Arenas leads Wizards over Kings
Washington, DC (Sports Network) – Gilbert Arenas scored 43 points and
Washington overcame a monumental collapse in the fourth quarter and a waived-
off jumper at the buzzer by Sacramento’s John Salmons to post a 109-106 win at
the Verizon Center.
In what proved to be a crazy ending, the Wizards blew a 17-point final quarter
lead and nearly gave the game away, but managed to pull out their third
Arenas hit two foul shots with 9.5 seconds left to extend the Wizards to a
107-103 lead, but Salmons nailed a three from the left corner with 1.4 seconds
The Kings then fouled Jarvis Hayes before the ball was inbounded, and Hayes
made the free throw, with Washington retaining possession. Arenas was fouled
with 0.7 seconds left, and until that point had made all 15 of his free
throws. However, Arenas missed the first try before conferring with coach
Eddie Jordan what to do with the second attempt.
Arenas made the second try, but Brad Miller’s long inbounds pass sailed over
Arenas’ head and into the hands of Salmons, who stepped back behind the three-
point line and made the shot. Officials first ruled it a two-point basket,
but then determined Salmons was behind the line, but it didn’t matter since
replays showed he didn’t release the ball before the red light showed up
around the backboard, signaling the end of the game.
Arenas also had seven rebounds, seven assists and nine turnovers, but shot 12-
of-22 from the field.
“I was trying to figure out if I should miss the free throw or not,” Arenas
said. “Coach said to make it so that if they do make a three it would just tie
the game up. If I make that free throw, at the very worst we’re going to
overtime at home. If I miss it, anything can happen, we could have lost right
there. We feel like even if we had gone to overtime, we would have pulled out
Caron Butler ended with 25 points and DeShawn Stevenson had 21 for the
Wizards, who swept the season series from Kings for the second straight year.
Ron Artest scored 32 and Mike Bibby had 30 for the Kings, who lost for the
fourth time in five games. Miller had 13 rebounds.
“It’s tough to fall back like that, come back and then lose on a controversial
call,” Salmons said.
Two free throws from Butler extended Washington’s lead 95-78 with 8:10
remaining, but the Kings responded with a 21-3 run, taking the lead on a
Miller layup with 3:02 left.
The back-and-forth action continued to the end. Bibby nailed a three for a
103-102 Kings lead, but missed another long distance shot. Arenas then hit two
free throws and Butler one for a 105-103 margin.
Washington led 33-29 after one quarter and 57-49 at the half. Stevenson’s slam
at the end of the third moved the Wizards to an 85-73 cushion.
“We made a lot of crazy passes, but we have to be the veteran team that we are
and finish the ball game off,” Stevenson said. “They forced turnovers, got a
couple and-one plays, and Bibby made some big threes at the end. They made
some big plays, but we fought back. Gilbert made some big plays going to the
Washington outrebounded the Kings, 42-35…Sacramento committed 24 turnovers,
one more than the Wizards…Sacramento has lost seven of its last nine road
games and this marked the start of a four-game swing.