WASHINGTON (AP) -- Gilbert Arenas turned his conflicting All-Star
emotions into another big game. Brendan Haywood won a battle of
temperaments that got Zydrunas Ilgauskas ejected in the fourth
quarter. Antawn Jamison found his stroke at a vital stretch in the
Oh yeah, and LeBron James had an off night.
There wasn't much to get in the way of a fourth straight
Washington Wizards victory Friday night. Arenas, feeling both hurt
and elation after a crazy 48 hours, converted his emotions into 32
points, 10 assists, eight rebounds and even a career-high three
blocks in a 101-89 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers.
On the way to the arena, Arenas got a message on his cell phone
letting him know that he was chosen by NBA commissioner David Stern
to replace injured Indiana forward Jermaine O'Neal for next
weekend's All-Star game. Arenas, fourth in the league in scoring at
28.3 points per game, felt he should have been selected with the
regular reserves on Thursday and said before the game that he still
had "things to prove."
Then he stepped on the court and had his 23rd 30-point game of
"Emotions and excitement," Arenas said. "But I still had to
get the job done. It was a very important game for us, and our
coaches were probably worried 'How's he going to react?' But as a
team we got the job done."
The Wizards made the most of Arenas' good news. The cheerleaders
wore T-shirts to commemorate his back-to-back All-Star selections,
and they paraded an Arenas banner onto the court during a
first-half timeout. Some fans chanted "All-Star" when Arenas left
the game with 1:23 to play.
"Yesterday he was down a little bit, was just straightforward
and didn't call anybody," Jamison said. "And he came in here
(tonight) jumping around a little bit, definitely happy. You can
sense the difference between his demeanor."
But Arenas could haven't done it without Jamison, who scored 28
points and had a huge nine-point surge in the fourth quarter.
Jamison twice answered Cleveland 3-pointers with a 3-pointer of his
own, then was fouled attempting a 3 on the Wizards' next possession
and made all three free throws, giving Washington an 89-80 lead
with 6:16 to play.
Meanwhile, Haywood added 14 points and 10 rebounds and got under
the skin of Ilgauskas. Haywood and Ilgauskas were given double
technicals with 9:04 to play after a push-and-shove battle under
the basket, then Haywood was called for a foul on Ilgauskas seconds
later at the other end of the court. After a timeout, Ilgauskas
bowled over Haywood trying to back toward the basket, complained
about the foul and was given a second technical and automatic
"I might have got in his head a little bit," Haywood said. "I
don't know what he was thinking about, going after the referee like
that. That seems a little foolish."
Said Ilgauskas: "My emotions got the better of me. But this is
a game, everybody gets excited and sometimes that's going to
happen. It's not the first time I've gotten kicked out and probably
not the last."
James scored 18 points on 6-for-23 shooting, although he also
had nine rebounds and eight assists. He was more of a creator than
a scorer for much of the game, and he lost a huge part of his
supporting cast when Ilgauskas was tossed.
"Z is a guy that can change a game. What he does do is a 1-2
punch with LeBron out there," Cleveland coach Mike Brown said.
"And when LeBron isn't rolling, we'll go to Z. It was tough when
he got kicked out."
Arenas hit a 3-pointer to get the lead to double digits with 3
minutes remaining, giving the Wizards command of a game that had
been competitive and fast-paced from the opening whistle.
Washington has won six straight at home and 12 of 16 overall.
"We're definitely playing well, we're clicking," Haywood said.
"Guys are understanding the offense. They know where they're
supposed to be. They're making the extra pass, we're making the
rotations on defense, and those are things we weren't doing
The Wizards have won nine in a row at home against Eastern
Conference opponents. ... The Wizards were expecting to welcome
back Larry Hughes, a key contributor in last year's playoff run,
but Hughes is out with a broken finger. Hughes became a free agent
last spring and signed a five-year, $60 million contract with
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