For 31 seconds, it appeared Gilbert Arenas would rescue his team in vintage fashion and redeem himself from two early overtime gaffes. Arenas -- who had a season-high 34 points -- booted the ball away early in overtime, and he later collided with teammate Earl Boykins, causing a turnover. But with Washington facing what appeared to be certain defeat, Arenas turned back the clock to his Hibachi days -- briefly. Catching a pass from Boykins on a fast break, Arenas rose up and made a 3-pointer to tie the score at 107-107 with 30.9 seconds left. With the Verizon Center fans on their feet, Arenas pounded his chest and skipped down the floor for a timeout.
Hedo Turkoglu, the much-maligned key free-agent acquisition this past off-season, had just hit a huge jumper to give Toronto a 2 point lead. All eyes were therefore on Arenas, who earlier in the evening had hit a 3-pointer to send the game to overtime. Arenas made his move and got past his defender, Jarrett Jack, and looked to have a clear path to the basket. Amir Johnson appeared underneath the rim, but was late on the rotation and it still appeared to be clear sailing for Agent Zero. However a funny thing happened. Amir sort of started to try and cut off Arenas, but then stopped, almost akin to the body version of a ball-fake. This fake-out appeared to be enough to throw Gilbert, and that was all she wrote.
Nick Young said he was hoping that Arenas would've gone for the win. "Agent Zero is going to be back. I'm waiting for the three, where he turned his back and walked to the locker room. But he missed the layup. I wanted him to [shoot the three]. I ain't never seen him do it live. He's been out for two years. He can get to the hole anytime. He was right there, he could've just laid it in." But he didn't. And the Wizards squandered another chance to dig a little further out of the hole they've built for themselves early in the season.
Flip Saunders knew the first question would be about the last shot in overtime, but he knew that the 109-107 loss came much, much earlier. How lacking was the energy? Saunders had to call on Earl Boykins at the 6:03 mark of the first quarter. How poor was the Wizards' shooting? At halftime, Brendan Haywood was 0 for 6, Antawn Jamison was 0 for 4, and Nick Young was 0 for 4.
"I’m more disappointed in this game than any game we’ve had," Washington coach Flip Saunders said. "We just buried ourselves in such a hole." The Wizards did build a six-point lead with 5 1/2 minutes to go in the fourth quarter and appeared to be on the verge of pulling away, but the Raptors fought back.
Hedo Turkoglu, who has struggled since joining the Raptors, was the hero for Toronto. Coming out of the timeout, the Raptors put the ball in Turkoglu's hands, and he made a tough turnaround jumper over Caron Butler with 8.1 seconds left for a 109-107 lead. "Turkish Jordan," Butler said with a grin, referring to Turkoglu's nickname when he came into the league nine seasons ago. "It was a tough shot. I tried to make him take a difficult shot, and that's exactly what happened. ... That's all you can try to do, and have an opportunity down the stretch with your franchise guy driving to the basket and having a great look. That's how the ball rolls sometimes."
There's no way a playoff team -- not a playoff berth winner, a playoff contender -- comes out raining down 3's when they're not a 3-point shooting team, and when they keep missing them, they keep on bombing away. There's no way a playoff threat goes on a 10-0 run at the end of the third quarter/early fourth quarter, and then lets off the gas and allows the visiting team to come back, take the lead and eventually win. There's no way a playoff team forgets that it has a third All-Star, and Caron Butler goes without a shot in the fourth quarter. meanwhile, Antawn Jamison was 0-for-3 (including 0-for-2 from the arc) and Gilbert had seven points.
Head coach Jay Triano chose not to alter his starting five last night and was rewarded with a 20-5 lead eight minutes into the game. That lead lasted until the fourth quarter when the Wizards started to pull way. They got a lead as big as seven at one point but the Raptors wouldn't let them get too far ahead. "The entire game I thought we were all in tune," Jack said of a defensive effort that included a season-low 17 first-quarter points by an opponent. "Any time there was a breakdown or any situation where we needed help, I thought we were there to cover for each other. That's how you play basketball. Today we established what Toronto Raptors basketball is and should be. We need to take it from here and build on it (today) in Chicago."
The team played its best defense in weeks holding Washington to 37% shooting while holding their own on the glass despite playing one of the best rebounding teams in the league. There were still some issues of course, especially with turnovers early, but considering the "team talk" and recent play, this psychologically is huge.
Bosh – rarely do you see someone live up to the billing of the term "a man possessed", but that was Bosh in the 4th. Hell, he started the game with 4 points, a block and 2 boards in the first 2 minutes, helping the Raps to a 10-0 outburst. In the 4th, he grabbed offensive boards like they were apples falling from a tree and he was using a dump truck to catch them. His final line? 31pts, 16 rebounds, 9 of which were offensive. He took heat for not talking during the meeting, but he did it on the court.
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Twitter / Mike Jones
Wizards have started announcing Caron Butler as a guard during pre-game introductions.
Twitter / Chase Hughes
Just saw a replay, Hedo Turkoglu did the Javale salute after hitting a 3 in first half.
Twitter / Truth_About_It
The Wizards attempted 29 threes, Flip called it undisciplined, hero basketball.
Twitter / Mike Prada
I did not just see Earl Boykins and Gilbert Arenas run into each other, did I? So much for that good Golden State chemistry.
Twitter / 106.7 The Fan
Flip Saunders after the game: "Looked like a game of two non-playoff teams."
Twitter / wizznutzz
mr @chrisbosh, UR tha velociRAPTOR & the PREDATOR & the JARJAR all wrapped up in a machosensual body of wire. WE SALUTE U!!!!!