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Gilbert Arenas scored 32 points and hit three free throws with 0.1 left to give the Wizards the win.
Down by two with one-tenth of a second remaining, Arenas capitalized on a personal foul and technical foul called against the Golden State Warriors coach by making three free throws to give Washington a wild 107-106 victory.
"It was bizarre,'' Arenas said. "You've got to thank the refs for that one.''
Washington trailed 106-104 with 2.9 seconds to play when Arenas caught an inbounds pass near the top of the key and drove to the basket. The horn sounded before Arenas released a shot, but the officials ruled that Golden State's Mickael Pietrus fouled Arenas with a fraction of a second left on the clock.
Nelson stormed onto the court to argue the call and was issued a technical, and Arenas was awarded three free throws.
With the crowd on its feet, Arenas nailed the first two free throws before Golden State called a timeout. He then calmly returned to the line and sank the third.
"Gilbert has ice water in his veins, and he knocked them down,'' Washington coach Eddie Jordan said. "It was a very strange ending.''
The Warriors struggled to stomach the technical foul call that gave Arenas the chance to score the decisive point.
"It's just unfortunate that the refs made a very, very, very bad call,'' Al Harrington said. "I don't know if I'm going to get fined for that, but that was just an awful call. Pretty much I really don't mind the (personal) foul, because if it's a foul and he makes two free throws, we're playing an extra five minutes. But the technical was just ridiculous because now you just take the game completely away from us.''
Why, specifically, Nelson was called for the technical was up for debate after the game. Nelson said the refs told him he was whistled for being out on the court. Several Wizards, however, said they heard Nelson use profanity when addressing the officials
"If you call somebody an idiot, you got to give a technical for that one,'' Arenas said. "And there was something before that last word was used.''
"Eddie was on the floor, as well,'' Nelson said, referring to the Wizards coach. "If they give me one, they have to give him one.
"It's unfortunate a game has to end that way, but I think the league will be very disappointed in this game the way it ended when they review the plays,'' he added. "Really, that's all I have to say about it.''
Arenas burned his old team and led Washington to its second-straight win with a game-high 32 points. He had gone a season-high two straight games without scoring 20 or more, but he seemed to regain his stroke with Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison attracting some of Golden State's attention on the offensive end.
Butler (back) and Jamison (knee) returned to the lineup in Friday's win over Atlanta after missing three and 12 games, respectively. Washington lost all three games without Butler and was 4-8 without Jamison, but their contributions were crucial in handing the Warriors their season-high sixth straight loss.
Jamison scored 18 points and Butler scored 20. None was more important than Butler's dunk with 48 seconds remaining, which tied the game at 102-102.
The score was tied 104-104 with less than 30 seconds to play when Jason Richardson missed a jumper and Andris Biedrins tipped the rebound out to Al Harrington in front of the Wizards' bench. Harrington drove and was fouled by Butler with 2.9 seconds remaining. He made both free throws, setting the stage for Arenas' heroics.
Arenas finished 9-of-19 from the floor and was perfect on 12 free throws. His poise in the final second impressed even the disappointed Warriors.
"He's confident. I love seeing that, you know what I'm saying?'' Harrington said. "He just knew he was going to make his free throws. They didn't touch no rim, bottom of the net, so he did what he was supposed to do.''
Notes: Etan Thomas started for Washington in place of Brendan Haywood (back). It was Thomas' 21st start of the season, a career high, and first since Dec. 9 against Houston. ... Baron Davis practiced with the Warriors on Saturday but did not play against Washington. He has missed 13 straight games due to a left knee injury, but he could be activated for Monday's game against Detroit.