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Arenas Pours In 46


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WASHINGTON, Feb. 25 (Ticker) -- Gilbert Arenas clearly was not impressed by the New York Knicks' revamped backcourt.


Arenas scored 46 points, one shy of his career high, as the Washington Wizards cruised to a 110-89 victory over the struggling Knicks.


It was the 10th win in the last 13 games for the Wizards (29-25), who climbed within 2 1/2 games of the idle Cleveland Cavaliers (32-23) for fourth place in the Eastern Conference standings.


Coming off a 26-point outing in Washington's 102-94 triumph over Cleveland on Friday, Arenas picked up where he left off. The All-Star guard exploded for 33 points in the first half, one point shy of Michael Jordan's franchise record for points in a half.


"I just wanted to be aggressive by any means necessary," Arenas said. "Just keep attacking, attacking, attacking. I was on fire tonight. It was just one of those nights when I was feeling it and I was in the zone."


Arenas finished 13-of-16 from the floor, 7-of-10 from the arc and 13-of-14 from the free-throw line.


"I thought I played great the first half of the season," Arenas said. "If not, I'm going to prove it now in the second half of the season. I'm the Eastern Conference assassin right now. It's a tour, from city to city. I just hope they all have a good game plan."


Despite being one point away from matching his career high of 47 points set against Miami on December 30, Arenas unselfishly decided to go to the bench while the Wizards reserves played the fourth quarter of a blowout.


"I thought coach (Eddie Jordan) was going to put me back in, but he just didn't," Arenas said. "Once I looked at the stat sheet in the fourth quarter, but we were up 25. Maybe if it was a close game and we were fighting for the game. But when you're up 25, he's not going to jeopardize a player."


"Gilbert was relaxed in the locker room and during pregame warmups, so we didn't know before the game he would explode for 46 points on 16 shots," Jordan said. "We all know he is a special player and his 'specialness' came out tonight."


Antonio Daniels scored 14 points off the bench and Antawn Jamison added 13 for Washington, which has won nine straight home games. It is the franchise's longest home winning streak since a 15-game run from February 9-April 7, 1989.


Stephon Marbury scored 15 points for the Knicks, who have dropped 19 of their last 21.


It was New York's second game since acquiring three-time All-Star guard Steve Francis, who finished with just nine points and two assists in 27 minutes.


The Knicks' new backcourt tandem of Marbury and Francis has looked shaky in its first two games together. New York struggled offensively in a 94-90 loss to New Jersey on Friday, and the Knicks' effort was even worse in this one.


They committed 27 turnovers, allowed the Wizards to shoot 51 percent (35-of-69) and trailed at halftime, 71-45.


After attempting to guard Arenas throughout most of the first half, Marbury left the game 55 seconds before the break with a left shoulder injury. It was an aggravation of a previous ailment for Marbury, who did not return in the second half.


"Yeah, I got hit again," said Marbury, who missed 11 games prior to the All-Star break with the injury. "I was trying to front Antawn Jamison, but I had got hit prior to that. I think when I tried to front, I tried to push off, and that's when I really aggravated it.


"I was starting to get back into a nice little rhythm, as far as shooting the ball and as far as attacking," Marbury continued. "Going to the basket, I just was like, 'If I get hit, I get hit.' But I took another step backwards tonight."


The Knicks have lost 10 straight road decisions, their longest road losing streak since an 18-game skid from December 3, 1987-February 22, 1988.


"It's bad coaching," New York coach Larry Brown said. "The second half I was coaching defense every play, like a shell drill. They were great and we weren't very good. And we haven't been good all season, and don't look any further than me. ... I guess maybe I'm going to have to figure out a way to coach better and get more control, and hopefully we can do something."





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