Stojakovic can only hope he can emulate Jamison and leave those days far behind. Jamison completed a comeback January on Tuesday night, with 19 points and 18 rebounds in 47 minutes in the Washington Wizards' 84-79 victory over the Pacers, who lost their sixth straight.
"Now I have my pep in my step," said Jamison, who averaged 20.9 points and 9.1 rebounds for the month. "I have that swagger. I feel like myself again. I'm just playing hard. I'm playing with a lot more intensity. I'm positive about everything. It's almost like a 180 from where I was when I was struggling."
Gilbert Arenas added 20 points for the Wizards, who have won eight of 11 to move within one game of .500. They can reach the break-even mark for the first time since early December with a win Wednesday at Toronto, and they don't play a team that currently has a winning record until Feb. 10.
"It's winning time for him. It's time to make a move," coach Eddie Jordan said of Jamison. "He knows it. We all know it. I think he's just going out there and being a leader for us, showing us this is how to get it done."
Stojakovic, acquired last week from the Sacramento Kings for Ron Artest, scored 17 points on 4-for-10 shooting, including 1-for-6 from 3-point range, and was limited to 26 minutes because of foul trouble. Ten of his points came in the fourth quarter, mostly when the Pacers were trying to overcome a double-digit deficit.
"This is my first game. I just got a feel for my new teammates and they got a feel for me. We've got to keep working," Stojakovic said. "You think you know the set plays after reviewing them in practice, then the game comes, and it gets a little bit confusing. I think with time it's going to get better. In the second half, I felt more comfortable."
Stojakovic's only 3-pointer came when the Pacers were trailing by 12 with 3½ minutes remaining, but it started a run that cut Washington's lead to four with 10 seconds left. Arenas made one of two free throws with 9.5 seconds remaining to help secure the victory.
Like the Wizards, the Pacers ended the evening one game below .500, but Indiana has a losing record for the first time this season. Stojakovic's debut gave the team its 20th starting lineup of the season.
The Pacers remained without Jermaine O'Neal (groin), Jamaal Tinsley (elbow) and Jeff Foster (back spasms) and had to play most of the second half without Austin Croshere, who sustained a mild concussion in the third quarter.
"Austin had a concussion tonight. That's the way it goes for us," said O'Neal, who is not expected back until March. "We get one back, we lose one. Or lose two. We've had the most difficult time the last two years just keeping a full roster. Hopefully at some point at the end of the tunnel some good things can happen for
the Indiana Pacers."
The Wizards jumped to a 22-9 lead and never trailed, but the Pacers cut the deficit to two twice in the third quarter.
Jamison's basket capped a run that put the Wizards ahead 80-65 with 4:23 remaining, but the Pacers made four 3-pointers in the final 3½ minutes to make the final score more respectable.
"We're down players, which hurts us, but also we're in a situation where we've got zero margin for error," Indiana coach Rick Carlisle said. "We're going to have to make shots. We just could never get anything going offensively."
Stojakovic arrived in Indianapolis on Friday after the trade, but he sat out the loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers that night. ... The Wizards had turnovers on six consecutive possessions late in the third quarter, but the Pacers could only cut the lead from 10 to six during that stretch. ... Wizards coach Eddie
Jordan's mother, Marguerite Jordan, was honored at halftime with a "Good Neighbor Award." She worked for more than 30 years in the
District of Columbia school system. ... Washington reassigned second-year center Peter John Ramos to the Roanoke Dazzle of the D-League.