WASHINGTON (AP) -- The MVP chants are growing louder in Washington.
Arenas left the court to a chorus of "M-V-P! M-V-P!"
"MVP? That trophy is given out at the end of the year," Arenas
said. "This is (37) games into the season so you can't do too much
"Right now, Steve Nash is above everybody. You have to really
do something dramatic in this league. If Kobe averages 35 with an
81 and he didn't get it, you have to do something else in this
league to overtake what Steve Nash has done."
Arena matched the Verizon Center record of 51 points set by
Michael Jordan against the Charlotte Hornets on Dec. 29, 2001.
Arenas provided plenty of drama in the final 2:09 of a Dr.
Martin Luther King Jr. Day matinee by converting three 3-pointers
and three free throws to eclipse the 50-point mark for the third
time this season. He shot 14-for-29 from the field, including
7-for-12 on 3-pointers, and 16-for-17 at the free-throw line. He
also had five assists and committed only one turnover in 41
"I'm going for the gusto," Arenas said. "I'm going for that
winner. The funny part is I was sitting right here before the game
and I told DeShawn [Stevenson]: 'I feel like 37 and the game-winner
tonight.' So when I told him after the game: 'What did I say?' He
just started laughing and said: 'Man, you were right.'"
It was the seventh time this season Arenas scored 40 or more
points and the most points he's ever tallied at the Verizon Center.
"I'm going to break all the records that's here," Arenas said
with a laugh of his own. "I'm glad it was an older Michael than a
younger Michael because if it was a younger Michael it would have
been up there."
Arenas took the ensuing inbounds pass and ran the clock down
until he launched the game-winner over Deron Williams.
"I felt like I was in a win-win situation, go to OT or make the
shot," Arenas said. "I was on fire the last three minutes of the
game so there was no point of going in and trying to create two
points. Once I felt the ball come out of my hands, I knew it was
going in. It had great arc and it was lined up with the rim, so I
started celebrating pre-make. I put my hands up because I knew the
game was over."
Williams said he knew what was coming but could do nothing to
"I looked up with four seconds and he was still messing with
the ball, so I tried to get up on him a little more," Williams
said. "He made a little move, a little step, I backed up a little
bit and that is when he raised up. I tried to get a hand up.
"Everybody in the arena knew he was going to shoot it. We knew
he was going to shoot it. He just made a great shot."
Caron Butler had 21 points and seven rebounds for the Wizards,
who won their eighth straight at home and improved to 15-3 at the
Verizon Center. Brendan Haywood added his fifth double-double of
the season with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Mehmet Okur led Utah with a career-high 38 points and nine
rebounds. Boozer added 27 points and 13 rebounds, giving him five
double-doubles in the past six games. Williams added 12 points and
13 assists for his 10th double-double of the season.
After Arenas' 3-pointer tied the score at 1:06 with 1:40 left,
Okur's 3-pointer gave Utah a 109-106 lead. Arenas responded with
three free throws to tie the score with 1:09 remaining.
"They were going shot for shot," Williams said of Arenas and
Okur. "He was coming down hitting threes and Memo was coming down
and bailing us out."
Jarvis Hayes' follow shot gave Washington a 111-109 lead with 24
seconds left, but Boozer's follow tied it at 111, setting the stage
for Arenas, who handed the Jazz their fourth straight loss.
The Jazz led by 16 points in the first half, outscored the
Wizards 30-18 in the paint during the first half and led 58-48 at
Arenas scored less than 20 points for only the fifth time this
season during the Wizards' 93-80 loss in San Antonio on Saturday
night. In the games following those subpar performances, Arenas is
averaging 35.5 points.
Jazz forward Andrei Kirilenko did not have a shot or a
rebound in the first half. His first points came on a pair of free
throws with 8:08 remaining in the third quarter. He finished with
four points and three rebounds. ...
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