WASHINGTON, April 30 (Ticker) -- Gilbert Arenas
finished what LeBron James
Arenas scored 20 of his 34 points in the fourth quarter as the
Washington Wizards rallied for a 106-96 victory over the
Cleveland Cavaliers to even their Eastern Conference first-round
series at two games apiece.
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added 22 points and Caron Butler
21 for the
fifth-seeded Wizards, who came out lethargic and trailed by as
many as 13 points early in the third quarter before rallying
Arenas was a major reason why the Wizards got off to a slow
start as he scored just six points on 1-of-9 shooting in the
"Nothing was falling for me but I stuck in there playing defense
and tried to get my hand on loose ball - just trying to stay in
the game," Arenas said. "In the fourth quarter, I just had it
Coming off a 41-point effort - an NBA record for most postseason
points in a road debut - James got off to another sizzling
start, making four 3-pointers and scoring 18 points in the first
quarter. The 21-year-old phenom had 25 by the half, helping
the Cavs open a 57-46 advantage.
However, things took a drastic turn in the second half, when
Arenas came alive and James went silent for a long stretch.
"They switched their defense up and started running Gilbert
Arenas at me so I didn't want to force anything," James said.
"I gave the ball up and we just missed some open shots."
"It seems like they tried to take my aggressiveness away. I've
probably been called for more offensive fouls in this series
than in all 82 games combined. I think they want me to settle
for my outside shot, but I have to keep being aggressive
because that's the type of player that I am and that's the way
I am going to help my team win ballgames."
Arenas scored eight points in the third quarter, with his
3-pointer bringing the Wizards within 72-69 at the 1:33 mark.
After Jared Jeffries
split two free throws, Arenas sank two foul
shots with under a second left to tie the game heading into the
"When Gilbert gets going, we all feed off him," Wizards coach
said. "I decided I was not going to call any plays
to start the second half. Our guys know how to play. We focused
mostly on the passing game, using our pick-and-rolls and moving
the basketball. This is how we got it going."
Still just 3-of-14 from the floor through three quarters, Arenas
answered James' 3-pointer 18 seconds into the fourth quarter
with one his own to tie the game at 75-75. James' basket was
his first points in more than 15 minutes since late in the
"In the third quarter we weren't executing the way we had
planned to and it showed," Cavaliers guard Larry Hughes
"We lost the game in the third quarter no matter what calls were
made. Those eight minutes in the third quarter hurt us."
Jamison drilled a jumper with 11 minutes remaining to trigger a
15-5 surge that gave the Wizards the lead for good. Arenas
scored the last eight points of the burst, capped by two free
throws at the 6:13 mark to give Washington a 90-80 advantage.
"When the fourth quarter comes around, it's time for Gilbert to
do what Gilbert does, and that's to either create a shot for
himself or get in there and create for other people," Wizards
reserve guard Antonio Daniels
said. "Just because he struggled
with his shot he did an excellent job of getting to the
free-throw line and making teams pay that way."
The Cavs cut the deficit to 91-86 with 3:57 left on a basket by
, who scored 13 points. But Arenas made two
free throws and a 3-pointer as the Wizards rebuilt the lead to
96-87 with 3:21 to go.
Arenas made 8-of-20 shots overall and went 14-of-17 from the
After James drilled a 3-pointer, Butler hit two foul shots and a
jumper which gave Washington control for good.
"Antawn (Jamison) kept us in there, Jared (Jeffries) kept us in
there, and Antonio (Daniels) kept us in there," Arenas said.
"They did a great job, but we just hung around until Caron
(Butler) and I came around. Caron hit big shots in the fourth
quarter. He played tough defense and got key rebounds. We didn't
let them get second-chance points."
James finished with 38 points on 13-of-23 shooting for
fourth-seeded Cleveland, which heads home for Game 5 on
"It's going to be a good series," James said. "They're at home
and they did a great job of locking us down in the third quarter
which put them back in the game. They just took advantage of us
in the second half. Gilbert Arenas was able to attack us and
get to the free-throw line, which allowed them to feel
comfortable about themselves and get to the line without time
winding off the clock when they were down."
added 19 points for the Cavs, who shot 50 percent
(34-of-68) but committed 23 turnovers that led to 27 points for
"Out of our (23) turnovers, it seemed like 10 to 12 of those
were offensive fouls," James said. "We have to be able to
control our turnovers and keep getting better."
Washington shot 42 percent (33-of-78) but committed just 11