Portland 100, Washington 98

PORTLAND, Ore., March 20 (AP) -- Gilbert Arenas had a ball, even if he came up well short on his promise.

The Washington Wizards' All-Star guard had 19 points and 10 assists, but was just 4-of-16 from the field and didn't approach the 50 points he predicted he would score against the Portland Blazers in a 100-98 loss Tuesday night. Most of his points came from the free throw line, where he was 11-of-12.

Arenas, third in the NBA averaging 28.8 points entering the game, vowed to score 50 against both the Blazers and Phoenix Suns when he was cut from the U.S. national team last summer. Suns coach Mike D'Antoni and Blazers coach Nate McMillan were assistants on the U.S. team. Arenas scored 54 against Phoenix earlier in the year, but Portland held him to nine points on 3-of-15 shooting when the teams' first met Feb. 11.

Arenas stoked the flames earlier in the day, claiming at a shootaround interview that with Portland out of the playoffs and struggling, his presence gave fans a reason to come to the game.

He stayed in character during the game, raising his hands and smiling when he was booed during pregame introductions. He talked back to fans who booed each time he touched the ball, smiling all the while.

"It felt great,'' Arenas said. "The crowd was energized. I've never really been booed like that in my career. The only other time was my first time back at Golden State (his former team). They were loving it more than anybody.''

With a chance to force the game to overtime, Arenas drove down the lane and threw up a shot that fell well short of the rim as time ran out.

"I was going for the game-winner,'' Arenas said. "They pushed up on me so I drove in. Jarrett Jack was trying to take the charge so I laid up the floater. The floater looked like it did - bad.

Portland, missing Zach Randolph, their leading scorer and rebounder, held the Wizards, the second-highest scoring team in the NBA, eight points below their season average.

LaMarcus Aldridge had 25 points and eight rebounds, and the Trail Blazers snapped a four-game skid. Fellow rookie Brandon Roy had 19 points, 12 rebounds, and three key baskets in the final 2:44 for the Blazers.

Roy also hit three big shots in the last 2:44, when the Blazers, who had trailed much of the game, began their push.

"At the end it was obvious Brandon was going to take over the game,'' McMillan said. "He knows we're coming to him when the game is on the line.''

Antawn Jamison had 27 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Wizards.

Jamison hit a 3-pointer with 15.5 seconds left to get Washington within 97-96, but Jack made two free throws for the Blazers. Arenas drove for a layup with 10.4 seconds left to cut the lead to one again.

Jack was fouled again at the other end, but missed the second of two shots, giving the Wizards a chance to win. Arenas passed up a 3-pointer and then threw up the airball.

The Wizards led 12-4 early and the game was tied at 33 when they went on a 15-6 run to lead by nine points. It was 48-41 Washington at halftime.

Portland tied the game again at 59 on a jumper from Roy and went ahead on a layup by Ime Udoka. But Jamison had 10 points in the quarter and the Wizards took back the lead.

Sergio Rodriguez knocked down a 3-pointer to get Portland within 79-78, and the Blazers led 82-81 when Jamison knocked in a wide-open 3 for Washington.

Roy hit a jumper to tie the game at 89, and after Arenas missed his 11th shot of the night, Martell Webster converted a 3-point play to give Portland a 92-89 lead with 1:20 left.

The Blazers didn't change much without Randolph, running their usual sets through Aldridge, the rookie center from Texas who moved over to Randolph's power forward slot.

"It was great to get a win but we love 'Z-Bo' (Randolph) and we need him,'' Aldridge said. "We get easier shots when he's here.''

Webster had 11 points and Rodriguez had nine points and nine assists for Portland.

Notes: Randolph flew back to his hometown, Marion, Ind., after a cousin of his longtime girlfriend was shot and killed at a motorcycle club there on Sunday. Randolph will miss Thursday's game at New York, but could return for Friday's game against Atlanta. ... Wizards F Caron Butler, averaging 19.1 points and 7.5 rebounds a game, missed his second game with a bruised knee. ... Portland plays its next four games on the road.

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