who never got off the floor.”
“I told our guys that if we don’t start taking what we do seriously, when we go on the road we’re going to be the Washington Generals—just showing up for a win,” added Mitchell, a reference to the longtime fodder team that would lose to the Harlem Globetrotters. “It’s not funny. I’m not saying it to be funny. It’s true. We have to go out and compete on the road. We don’t compete.”
Carter couldn’t argue with that.
“I guess he felt that some of the guys weren’t giving him the maximum effort that he wanted,” Carter said, “and he has every right to be mad about that, especially when we’re not winning. … We didn’t give our best effort and I think we know that.”
Jamison scored 28 points and Gilbert Arenas had 26, but it was the rebounding advantage, including 26-13 on the offensive boards, that allowed Washington to win three in a row for the first time since March 2003, during Doug Collins’ last days as coach.
Jamison had 13 rebounds, Jared Jeffries had 12, Brendan Haywood 11 and Jarvis Hayes grabbed nine. The rebounding offset a 35 percent shooting performance in the first half, and the Wizards took control with a 25-7 third-quarter run that included two 3-pointers each from Arenas and Larry Hughes.
Hughes finished with 20 points and seven rebounds.
Carter, away from the hostile home crowd, led the Raptors with 25 points and survived an elbow to the face that sent him to the locker room early for halftime. He wasn’t on the bench for the fourth-quarter rally this time, scoring eight points in the final period.
Rafer Alston had 20 points and a career-high 13 assists for the Raptors. The rest of the team had just four assists, and Toronto made just 19 of 33 free throw attempts.
It was almost too much for Mitchell to take.
“Somewhere we’ve got to find some men that want to play basketball to where this means more than just something to do,” the coach said. “And for the ones who don’t want to play, do everybody a favor: Quit.”
The Raptors fell to 1-6 on the road. … Toronto guard Jalen Rose missed the game with a bruised left thigh, which he hurt against the Spurs. … Wizards forward Samaki Walker (lower back strain) did not dress for the second straight game. … Arenas is definitely out to prove he’s cooled his temper. After getting called for a foul in the third quarter, he told official Eric Lewis: “Usually I just cuss you out and you give me a technical, but I’m not doing that this year.”