for this game

Arenas' buzzer-beater caps 51-point outburst

Jan 15, 2007 - 11:51 PM WASHINGTON (Ticker) -- Gilbert Arenas does it all for the Washington Wizards. But he doesn't do overtime.

Arenas scored 51 points and drained a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give the Wizards their eighth straight home win, a 114-111 victory over the Utah Jazz.

"I was talking to DeShawn (teammate DeShawn Stevenson) and he said (Utah's) Derek Fisher is sticking you, he's there for the defense," Arenas said. "I was like, tonight is going to be 37 (points) and the game-winner. I was off (on the points), but the game-winner was correct."

In the final 2:05, Arenas scored 12 points, making three 3-pointers and three free throws after being fouled on a 3-pointer. It was his third career 50-point game, all in the last month.

"He doesn't do overtime," teammate Jarvis Hayes said. "That's what he said (in the final huddle), he doesn't do overtime."

A seesaw fourth quarter saw the Wizards lead by as many as seven points and the Jazz by five, the last time at 96-91 on a three-point play by Carlos Boozer with 5:50 to go.

A 3-pointer by Mehmet Okur, who scored a career-high 38 points, gave Utah a 104-100 advantage before Arenas took over. He drained 3-pointers on consecutive possessions to pull Washington into a 106-106 tie, then answered another 3-pointer by Okur with three foul shots to tie it again with 1:09 to go.

"Okur was hitting shots and I had the hot hand and I wanted to take that challenge of going back and forth with him," Arenas said.

"He has tremendous quickness plus having great range on his shot," Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said. "He has a little bit of everything you want in a player, plus he has the ability to make it when it's on the line. That's what makes him a great player."

On the next possession, Arenas missed a difficult scoop shot that was put home by defensive substitution Hayes for a 111-109 lead with 25 seconds left. The Jazz tied it when Boozer grabbed Derek Fisher's airball and put it in with 11 seconds to play.

On the final possession, Arenas dribbled against Deron Williams as the clock wound down. He took two hard steps to back up Williams, then calmly fired in a 3-pointer as the buzzer sounded.

"I knew that was going in," Arenas said. "I was on fire at the end, the last three minutes of the game. There was no point of going in and trying to create a two when I'm feeling it from the outside."

"I looked up with four seconds and he was still messing with the ball so I tried to get up on him a little more," Williams said. "He made a little move, a little step. I backed up a little bit and that is when he raised up. I tried to get a hand up."

Arenas made 14-of-29 shots - including 7-of-12 3-pointers - and 16-of-17 free throws. He scored a career-high 60 points at the Los Angeles Lakers on December 17 and 54 at Phoenix on December 22 - ironically both overtimes games.

Down the stretch, Arenas heard chants of "MVP" from the crowd at the Verizon Center.

"It feels great because it energizes that player and it energizes the team and the crowd," he said.

Caron Butler scored 21 points and Brendan Haywood added 10 and 10 rebounds for the Wizards, who shot 45 percent (34-of-75) and made 37-of-40 free throws.

Boozer had 27 points and 13 boards and Williams 12 and 13 assists for the Jazz (24-14), who began a four-game road trip with their season-high fourth straight loss. They are allowing nearly 116 points per game during the slide.

Utah wasted a huge performance by Okur, who made 13-of-22 shots - including 4-of-8 from the arc - and pulled down nine rebounds.

"I felt good out there," Okur said. "After the Miami game, I just came out there and tried to play more active, inside out, outside in, tried to get rebounds and get to the free-throw line."

The Wizards went cold in the second quarter, and the Jazz pounced, opening a 58-48 halftime lead. Washington put together an 11-0 burst early in the third period to close to 60-59.

A three-point play by Etan Thomas gave the Wizards an 88-81 lead with 10:14 to play. Okur made a jumper and 3-pointer to trigger a 15-3 run that gave the Jazz the lead and set up the frenetic finish.

"In the second half, I don't know what happened," Okur said. "We came out there soft especially in the third quarter, we didn't play good defense."

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