Arenas, Wizards Roll Past Hornets
Washington 110, New Orleans/Oklahoma City 99
WASHINGTON, Jan. 20 (Ticker) -- The Washington Wizards bounced back in a big way.
Gilbert Arenas scored 33 points, Caron Butler added 24 and Antawn Jamison had 20 and 11 rebounds as the Wizards breezed to a 110-99 triumph over the New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets, who had their season-high four-game winning streak snapped.
"They've got a lot of players but three that they really rely on, especially on the offensive end, and those guys had big nights tonight," Hornets coach Byron Scott said. "You can't trade baskets and think that you're going to outscore a team like this. We don't have the weapons to outscore them. Tonight, we didn't even give ourselves a chance."
The Wizards held a 58-54 lead at intermission before pulling away for good in the third quarter. Jamison's 3-pointer with 2:49 remaining pushed the advantage to 80-66.
"We're all playing together right now," said Arenas, who made 8-of-18 shots. "We still need to improve our transition defense and fouling people at the rim, but when we get to that point, I think we're going to be pretty good and when you (personally) lead the league in turnovers and you see a game where you don't have any, it makes you happy."
The Hornets trailed by 10 points entering the fourth quarter but closed to 90-84 as rookie Chris Paul made a pair of free throws with 8:57 to play. Butler's one-handed dunk with just under seven minutes left capped a 7-0 spurt and rebuilt the margin to 97-84.
"It just seemed like we were scoring and they were scoring, we were scoring and they were scoring," said Paul, who scored 28 points on 11-of-17 shooting. "And it can't be like that. We realize that we can score at times at will, but at the same time they were scoring every time."
A 3-pointer by Arenas made it 102-86 midway through the period.
"The defensive effort was pretty bad tonight," said Hornets forward P.J. Brown, who scored eight points. "I don't know if it was our effort or they were just a more determined team. Their team is very similar to what we like to do, so it was kind of like we were playing against ourselves tonight. They hurt us on the glass a lot. They were just a lot more active than we were."
Jared Jeffries had 12 points and eight rebounds and Antonio Daniels scored 11 points for Washington, which shot 51 percent (43-of-83).
"I think we are really starting to click," said Jamison, who registered his 18th double-double. "We are starting to understand what it takes in order for us to be successful, with everyone getting touches. They don't know who to give all their attention. You concentrate on two guys and there is still another guy who can get 20 points a night. This is a great nucleus and I'm glad it's finally starting to come together."
Paul added 11 assists and six rebounds for the Hornets, who shot 48 percent (38-of-78).
"Chris competes," Scott said. "That's one thing about the young fella, he comes with it every night. He's going to go after guys. He's going to compete. He does what you want him to do. We asked him to push the ball and he pushed the ball.
"We just didn't have enough guys play hard tonight," Scott continued. "(Desmond) Mason played hard and P.J. (Brown) played really hard tonight, and we had a couple of guys that we really rely on that just had off nights. But it starts for us on the defensive end and for whatever reason, we couldn't get stops."