for this game

Without Arenas, Jamison powers Wizards over Blazers

Nov 18, 2007 - 6:08 AM By Tim Hipps PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

WASHINGTON (Ticker) -- Gilbert Arenas was ruled out just before the start of the game. However, it was the Portland Trail Blazers who looked like they were missing their star.

Antawn Jamison had a season-high 30 points and grabbed 11 rebounds as the Washington Wizards coasted to a 109-90 victory over the Trail Blazers on Saturday night.

Arenas, a three-time All-Star who underwent left knee surgery during the offseason, missed the game because of soreness and swelling in his left knee. He is averaging 22.4 points, 5.9 assists and 4.4 rebounds this season - none of which seemed needed against Portland in this one.

"There's nothing good about losing Gilbert," Wizards coach Eddie Jordan said. "We want him healthy. I feel for him because he hates to miss competition. We always felt that back-to-backs early in the season were going to be a little tough for him.

"When we had shootaround, Gilbert walked through all the plays. I didn't know anything about his knee being a little bit more sore than normal. Right before our pre-game meeting, Gilbert and our trainer came in and said it was a little bit too sore."

Five Washington players had their highest-scoring game of the season before 20,173 at Verizon Center, the Wizards' third sellout crowd of the season. The Wizards' reserves provided a season-high 39 points.

After Blazers forward Channing Frye scored the first basket of the game, Jamison hit a 3-pointer to spark an 11-0 run for the Wizards. Portland stormed back with seven straight points to narrow the deficit to 11-9 but would never regain the lead.

Jamison's standout performance keyed the Wizards, who won their fourth in a row and snapped a three-game losing streak against the Blazers. Jamison shot 11-of-23 from the field, including a season-high four 3-pointers.

"Guys were extra focused," Jamison said. "To miss what Gilbert does on a night-to-night basis was a big blow. We have been in this situation before. We knew the guys that were playing were going to have to step up and take it to another level. We knew we would need some contribution off the bench."

The victory marked the first time the Washington has won four in a row since January 15-20.

Brendan Haywood notched his sixth double-double of the season - after recording just seven all of last campaign - with a season-high 17 points and 10 rebounds.

"It says that we're a team," Haywood said. "We're not just a three-man act. The 'Big Three' get a lot of attention, but we have a lot of guys who can play and they showed that tonight.

"Andray Blatche was huge. Nick Young did a fantastic job. To me, he was our team MVP with (a career-high 17 points) off the bench. Roger Mason hit a lot of shots early for us to get going. Everybody stepped up and had a hand in this one."

Young admitted that he knew he had this big performance in him.

"If I don't have confidence in myself, nobody will," Young said. "I went out there with a lot of confidence. I had everybody telling me 'get focused.' Everybody just supported me out there. Coach said opportunity was knocking.

"And (Gilbert) said, 'Just go out there and play my game.' When he was a rookie, and he had his chance to go in, he played his game."

Antonio Daniels, who started in place of Arenas, had his first double-double of the season with 10 points and 10 assists.

LaMarcus Aldridge had 18 points and 11 boards and reserve guard Jarrett Jack added 18 points for the Blazers, who have lost their first six road contests.

Trail Blazers coach Nate McMillan questioned whether his team can run the up-tempo offense he has implemented on a nightly basis.

"We just look like we have heavy legs," McMillan said. "For me, just thinking about this and looking at us, can we play at this pace? Can we play this style that we're trying to play - up and down and that scrappy defense? Because right now we just look like a team that's running in quicksand."

Jack thinks it's simply going to take time to adjust to the new system.

"The system is still fairly new to us," Jack said. "We're still working the kinks out. We had six or seven preseason games to try to do it, but trying to adapt to a whole new offense for 15 new faces is going to be a task in itself. I think we can do it with some more hard work in practice.

"We have to do a better job, if that's the way we're going to play, of establishing the tempo early and then trying to sustain it for all four quarters."

Aldridge admitted that the pace is taking its toll.

"I don't think you realize how hard it is to play this up-tempo every night," Aldridge said. "To do it back-to-back, it takes time for your body to get used to running every night. He said he might have to go back to just doing it on certain nights or at home games because guys got tired tonight."

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