Arenas Guides Wizards To Win Over Knicks
Washington 105, New York 90
WASHINGTON, April 4 (Ticker) -- Gilbert Arenas simply played the role of a traditional point guard.
Arenas had 11 of his season-high 13 assists in the first half and Antawn Jamison and Caron Butler scored 18 points apiece as the Washington Wizards cruised to a 105-90 victory over the New York Knicks, who lost their ninth straight game.
"New York is a team that is not playing well and we didn't play down to their level," Wizards coach Eddie Jordan said. "I thought we played very well, especially Gilbert with how he got his teammates involved early."
"I tell Gilbert when the game starts, 'Start off the game aggressive because it makes us a better basketball team,'" Wizards guard Antonio Daniels said of his backcourt mate. "Tonight he was very aggressive; not just in looking for his own shots but setting up other guys as well. When he comes out and controls the tempo like he did tonight, it makes us a much better team."
Arenas scored 46 points against the Knicks in the previous meeting between the teams on February 26.
Arenas had assists on five of the Wizards' first six baskets - the last being Butler's jumper for a quick 14-4 lead. Washington held a 30-19 lead after the first quarter and extended it to 61-39 at the half.
"He draws a lot of attention, so whenever he has the ball, whether it is in transition or on an isolation play, he draws two and three defenders and guys become open," Butler said. "He did a good job of just picking them apart."
Washington shot 59 percent (23-of-39) in the opening half.
Arenas also tied a season high with six steals for the Wizards, who had six players score in double figures.
"We played a team game," Arenas said. "We said we were going to make sure we did that for the last 10 (games of the regular season). One is down. Now we've got nine more to make our statement in this playoff run."
Butler grabbed eight rebounds and handed out six assists and Jamison made 8-of-14 shots.
Jackie Butler scored a career-high 22 points and Steve Francis added 15 for the Knicks (19-54), who trailed by as many as 31 points.
"I think a lot of the players don't realize that you only have one basketball career and it doesn't last as long as you think," Francis said. "The money might be there, but actually being out there on the court, that (stuff) doesn't last. And until people realize that and realize that you have to help each other and not be so selfish and worry about how many points you score, we're going to be stuck in the same position, same place."
Knicks coach Larry Brown also said he never recalls having a team struggle this badly.
"That was way up there with one of the worst I think we've been around," said Brown, whose team matched a season high with 28 turnovers. "They came in with so much more energy it was like the varsity against the jayvee.
"You've got to keep trying. Somehow you've got to find five guys who care enough to compete. I hate to say that because you take away from Arenas and Jeffries and Thomas and Daniels and Butler and Jamison and what they did, but you've got to hope you have enough pride to compete. I never in my life thought I'd be in a position where you're begging guys to play.