Arenas scores 30 as Wizards snap eight-game home losing streakNov 15, 2007 - 4:57 AM By Tim Hipps PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer
WASHINGTON (Ticker) -- Gilbert Arenas is helping the Washington Wizards get back on track.
Arenas had 30 points and 11 assists to lead the Wizards to their first home victory of the season, a 103-90 victory over the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday night.
Caron Butler added 25 points and seven rebounds and Brendan Haywood notched his fifth double-double of the season with 16 points and 11 boards for Washington, which has won back-to-back games after losing its opening five contests of the campaign.
The victory prevented the Wizards from setting a dubious team mark for nine consecutive home losses. The last time Washington had lost eight straight at home was from December 15-January 13 during the 1994-95 season.
In a season-opening loss to the Pacers, Arenas scored 34 points and knocked down the buzzer-beating 3-pointer to send the game to overtime, but this contest was never close.
"I was coming to games cold turkey, wasn't even getting the ball up," Arenas said of his early-season struggle to recover from offseason knee surgery. "I'm just banking off my natural ability and I was struggling from the outside, especially from the 3-point line. My handles wasn't as crisp."
Arenas shot 9-of-18 from the field and 9-of-11 at the free-throw line.
"I wouldn't even know, based on the two times that I've seen him so far this year, that he's even had any problems with his knee," Pacers coach Jim O'Brien said. "He always looks like Gilbert Arenas to me, which is pretty darn good."
"He looked pretty good in the opener," Pacers forward Mike Dunleavy added. "All things considered with what we've heard out of here about his knee, it seems like he's coming around and turned the corner. He did look pretty good tonight."
While Indiana missed 11 of its first 14 field-goal attempts, Butler scored six straight points to give Washington an early 20-9 lead.
"Once we started to reverse the ball and move it in the second half, we did better," O'Brien said. "We competed to get it under 10, but they killed us with some long bombs. They're capable of doing that.
"Everybody in the world knows that Washington was not going to continue to miss outside shots. We just have to learn from the mistakes that we're making too many times now, but we'll get it done."
Butler had 14 points and Arenas added 10 as the Wizards led, 28-15, after the first quarter.
Haywood followed a slam with two free throws that gave Washington a 39-25 lead midway through the second quarter.
Arenas scored 10 of the Wizards' last 12 points of the first half for a 56-41 lead. Arenas had 20 points before the break and Butler added 17.
"You can feel the pain, you can feel the swell in there, but it hasn't been swelling up as much the past week, past week and a half," Arenas said of his knee. "It's been going down a little bit."
Arenas' 20-foot turnaround jumper gave the Wizards a 75-55 lead with 4:44 remaining in the third quarter.
The Pacers, who have lost five in a row since opening the season with three straight victories, had six players score in double figures.
"We have scorers. We have playmakers. We have low-post players. We have shooters. You go down the roster, and we're fully capable - it's just not clicking," Dunleavy said. "We're not working together to get good shots and get things going. Hopefully, that will change sometime soon because the season's well underway."
Marquis Daniels led Indiana with 19 points, Jermaine O'Neal added 17 and Jamaal Tinsley finished with 15.
"We don't have any rhythm right now offensively," said Dunleavy, who finished with 11 points and five rebounds. "The first three games, it just flowed and we played. Whatever has happened since then, I'm not sure.
"We've only really had one good half of basketball in those five losses. It's really hard to pinpoint, but offensively it's just not happening."
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