The Washington Wizards might as well just change their nickname to the Washington Streak-busters. First, it was beating Dallas and ending their 12 game winning streak. Tonight, it was ending the Suns' 15 game winning streak with an overtime 144-139 victory.
Much, much more coming tomorrow, but a few quick thoughts.
- Arenas fulfilled part 1 of his offseason guarantee, notching 54 last night. Bright Side of the Sun predicted Agent Zero wouldn't reach 50, but Arenas hit some insane shots (how about that shot to tie it in regulation!) and got his way to 50. I can't help but think a part of it was personal -- after all, he did shoot 37 shots, 12 threes, and only 6 free throws, reinforcing his reputation as a gunner. Still, he had the hot hand, and he hit some ridiculous shots, so you have to tip your hat to him.
- The real MVP of this win was Caron Butler. He hit some huge shots in overtime, and he was consistently hitting that line drive mid-range jumper. The Suns had no answer for him defensively. They kept switching Shawn Marion and Raja Bell on Arenas, leaving Butler to dominate smaller defenders. Most importantly, Butler's performance prevented the Suns from sagging on Arenas, which helps make both better. Without Butler, the Wizards don't win this one.
- Having said all this, the Suns have nobody to blame but themselves. Late in the second half, Brendan Haywood, the Wizards' only big man, fouled out. Instead of bringing in Calvin Booth, the Wizards brought in Jarvis Hayes, putting Antawn Jamison on Amare Stoudamire. I don't think you could possibly script a bigger mismatch, and on Phoenix's last possession in regulation before Arenas' 3 point play, Stoudamire easily turned around Jamison and slammed it on the other side. Yet, the Suns only went to Stoudamire once in the post, and only gave him 3 shots in overtime. The Wizards were basically daring Phoenix to beat them from the perimeter, and the Suns tried to do so, launching threes all over the place. I understand that's the Suns game, but you have to look at the matchups and realize Stoudamire is an automatic layup when you get him involved.
Again, much more tomorrow. I need some sleep.