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Arenas' 36-point outburst carries Wizards past Pistons

Jan 31, 2007 - 4:42 AM WASHINGTON (Ticker) -- All-Star Gilbert Arenas and the Washington Wizards continue to roll at home when conference opponents come calling.

Arenas collected 36 points and 11 assists to lead three players in double figures as the Wizards posted a 104-99 victory over the Detroit Pistons.

DeShawn Stevenson scored 15 points and Caron Butler chipped in 13 and five steals for Washington, which improved to 13-2 against the Eastern Conference at the Verizon Center.

"We are just playing with a lot of confidence right now," Wizards coach Eddie Jordan said. "It is very early and there are a lot of games to be played."

The triumph also helped the Wizards (27-17) push their lead for the best record in the Eastern Conference to 1 1/2 games over the Pistons (25-18).

"It's a great honor from the way we started the season to going on the type of run that we're on now as we approach the All-Star break," Washington swingman Jarvis Hayes said. "This is great."

The Wizards wasted little time creating a lead in the opening quarter, outscoring Detroit, 30-18, behind 60 percent (14-of-23) shooting. Stevenson netted eight points in the period.

"We got some big stops early and made shots," Stevenson said. "We got our lead and kept fighting and pushing and kept our lead."

"We're better than that," Detroit guard Richard Hamilton said. "We know that they are a great first-quarter team. We expect them to come out and try to hit first, but we just didn't get it done."

With a 12-point lead in hand, Arenas drained a 3-pointer from the top of the key in a 7-0 run as the Wizards pushed their advantage to 44-25 with 6:45 remaining in the second quarter.

In the fourth period, Detroit made a late charge to cut the deficit to 80-73 with nine minutes to play. But the Wizards answered with an 11-4 burst led by Arenas' seven points.

"We just played hard," Arenas said. "We hit shots and we had a big lead and we just managed it. We didn't try anything outrageous. They were playing with their heels back so they had to make all the gambling mistakes. We just capitalized on everything."

It was Arenas' 27th 30-point performance of the season. He connected on 10-of-20 shots, including 5-of-12 from the arc.

Washington lost forward Antawn Jamison to a sprained left knee after running into Stevenson with 6:29 left in the first period. He entered averaging 19.7 points and 8.1 rebounds this season.

"We don't know exactly what is wrong yet," Jordan said. "He has been sore and he will not travel to Toronto. He is going to stay and get an MRI on Thursday and we will take it from there."

Chauncey Billups had 24 points and eight assists and Tayshaun Prince scored 19 for the Pistons, who shot 52 percent (38-of-73) but still lost their second straight meeting with the Wizards.

"We let one slip away," Billups said. "They had us down 10 early, so we had an uphill battle the whole game. We just have to come out better (Friday)."

Last Friday, Detroit dropped a 99-96 decision at the Palace of Auburn Hills vs. Washington.

"It's frustrating to lose these games, but that is a good team over there," Billups said. "I get a lot more frustrated when we come out and play teams that really should not beat us."

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