Wizards win 109-93 over 76ers

April 12, 2008 7:33:09 PM PDT
Gilbert Arenas finally looked like Agent Zero again, just in time for the Washington Wizards to put the Philadelphia 76ers out of reach. After another passive performance typical of his play since returning from a knee injury, Arenas took over the game by scoring 12 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter Saturday night in a 109-93 victory over the 76ers.

The victory means the Wizards can finish no worse than sixth in the Eastern Conference, and that they can't be caught by the 76ers. Washington leads Philadelphia by two games with two to play and owns the tiebreaker due to a better conference record.

Washington outscored Philadelphia 31-9 in the fourth quarter.

Arenas was a quiet contributor off the bench in his first four games after missing 66 with a knee injury, making only 16 of 41 field goal attempts and not playing more than 24 minutes. He was a sub again Saturday, but he played 25 minutes, going 7-of-14 with seven rebounds and five assists. After the final whistle, he tossed his jersey in the crowd - just like the old days.

Antawn Jamison added 25 points and 13 rebounds for the Wizards, who have won four of five. Washington bounced back well from a 102-74 loss at Detroit on Friday night.

Andre Iguodala had 22 points, seven assists and six rebounds to lead the 76ers, who have lost three of four. Philadelphia had a 28-6 advantage in fast-break points but was outrebounded 48-36.

Arenas was barely noticeable in his sporadic moments on the floor until the teams took to the court for the fourth quarter with the Wizards trailing 84-78. Arenas hit a 3-pointer on his team's first possession, then followed with a pair of long 2-pointers to complete his own personal 7-0 run and give Washington an 85-84 lead.

A couple of minutes later, Arenas made a behind-the-back move on Andre Miller for a layup. Then came a nice drive-and-dish to Andray Blatche and another feed to Jamison, both part of a 10-0 run that made the score 101-91 with 4½ minutes left.

Arenas hasn't spoken to the media since returning, but he finally expressed some of his feelings in his blog on Friday.

"I'm just trying to keep a level head and not worry about anything," he wrote. "I'm just focusing on playing and doing whatever I can to make the team better. I know most players, when they come back, especially when they're the franchise player on the team, they can interrupt what's going on. Instead of coming in and trying to fulfill what I used to do right away, I just wanted to come in as a role player and add to what the team was already doing."

The 76ers had a torrid start that included a 15-0 run in the first quarter. Philadelphia had five dunks in the period and shot 62 percent.

But the 76ers' advantage was negated by 11 first-half turnovers, and the Wizards rallied to take a 57-53 lead at halftime.

Notes: Washington All-Star F Caron Butler missed the game with a bruised right knee. The Wizards are 9-13 without him this season. ... Iguodala started despite bruising his left leg in Friday night's loss to Indiana. ... The teams split the season series 2-2.