Wednesday , Dec , 27 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

Big start helps Washington past Memphis

Washington, D.C. (Sports Network) – Gilbert Arenas poured in 31 points on
9-of-13 shooting as Washington waxed Memphis, 116-101, at the Verizon Center.

Antawn Jamison added 26 points and nine rebounds for the Wizards, who won
their third straight game and for the ninth time in 11 contests. Caron Butler
chipped in with 19 points, five rebounds, six assists and six steals for
Washington.

“It is very important to win the upcoming games because we are right up there
with the elite teams,” said Butler. “We consider ourselves an elite team and
we have to keep this thing going.”

Alexander Johnson recorded his first career double-double with 23 points and
10 boards for the Grizzlies, who lost their fourth straight and for the 10th
time in 11 games. Pau Gasol tallied 13 points, five rebounds and five assists,
while Chucky Atkins finished with 15 points.

“We are still trying to fins our identity,” said Johnson. “As soon as we find
our identity, I guess we’ll start taking off a roll.”

The Wizards blew this one open from the tip and outscored the hapless
Grizzlies 45-18 in the first quarter behind 18 points from Arenas. Washington
closed out the frame with 12 consecutive points, highlighted by a Jamison
driving dunk and six straights points by Arenas.

The Grizzlies recovered a bit in the second quarter but Arenas stuck a step-
back jumper with just 0.6 ticks left to give Washington a comfortable 77-51
edge at intermission.

The Wizards then coasted through the third quarter and took an insurmountable
99-71 advantage into the final frame.

Memphis played well during garbage time in the final stanza, however. Tarance
Kinsey’s driving layup, with 4:03 left, cut the deficit to just 12, 106-94.
But, the Grizzlies just didn’t have enough to recover from their early foibles
and Washington held on for the easy victory.

Game Notes

Memphis has the league’s worst record at 6-23 and are a woeful 2-15 on the
road…The Grizzlies have lost three of their last four trips to
Washington…The Wizards finished 10-of-18 from long range.

WAS MEM