Arenas -- who jumpstarted tonight with 13 first quarter points and finished with 18 and nine assists -- was injured just before that game-changing run when he drove the lane and collided with two Bucks players and was called for a charge although he went crashing to the court. He suffered a bruised left thigh on the play. "I got kneed by two big men. I just ran into knees. I thought, 'This hurts way more htan it should.' I was a little tired anyways, so I figured I would just sit. Since I was sitting, they went on a run and there was no point in me going back in. Tonight was a great night for Earl. This was the second night in a row that the team won the game. Earl came in tonight and finished where I left off earlier in the game. That's what we needed." During the collision, Arenas suffered a bruised left thigh and when he tumbled to the floor, he knocked out his left front tooth. Arenas said his Christmas Eve will be spent seeing a dentist, and also celebrating his daughter's birthday.
"If anybody knows how to deal with injuries and adversity, we do. We saw one of our keys go down and we turned it up a notch," said Butler, the Wisconsin native who led the Wizards with 25 points and 10 rebounds and ignited the game-changing 9-0 fourth-quarter run with a baseline jumper immediately after Arenas went down. "We stepped up and made the way. Everybody." Jamison had 23 points and 10 rebounds and Boykins had 12 of his 15 in the final period -- with nine coming after Arenas was forced to sit with 7 minutes 12 seconds remaining -- as the Wizards won consecutive games for just the third time this season. The Wizards (10-17) also snapped a three-game losing streak at Bradley Center.
While Michael Redd had his way with the Wizards, Brandon Jennings and Andrew Bogut were almost non-factors. Both players were in foul trouble throughout the second half and spent time on the bench. Washington was fortunate in keeping Jennings to just seven points, the lowest he has scored in his young career. Jennings played just 16 minutes and finished with only two assists, another career-low. Andrew Bogut battled the entire game with center Brendan Haywood. As a result both players each had five personal fouls. The former number one pick did have nine rebounds but finished with only 12 points in 29 minutes. In two games vs. the Bucks this year Brendan Haywood has defended Bogut well, he is averaging just 10 points and 8 rebounds per game against the Wizards this season.
More than Boykins’ points, he seemed to settle the Wizards down after they were rattled by a stretch of four turnovers in a span of 2:39 early in the fourth quarter. It was during this time the Bucks grabbed their first lead sine 2-0 when they pulled ahead at 86-84. It would be the Bucks last lead. "You have to learn how to close games out in this league," said Boykins who is now in his 11th season. "I understand how to close games out. We did get erratic in the fourth quarter. I was telling the guys, just because it is the fourth quarter we have to relax and concentrate"
And therein lies the rub. The Wizards were visionary enough to go get him, but with their struggles, can ill afford to be free of him. Size be damned; Boykins has already proven himself a valuable commodity through 10 years and almost as many teams in that time. No one will doubt his ability to play. But they can ill afford their $111 million dollar man not taking the shots or creating them for the other players upon which the franchise’s marketing and league-wide appeal are built. Can you imagine the TNT plug for the next Wizards-Cavs nationally televised game? "Watch Gilbert Arenas and Earl Boykins take on LeBron James and Shaquille O’Neal in a battle of bitter Eastern Conference rivals."
Caron Butler finally had a happy homecoming. After experiencing either serious injury or losses in trips to his home state of Wisconsin since 2007, Butler on Wednesday night left Bradley Center with both a victory and his health.
Antawn Jamison rebounded from a rough night against Philadelphia on Tuesday to lead the Wizards in scoring with 25 on the night. Jamison shot 7-12 from the field, and 10-11 from the line. Jamison also grabbed 10 rebounds on the night and had a plus/minus of +20.
Jamison was pleased with how the Wizards have responded since returning from the West Coast and explained what happened the night before against Philadelphia, when he was visibly frustrated when Saunders benched the starters in the third quarter. "As long as I win it doesn't matter," Jamison said. "I think last night was a case of the ball not coming my way, and you're going to have times where you don't see the ball. Tonight I had to work for it, and I was able to get some free throws down. But Gil got it going early, Caron got it going middle of the game and myself and Earl were able to finish it off at the end. There are going to be times when you struggle, but the thing about it is your teammates have to carry the load and when you do struggle you've got to bring something else to the table. But it was nice to get things going a little bit."
1. The Wizards nearly missed becoming just the second team to be held without an offensive rebound, as Brendan Haywood grabbed their first offensive board with just two minutes remaining. `The Bucks fared much better with 14, but the fact that MIlwaukee had only a 40-39 total rebound edge says a lot about the teams' relative shooting percentages.
Washington was going right at Jennings all night, whoever he was guarding took over point guard duties if they had in both Foye and Arenas. And in the fourth quarter, Boykins went to work showing Jennings how a little man can get off shots in the paint. Jennings shining moment was brief and swift when he blocked one of Boykins shots with ferocity (though he appears to have been incorrectly credited with a steal for the play). While it wasn’t just Jennings that struggled on a night the Bucks allowed the Wizards to shoot over 50 percent, he certainly did not help matters. The Wizards "attack Jennings" game plan also left Jennings battling foul trouble all night long and sat him for all but 6:33 in the second half.