Arenas scored seven of his season-high 40 points in the final
2:19 to lead the Wizards to their fourth consecutive victory,
117-114 over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Saturday night.
On Dec. 26, Washington scored only 36 points in the first half
of its worst loss of the season, a 109-74 setback at Minnesota. The
losing margin was the Wizards' largest since a 116-67 loss to the
New Jersey Nets on Jan. 16, 2002.
In their rematch with Minnesota, the Wizards opened a 12-point
lead and scored 33 in the first quarter of a victory that ended a
seven-game losing streak against the Timberwolves.
"We had to get them back," Arenas said. "We didn't get them
as bad as they got us, but a win is a win."
Larry Hughes had 28 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists for
the Wizards, who at 19-13 are off to their best start in 20
seasons. Antawn Jamison added 23 points and 10 rebounds for
"We wanted to get one against those guys," Hughes said.
"After what they did to us, we had to show them that we're not
going down like that. Respect is big in this league and people need
to know that we're coming to fight every night."
Kevin Garnett, who finished with 25 points, 19 rebounds, eight
assists and four blocks, scored 12 in the fourth quarter and gave
the Timberwolves a 112-106 lead on a turnaround jumper with 2:02
remaining. But the Timberwolves couldn't close out the Wizards and
lost their seventh consecutive road game.
After Wally Szczerbiak missed a layup with 18 seconds left,
Jamison rebounded for the Wizards but missed two free throws with
17.2 seconds left. Garnett missed a turnaround jumper with 5
seconds left and Jarvis Hayes answered with two free throws with
three seconds left to seal the victory for Washington.
"We heard that they were really jacked up for this game and we
were really jacked up for this game," said Garnett, who also
missed a jumper with 50 seconds left and launched a desperation
3-pointer that bounced off the front of the rim at the buzzer. "It
was a tough night. I thought Wally had the layup, just like I
thought I had the turnaround jumper. They came out at us with
"It just came down to making plays at the end and we didn't do
The Wizards pulled to 114-113 on Arenas' 3-pointer and two free
throws by Jamison with 1:12 left.
Arenas made two free throws that gave Washington a 115-114 lead
with 27.4 seconds left.
"We just had to dig down, make some smart decisions, play some
great team defense, and Jared (Jeffries) did a great job on KG in
the end," Arenas said.
"We did some positive things tonight," Timberwolves coach Flip
Saunders said. "The disappointing thing was the last minute and 40
seconds we had some good looks and we did not finish."
The Wizards led 87-86 after a third quarter that featured four
ties and seven lead changes.
Fred Hoiberg's 3-pointer gave the Timberwolves their first lead,
48-47, with 2:30 remaining in the second quarter.
Hughes scored on a dazzling, up-and-under drive that gave the
Wizards a 16-9 lead midway through the period. He delighted the
crowd again in the second quarter with a tomahawk slam off a
baseline drive for a 45-39 lead. In the third, Hughes provided
another highlight with a slam off Arenas' missed layup.
"We were down and we just had a killer instinct," Wizards
coach Eddie Jordan said. "Jared (Jeffries) did a terrific job on
(Kevin) Garnett coming down the stretch. Our guys want every game
and that is the beautiful thing about out group."
Timberwolves guard Sam Cassell missed the game with a right
hamstring strain sustained in the fourth quarter Friday against
Philadelphia. ... Minnesota also played without forward Mark
Madsen, who fractured his left thumb in the first quarter against
the 76ers. He is out indefinitely. ... Washington forward Kwame
Brown missed the game with a strained right ankle tendon. ... The
Wizards had their second sellout crowd of 20,174 this season
against the Timberwolves. The other full house was for the
defending champion Detroit Pistons.