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Arenas guides Wizards to fifth straight win

Dec 30, 2006 - 7:12 AM WASHINGTON (Ticker) -- Gilbert Arenas turned the fourth quarter into his personal playground.

Arenas scored 14 of his 36 points in the decisive quarter as the Washington Wizards posted a 112-111 victory over the struggling Orlando Magic, who dropped their fourth straight game.

It marked the 12th time this month Arenas has reached the 30-point plateau. A two-time All-Star, he entered Friday's matchup averaging 35 points per game in December.

Arenas made 11-of-26 shots, grabbed a season-high nine rebounds and handed out seven assists.

"There were spurts where Gilbert pushed it early and there was that one moment in the fourth quarter where he took over the game, and we followed behind him," Wizards coach Eddie Jordan said.

"They've got a little (Larry) Bird down there named Gilbert who's not too bad," Magic guard Keyon Dooling said. "He's one of those guys who's special. He'll go down in history as being one of the greatest. He showed his greatness in the second half. He just turned it on, and it's almost impossible to guard him."

The triumph gave Washington its first five-game winning streak since February 4-12.

"We are playing great basketball right now," Arenas said. "That's the rewarding part for us. We are playing great in the month of December. We've been playing together and we feel good about ourselves."

With the game tied at 108-108 with 44 seconds remaining, Caron Butler drained a baseline jumper and Antawn Jamison made two free throws to give the Wizards a four-point bulge.

"We did a great job as far as staying clam and poised and not letting it get out of hand," Jamison said. "We were fortunate to get the stops we needed down the stretch. Those are the things we need to do to be successful."

However, Dooling hit a 3-pointer with three seconds left to pull the Magic within 112-111. Orlando had a chance to win after Butler missed a pair of foul shots, but Dooling misfired from the right wing as time expired.

"I didn't see the basket very well," said Dooling, who scored 20 points. "That's always a shot that you want to take. You always want to take that shot, but it wasn't what the play was designed for. I just tried to make a play out of nothing."

Dooling rebounded well after going scoreless in 20 minutes of play during Wednesday's loss to the Los Angeles Lakers.

Jamison had 25 points and 11 rebounds and Butler scored 20 for Washington, which shot 54 percent (38-of-78) from the floor.

Dwight Howard had 20 points and 12 rebounds and Jameer Nelson added 20 points for the Magic, who shot 51 percent (42-of-81) and held a 48-38 advantage in points in the paint.

"We made them take tough shots," said Howard, who notched his 22nd double-double of the season. "They just came up with some big shots at the end."

Orlando took an 86-85 lead with 11:11 remaining in the fourth thanks to an impressive 10-0 surge that was capped by Howard's follow-up jam.

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    ORLANDO 111

    Dec 29 9:41 PM
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    ORLANDO 82

    Dec 29 8:56 PM

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    ORLANDO 63

    Dec 29 8:12 PM

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    ORLANDO 31

    Dec 29 7:37 PM