WASHINGTON, Feb. 7 (Ticker) -- Gilbert Arenas
was at his best when the
Washington Wizards needed him most.
Arenas scored a career high-tying 43 points, including 16 in the
decisive fourth quarter, as the Wizards posted a 108-104
victory over the Indiana Pacers.
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Averaging 30 points in his last 10 contests, Arenas made one
last pitch for a spot on the Eastern Conference All-Star squad
by helping the Wizards rally in the final period.
"I think he has started to show he is special, and it is not
just about scoring," Washington coach Eddie Jordan said. "He has
really matured to running the team. He is certainly the guy
that makes us go."
Arenas eclipsed 30 points for the 13th time this season and
seventh in the last nine games. The point guard matched the
career high he set January 18 against Dallas.
With Washington (28-19) trailing, 89-81, with 9:34 left, Arenas
scored six points in a 16-6 run that gave the Wizards the lead
"Gilbert is having a great year," Indiana swingman Stephen Jackson
said. "He definitely deserves to be in the All-Star
Game. If (the coaches) are watching the right players, then he
should make it."
The Wizards were clinging to a 102-100 lead in the final minute
before Arenas helped ice the game by draining four free throws.
"He is a guy that we talked a lot about, and he is one of those
guys that can just make plays," Indiana coach Rick Carlisle
said. "On nights when he is hitting shots, he is really tough to
deal with. We did a great job playing him and he still hit
Indiana (22-25) had a chance to tie in the closing seconds, but
dribbled the ball off his leg trying to drive past
Antawn Jamison. Juan Dixon
made the steal and two free throws
for the final margin.
"Our undoing was probably the end of the third, early fourth
when we gave up a string of 3-point shots," said Carlisle, whose
team dropped to 8-6 on the road against Eastern Conference
"That was a big part of the game because we built the lead to
eight" Carlisle continued. "When we were unable to maintain that
lead it hurt us some. We got down, battled back and gave
ourselves a chance. Unfortunately, Freddie (Jones) lost his
footing on that last play, otherwise I think we would have had a
good shot at tying it."
The Wizards made their last six foul shots to finish just
22-of-37 from the line.
Arenas added nine rebounds and six assists and Jamison scored 24
points for Washington. Guards Dixon and Jarvis Hayes
scored in double figured for the Wizards, clipping in 11 and 10
Jermaine O'Neal scored 30 points, grabbed 13 rebounds and
blocked five shots for Indiana. Jackson scored 29 points. Center
contributed 14 points and 11 rebounds but fouled
out with 1:03 remaining.
Shooting 65 percent from the floor, the Pacers raced out to an
early 34-25 lead in the first quarter. The Wizards, however,
used a 20-8 spurt to propel them to a 56-53 lead at the break.