"You have to stay resilient," Wizards forward Caron Butler said. "You know, this has been a tough and trying period for all of us mentally and physically, but you have to try to find a positive. That's what we have been doing, trying to stay afloat, stay positive and keep pushing. Fortunately the city has been behind us and we have been moving forward."
Boykins was the main reason the Wizards snapped a four-game losing streak and prevented the Nets (4-41) from posting consecutive victories for the first time this season. New Jersey beat the Clippers on Wednesday to end an 11-game losing streak.
The 5-foot-5 guard came off the bench, scored a team-high 15 points on 7 of 13 shooting from the field and grabbed five rebounds. His biggest shot, of course, was his last, which came 12.6 seconds after Brook Lopez tied the game at 79 for New Jersey with a layup with 13 seconds to go.
After the Wizards called a time out, Boykins dribbled the ball slowly up the court and waited for the final seconds before dribbling to his right to come off a screen by Antawn Jamison.
"It was a read of the pick and roll and how they were going to play it," Boykins said. "The previous possession they switched. The last possession we were prepared for it and I was able to take advantage of it because of the mismatch."
Keyon Dooling was guarding Boykins but forward Kris Humphries was a little slow coming off the screen and that left Boykins open for a high-arching 17-footer that hit nothing but net.
"Earl came off and hit a magnificent shot, a shot he is very capable of making," Dooling said. "You have to tip your hat to him."
It was a win the Wizards really needed, not matter how close it followed the suspensions.
"For us to come here and get a win like that with a shot from one of our littlest guys, we'll take it," Butler said.
Reserves Andray Blatche added 14 points and Nick Young had 10 for the Wizards, who did not get double figures from any of their starting five.
Courtney Lee had 19 points - 17 in the first half - and Lopez added 17 and eight rebounds for the Nets.
"This are tough losses when you compete this hard," Nets interim coach Kiki Vandeweghe said. "Everybody across the board was competing."
The Wizards and the Nets came into the game with the two worst records in the Eastern Conference and neither seemed to want to win in the final minutes.
Held without a point for almost the final five minutes, the Nets tied the game at 79 when Lopez spun away from Brendan Haywood and hit a layup.
After Boykins game winner, Jarvis Hayes wasn't close with a hurried 3-pointer at the buzzer.
Washington had taken a 79-77 lead with 2:23 to play when Butler hit two free throws after being fouled going up with the rebound of Jamison's missed shot.