Indiana at Washington

Arenas sets tone early, helps Wizards capitalize vs. struggling Pacers

CBSSports.com wire reports
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WASHINGTON -- Coming off knee surgery, Gilbert Arenas is learning how to balance getting rest with avoiding rust.

He certainly had things figured out Wednesday night.

Arenas showed more spring in his step and more accuracy with his shot, finishing with 30 points, 11 assists and six rebounds to lead the Washington Wizards to a 103-90 victory over the Indiana Pacers.

The All-Star guard has been taking it easy on days off and before games. But he decided he needed to get a feel for the basketball, so he went to the gym to shoot Tuesday night, then hoisted up 100 3-pointers before tipoff Wednesday.

"I was coming to games cold turkey, wasn't even getting the ball up, just banking off my natural ability, and I was struggling," Arenas said. "My handle wasn't as crisp."

Wait a second. So you haven't been warming up before games this season? What have you been doing?

"Chillin'. Resting. Resting the knee," Arenas said. "They told me to stay off the knee, so I stayed off of it."

Caron Butler scored 25 points, and Brendan Haywood had 16 points and 11 rebounds for the Wizards, while reserve Marquis Daniels led the Pacers with 19 points. The teams are heading in opposite directions, with the Wizards going 2-0 after an 0-5 start, and the Pacers going 0-5 after a 3-0 start.

"We've got to make some adjustments," said Indiana's Jermaine O'Neal, who had 17 points and nine rebounds. "We're a little concerned right now, but we don't feel like the year is over."

Arenas entered Wednesday shooting only 35.6 percent. But he was at 50 percent against Indiana, going 9-for-18.

He also directed things well, getting his teammates involved in the flow of the offense. That, of course, is what thrilled coach Eddie Jordan.

"He's grown," Jordan said. "He's matured."

In the last two minutes of the first half, Arenas made a 3-pointer, blocked Jeff Granger's 3-point attempt at the other end, made another 3, then drove hard to the basket and drew a foul with 0.9 seconds left. Those free throws put Washington ahead 56-41 at halftime.

Another key sequence came after Daniels' 3-pointer drew Indiana to 93-84 with a little more than 4 minutes left in the game. Arenas immediately fed Darius Songaila for a jumper, then a couple of possessions later, drove and drew a foul, then shortly thereafter hit a 3.

"He seemed more calm and more patient than the first couple of games during the season," Wizards captain Antawn Jamison said. "We all knew it was going to take some time for him to get it going and to get comfortable, and now you're starting to see signs of that."

The Wizards ended a 10-game home losing streak that dated to last season and included two defeats while getting swept out of the first round of the playoffs. The eight regular-season home losses in a row tied a franchise record set in 1994-95.

Washington was booed during its previous home game, a 26-point loss to the Denver Nuggets on Saturday that dropped the Wizards to 0-5 for the first time since 1966 -- back when they were known as the Baltimore Bullets.

The next day, though, the Wizards won at Atlanta for their first victory of the season, with all five starters scoring in double figures. And now Washington has its first winning streak.

Indiana beat Washington in overtime in both teams' season opener Oct. 31, but this one was pretty lopsided from the outset. The Pacers began the game by shooting 3-for-14, and they finished at 39 percent.

"We don't have any rhythm right now offensively," Mike Dunleavy said. "The first three games it just flowed and we played. Whatever's happened since then, I'm not sure."

The Wizards, meanwhile, made a season-high 47 percent of their shots, with Arenas leading the way.

"I wouldn't even know, based on the two times that I've seen him so far this year, that he's even had any problems with his knee," Pacers coach Jim O'Brien said. "He always looks like Gilbert Arenas to me, which is pretty darn good."

Notes

  • The Pacers were without starting forward Troy Murphy, who had a sore left Achilles'.
  • Jordan experimented with some lineup changes, including using small forward Butler at shooting guard. "You're forcing a team to adjust to us," Butler said, "because otherwise they're going to have a little man on me in the post."
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
 
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Gilbert Arenas scores 20 of his 30 points in the first half for the Wiz, who are 2-0 after an 0-5 start.  (AP)
Gilbert Arenas scores 20 of his 30 points in the first half for the Wiz, who are 2-0 after an 0-5 start. (AP)

Scoreboard
Indiana (3-5) 1526252490
Washington (2-5) «28282720103
IND:M. Daniels 19 Pts
IND:J. Foster 14 Reb
IND:D. Granger 4 Ast
WAS:G. Arenas 30 Pts
WAS:B. Haywood 11 Reb
WAS:G. Arenas 11 Ast
Players of the Game
WashingtonIndiana

G. Arenas

M. Daniels
PtsRebsAstPtsRebsAst
306111921
Indiana
J. O'Neal, PF397-193-492417
D. Granger, SF374-132-244511
J. Foster, C332-50-014134
M. Dunleavy, SG303-74-553311
J. Tinsley, PG235-123-313315
M. Daniels, SG328-131-121219
S. Williams, SF243-103-431310
K. Rush, SG90-30-00310
T. Diener, PG91-20-00003
D. Harrison, C50-00-00020
T. Murphy, CDid Not Play
I. Diogu, PFDid Not Play
S. Graham, SFDid Not Play
A. Owens, SGDid Not Play
C. Sims, CDid Not Play
Totals 33-8416-1938182690
 39.3%84.2% 
Washington
C. Butler, SF409-157-773125
A. Jamison, PF393-110-05017
G. Arenas, PG369-189-11611330
B. Haywood, C365-106-8113216
D. Stevenson, SG241-30-05323
D. Songaila, PF225-92-201112
A. Daniels, PG201-32-21104
A. Blatche, SF203-40-05156
R. Mason, SG40-10-00020
E. Thomas, CDid Not Play
O. Pecherov, CDid Not Play
D. McGuire, PFDid Not Play
N. Young, SGDid Not Play
Totals 36-7426-30402317103
 48.6%86.7% 
Other Games
Char 109 Final
Atl 117
Orl 117 Final
Cle 116
Utah 92 Final
Tor 88
NJ 69 Final
Bos 91
Sea 104 Final
Mia 95
Phi 76 Final
NO 95
Mem 99 Final
Mil 102
Sac 103 Final
Min 108
Port 93 Final
Den 110
LAL 93 Final
Hou 90
Det 111 Final
GS 104
NY 81 Final
LAC 84