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Arenas comes alive in the second half

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Jarvis Hayes didn't look like a player who had
just posted a big fat zero. He relaxed and fired away from the
opening tip, breaking out of a shooting slump with his best game of
the season.

Hayes had season highs with 21 points and eight rebounds Tuesday
night, including six points with two steals in overtime, and the
up-and-down Washington Wizards survived an up-and-down
streetball-paced 119-111 victory over the Toronto Raptors.

Hayes didn't score in the Wizards' three-point loss to Milwaukee
on Friday, and he had gone 7-for-24 from the field in his last five
games, but he opened the game with three jumpers and made two more
in the extra period. He finished 8-for-15 from the floor, and his
steal with 37 seconds remaining in overtime thwarted the Raptors'
last chance to set up a game-tying shot.

"Previously, up to this point, I've hesitated to shoot the
ball," Hayes said. "And tonight and I just shot the open shot,
shot the good shot and let it go, without even thinking about it."

Hayes said he had been "out of rhythm" since the first game of
the season as the Wizards tried to fit in several new players. Some
advice from Antonio Daniels settled him down.

"I keep reiterating to him, 'You're a great offensive player,
but to take this team to that next level, you have to be just as
good on the defensive end," Daniels said. "And tonight he got it
going early. It was great to see him come out there and be
aggressive, get the ball and knock some shots down."

Gilbert Arenas scored 16 of his 37 points in the final 12Ā½
minutes and had 10 assists for the Wizards. Antawn Jamison added 26
points, 14 rebounds and six assists, and Jared Jeffries had 14
points and 10 rebounds for his first career double-double.

The victory moved the Wizards back to .500. Their record has
been 5-5, 6-6 and 7-7, and now it's 8-8, symptomatic of a team
trying to mesh early in the season.

"In a nutshell, it's knowing everybody's game," Hayes said
when asked about the uneven start.

Chris Bosh scored 27 points, and Morris Peterson had 21 for the
Raptors, who were trying to build a three-game road winning streak
for the first time since February 2004. After a 1-15 November,
Toronto opened December with wins at Atlanta and New Jersey.

Jose Calderon added eight points, nine rebounds and a
career-high 13 assists.

"The guys played hard, they played together, they tried to help
each other," coach Sam Mitchell said. "Sure, they make mistakes,
but young guys do that. We can live with those, I can. The guys try
to do everything I ask them to. What am I going to say to them? The
good thing about it is we had an opportunity to win the game and we
didn't get it done."

Peterson forced overtime with sheer hustle. With Toronto down by
three with 12 seconds left, Peterson got the inbounds pass and
launched a 3-pointer from the top of the key. He missed, but chased
down the long rebound and dashed to the left corner and tried
again, this time swishing the basket with 5 seconds to go.

Points were aplenty from the opening tip in a game between two
teams that in no way will be mistaken for defensive powers.
Uncontested jumpers and clean drives to the basket were the order
of the day, with the Wizards shooting 62 percent in the first
quarter and scoring a season-high 35 points. Toronto had a
season-high 61 points in the first half.

Both teams cooled off in the second half -- Bosh went 1-for-8 in
the third quarter -- and the Wizards built a nine-point lead that
would have been greater if they hadn't missed seven of 15 free
throws in the period.

The Wizards looked in good shape down the stretch when Arenas
hit a pair of late 3-pointers, but Jamison missed a free throw with
14 seconds to go in regulation that gave Peterson the chance to
send the game to overtime.

"Our record does not reflect what kind of team we are,"
Peterson said. "Hopefully we can get it turned around. Every game
I see growth in our young guys."

Game notes
Raptors G Mike James returned after missing one game with a
sore back. ... Wizards F Michael Ruffin missed his third straight
game with tendinitis in his right knee. ... Jeffries had season
highs in points (14) and blocks (three). ... The Wizards were
called for traveling five times, including three times in the
second quarter.

The Raptors have dropped their last four visits to the MCI
Center by an average of 16.3 points. Toronto's last win in
Washington was an 89-86 victory on March 4, 2003. Only Peterson and
Alvin Williams remain on the roster from that game.