Arenas Leads Wizards Against Magic
Posted Nov 6 2006 12:17PM
NBA.com Daily Confidential
It didn't take long for Gilbert Arenas to calm down and get back on his game.
The Washington Wizards look for another big night from their star guard when they visit the Orlando Magic on Monday.
After scoring seven points on a dismal 2-for-12 shooting performance in Washington's 97-94 loss to Cleveland to open the season on Wednesday, Arenas rebounded by scoring 44 points in his team's 124-117 win over Boston on Saturday.
``I found my rhythm this game,'' said Arenas, whose 29.3 scoring average ranked fourth in the NBA last season. ``I think I was just anxious that first game. I wanted to get out there. (Saturday) I was back to my old self, scoring, distributing the ball and keeping it up-tempo.''
Arenas' seven-point night Wednesday was his lowest-scoring game since Jan. 11, when he scored nine points in a 103-72 win over Atlanta. The two-time All-Star was much more relaxed Saturday night when he helped the Wizards (1-1) win their home opener. It marked the 20th time the six-year veteran scored 40 or more points.
``I think he lit a fire under himself,'' Wizards guard Antonio Daniels said. ``It's very tough to keep Gilbert down.''
Washington will need Arenas to be on his game against Orlando, a place where the Wizards have lost eight of their last nine games, the only exception coming in a 111-102 win on April 1, 2005.
The home team won all four meetings in last season's series, with the Magic limiting Arenas to 23.3 points per game - six below his season average.
After opening the season by defeating Chicago 100-94 last Wednesday, the Magic (1-2) are now trying to avoid a three-game losing streak.
Frustration settled in Sunday, when Orlando never led in a 95-82 loss to the undefeated Atlanta Hawks. The Magic matched a franchise low with only eight assists. Forward Dwight Howard was held to 11 points and eight rebounds after averaging 20.5 points and 10 rebounds in his first two games.
The 20-year-old Howard also drew a technical foul for slapping the ball at Atlanta's Zaza Pachulia after picking up his fifth foul late in the game.
``You try not to get frustrated with the referees and just try to keep working and play hard, but we kind of got away from that today,'' Howard said. ``Our energy level wasn't what we needed it to be today, so that's the reason we lost.''
Carlos Arroyo led the Magic with 22 points and Grant Hill had 14. Hill, who's averaging a team-high 19.3 points, was the only Magic player coach Brian Hill thought played well.
``It's very disappointing, the effort that we came out here with from the beginning of the game,'' Hill said. ``I'm extremely disappointed in everybody's effort, with the exception of Grant Hill.''
Orlando shot 18.2 percent (2-for-11) from 3-point range and is 4-for-20 from beyond the arc in its two losses.
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