Arenas Heats Up Late For Wizards
Washington 94, Indiana 85
INDIANAPOLIS, Jan. 13 (Ticker) -- All-Star guard Gilbert Arenas made the fourth quarter his own personal playground.
Arenas scored 18 of his 37 points in the final period and Caron Butler added 24 and eight rebounds as the Washington Wizards posted a 94-85 triumph over the Indiana Pacers.
"He is the most effective, not when he's scoring, but when he gets other people involved," said Butler, who made 9-of-20 shots. "He demands a double-team every night. He did a great job of reading the situation and either going to the rim or passing it off. He's a superstar."
The Wizards held a 60-53 advantage with just over three minutes left in the third quarter before Indiana went on a 12-5 spurt to tie the game heading into the final period. Jermaine O'Neal scored 11 points in the quarter.
"We made a run in the third and took the lead in the fourth quarter," said O'Neal, who scored 20 points. "I think it was a situation where we just couldn't make plays in the last four minutes. They made they plays they needed to make and they got the stops. I had a turnover and a couple of missed shots inside the last three minutes and that let them open up a lead."
Fred Jones' three-point play knotted the contest at 80-80 with 4:01 remaining. Over the next 3 1/2 minutes, Arenas accounted for Washington's next eight points, scoring six with an assist to help build an 88-80 lead.
"I wanted to come out semi-aggressive," Arenas said. "I wanted try and work the ball around some and take some pressure off me, and then attack late. I tried to stay away from taking wild threes and just look for high-percentage shots. We let our offense work for us and we played solid defense tonight."
"I've been very fortunate to coach a guy like Gilbert," Wizards coach Eddie Jordan said. "His growth and maturity has improved tremendously since his first season. He cares about the team. He cares about winning. He's a tremendous talent and he's only 24."
O'Neal's layup made it 88-82 with 1:18 to go, but Butler scored on jump hook, and Jared Jeffries' huge block on Jones with 49 seconds remaining sealed the victory.
"Fred had been getting to the basket on us all night," said Jeffries, who scored nine points. "I was just trying to stay in front of him and contest the shot and I was able to get a hand on it."
Antonio Daniels scored 10 points for Washington, which shot 46 percent (33-of-72) and scored 21 points off 17 turnovers. The Wizards again used their new look which features 2005 All-Star Antawn Jamison and center Brendan Haywood coming off the bench.
"Gilbert carried us tonight," Jordan said. "One of the coaches compared this lineup with Philadelphia's a few years ago - (Allen) Iverson and eight defensive players. That's what it seemed like tonight. Caron carried some of the weight and Daniels hit some big shots, but (Arenas) was the steady scorer."
Jones scored 14 points and Jeff Foster had 10 points and 11 rebounds for the Pacers, who shot 45 percent (34-of-74). Stephen Jackson struggled to 11 points, making just 5-of-15 shots, including 0-of-3 from the arc.
"(It) just didn't seem like we were really right all night," Indiana coach Rick Carlisle said. "I don't really have an answer for that. That guy that got us was Arenas. Unfortunately, we couldn't get him under control. We got the lead back, but couldn't sustain it. We had our chances down the stretch."