Arenas Scores 34 as Wizards Top Lakers
Washington 94, L.A. Lakers 91
WASHINGTON, Dec. 26 (Ticker) -- Gilbert Arenas patiently waited 10 days to settle matters with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Arenas scored 34 points and Caron Butler added 16 to lead the Wizards to their third consecutive victory, a 94-91 triumph over the Los Angeles Lakers.
The league's fourth-leading scorer, Arenas made 11-of-23 shots from the floor and 10-of-11 free throws as Washington earned a split of the two-game season series with Los Angeles by avenging Wednesday's 97-91 loss.
After trailing by 16 points in the first half, the Wizards took command with a 21-3 run in the third quarter for a 72-66 lead. Arenas made a reverse layup following a steal to tie the game at 63-63 for two of his 10 points in the spurt.
Kobe Bryant cut the lead to 91-88 by hitting a 3-pointer with 2:02 to play. After Butler responded with his own 3-pointer with 1:34 remaining, Bryant made another basket from the arc with 1:25 left.
On the Lakers' final possession, Calvin Booth stole a pass from Bryant with five seconds to go and ran out the clock, giving the Lakers their second straight loss on a three-game road trip.
"We botched the play up and didn't execute it right," Bryant said. "The spacing was messed up. We had a nice screen-and-roll situation with myself and Brian Cook. We just didn't execute it properly."
"(Bryant) was going to drive the ball down and they made the switch," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. "He had a shooter with him but he lost the ball. I didn't ask him actually, but it looked like he lost the ball or else they knocked it out of his hand or took it away."
Antawn Jamison scored 15 points and grabbed 11 rebounds and former Laker Chucky Atkins added 12 for Washington, which shot just 38 percent (31-of-81) from the floor.
"Gilbert was terrific," Wizards coach Eddie Jordan said. "Chucky made some big shots. Antonio Daniels was solid defensively on Kobe and we played great team defense."
Seeing his team lose for the second straight day, Jackson was unhappy with a pair of second-half palming violations called on Bryant, the league's second-leading scorer.
"That was quite an exhibition out there tonight," Jackson said. "For the second half, it was kind of uphill sledding out there. It was pretty interesting. Two palming violations on Kobe when he's probably the least offender, even though there are a lot of guys who do it in this league."
Bryant scored 20 of his 31 points in the first half, including 12 of the Lakers' final 14 points in the opening quarter. Smush Parker had 16 and Chris Mihm added 11.
"We were cruising along there with that lead and then we missed some foul shots," Jackson said. "It started a little bit of a landslide out there and I think they outscored us 20-4 in the (third) period. Things just kind of went quickly south on us. ... That happens at times."
Former Wizard Kwame Brown was loudly booed in his first appearance in Washington after he was traded to Los Angeles during the summer and scored five points.
"It was worse than that when I was here," Brown said. "Y'all wasn't here when I was getting booed? It was worse than that. It's bad that we lost. I just wanted to get a win. You always want to beat the team that traded you. ... It wasn't a big deal to me. It was a big deal to you all."