Arenas, Wizards Outshine Suns
Washington 112, Phoenix 111
PHOENIX, Dec. 23 (Ticker) -- Gilbert Arenas scored 41 points and nearly was the goat.
Arenas missed three free throws in the final 41 seconds before the Washington Wizards held on for a 112-111 victory over the slumping Phoenix Suns.
Arenas made 15-of-24 shots, including 6-of-9 3-pointers, as he overwhelmed smaller Suns guards Steve Nash and Eddie House.
"I get to control the ball more, I get to bring it up and get to play with the ball a little more and get into my rhythm," Arenas said. "I made it a point to be aggressive because the way I go the team goes. We know that and the other teams know that. So I do my best to get in there and go. If I can get hot early, that puts pressure on everybody and frees up the other guys."
However, Arenas made just 5-of-10 free throws and had most of his misses at the most inopportune time.
"It is just one of those nights," Arenas said. "I missed five of them. It is just one of those nights where it feels good. Two of them went in the rim and came back out. You just got to live with it."
A basket by Caron Butler with 1:07 to play gave Washington a 111-106 lead. Nash hit a 3-pointer and Arenas was fouled with 44 seconds left, splitting the free throws.
Nash sank two foul shots with 32 seconds remaining and Arenas was fouled again with 12 seconds to go. This time he missed both, giving the Suns a chance to win.
Nash drove and whipped a pass to the foul line to Boris Diaw, who missed an open jumper, leading to a scramble for the rebound that was kicked out of bounds by the Wizards with 0.8 seconds left.
After a timeout, Nash took an inbounds pass from Jim Jackson but missed a potential game-winning jumper.
"We got a little break at the end," Wizards coach Eddie Jordan said. "We haven't caught many breaks, but tonight we did. When you play with that much conviction and that much togetherness and that hard, the gods look upon you and help you out a little bit."
"That was a good shot. It bounced in and out. Steve did a good job," Suns coach Mike D'Antoni said.
Butler scored 26 points and Antawn Jamison added 22 and 13 rebounds for the Wizards, who regrouped to win the last two games of their road trip after dropping the first three.
"I started off slow but went back in and stayed aggressive," Butler said. "We are very excited to win these games on the road, especially against teams like Phoenix and Denver. With Steve Nash missing that shot at the buzzer, the ball dropped our way finally.
Nash had 27 points and nine assists and Kurt Thomas and James Jones scored 18 points apiece for the Suns, who had all five starters in double figures but lost for the fifth time in six games. Phoenix was outrebounded, 52-30.
"We didn't have an effort on some rebounds. We can't play small and slow," D'Antoni said. "We didn't put the hammer down. There is a point in the game where you have to do that and we didn't."
Washington won in Phoenix for only the second time in its last 17 games and for the first time since Feb. 15, 2002, when Michael Jordan hit game-winning jumper in the final second.
After winning eight straight games at home, the Suns have dropped their last two.
"Those are the ones you want to win. It's pretty disappointing," Suns guard Raja Bell said. "We had them down by seven with and opportunity to take the wind out of their sails if we had gotten a stop and maybe scored. They enforced their will over the next two minutes and got back into it."