for this game

Arenas celebrates birthday early to lead Wizards

Jan 6, 2007 - 4:45 AM WASHINGTON (Ticker) -- After being named the NBA's Eastern Conference Player of the Month for December earlier this week, Gilbert Arenas continued to celebrate in style.

Arenas scored 35 points and handed out a season-high 12 assists as the Washington Wizards posted a 116-105 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers.

Caron Butler scored 27 points and Antawn Jamison added 19 for Washington, which has won six straight home games and improved to 13-3 at the Verizon Center.

Arenas, who made 14-of-26 shots from the field, nailed a jumper as time expired in Wednesday's win over Milwaukee.

"Calvin Booth said it last game, we need two wins to make my birthday special," Arenas said. "So we got the two wins, now we're going to go party."

Against the Clippers, Arenas, who turns 25 years old on Saturday, scored 13 points in the first quarter and 16 in the second, when the Wizards turned a 10-point deficit into a 66-57 advantage at the break.

"We fell into a trap," Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy said. "The first quarter of the game, we were playing the game we wanted to play. We were getting the ball inside out, making good decisions and playing the right tempo for us, but then we got into a stretch where we got out of tempo and let them get into the open court."

"That was a great quarter for us, especially when they had 39 in the first period," Arenas added.

It was the 17th time Arenas scored at least 30 points this season. Washington is 16-1 in those contests.

"We ran into a guy (Arenas) that's got an extremely hot hand, and he made some tough shots," Dunleavy said.

"Guys like Arenas and Kobe Bryant, guys that can get off on a roll like that, especially from the perimeter, we have to make that a priority," Clippers guard Shaun Livingston added. "We can't just keep leaving one guy on an island."

Brendan Haywood added 13 points and 12 rebounds for the Wizards, who shot 52 percent (48-of-93) from the field.

"I started off on fire, then I had to get the team the ball because they were hitting shots tonight," Arenas said.

Washington also blocked 11 shots.

"We're doing a good job, as far as utilizing what we have out there on the court," Jamison said. "Gilbert's been doing a phenomenal job. Caron has been doing a great job. Brendan has been plugging in the middle for us on both ends of the floor."

Elton Brand had 29 points and 12 rebounds for Los Angeles, which had beaten Washington three straight times.

"We were trying to get the W but Arenas started getting hot, Brand said. "We started sending more guys at him, to try to slow him down. Then Caron Butler got hot and Jamison hit some big shots. That's what they do. They've got guys that are fast, versatile, the big three."

Livingston added 19 points and eight assists for the Clippers, who shot 44 percent (38-of-87).

The Clippers failed in their bid to win consecutive road games for the first time this season. They are a woeful 3-12 away from home.

"This is their third game on a road trip and we just wanted to keep them down," Arenas said. Once Sam Cassell comes back, they should be where they were last year."

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