WASHINGTON (AP) -- Caron Butler made sure that teammate Gilbert
Arenas got a win against his former team.
Butler had a season-high 34 points, 15 rebounds, four assists
and three steals Wednesday night in the Washington Wizards' 129-124
victory over the Golden State Warriors, who lost their sixth in a
row on the road.
"When he got it going early, I was like: 'Man, let's continue
to roll with him," Wizards forward Antawn Jamison said of Butler,
who made eight of his first 11 shots. "He's done it in spurts, but
it was great to see him do it not only on the offensive end but
defensively and rebounding. He's been rolling phenomenally of late
and he did a great job defensively on Jason Richardson and Mickael
"I think it was his best performance so far in a Wizards
Butler, who shot 12-for-24 from the field and 10-for-12 from the
free-throw line, agreed.
"I came out shooting early," Butler said. "There have been
times that things have been going real well for me, but this was
the first time that I've been able to put two halves together like
Arenas, who played for the Warriors from 2001-2003, scored 45
points and eclipsed the 30-point barrier for the 22nd time this
season. He set a franchise record for most free throws made in a
game with 23, eclipsing the mark of 21 he shared with Moses Malone,
set on Dec. 29, 1986, also against Golden State. Arenas's 25
free-throw attempts also matched a franchise mark he set on April
5, 2005, against Boston.
In a game that featured 11 lead changes and 13 ties, both teams'
largest lead was 13 points.
"One thing the Warriors can do is score," Wizards coach Eddie
Jordan said. "We knew that. And as much as we wanted to emphasize
defense, we knew we had to keep the pace offensively. With that
being said, I thought we ran our offense."
For most of the game, it appeared the first team to get a stop
would win. Washington enforcer Michael Ruffin not only provided the
stops but scored a season-high eight points, including a shot that
gave the Wizards a 105-94 lead with 7:06 left.
"I just try to be ready when coach calls my name," Ruffin
said. "My focus was the same, and it's very simple: I just want to
do whatever I can to help my team win. We were able to get some
stops late in the game and pull it out. It was a fun game. We
definitely would like to hold teams to less points than that, but
we were able to put enough points on the board to win."
Baron Davis pulled the Warriors to 115-111 on a 3-pointer from
the corner with 1:26 remaining. Davis then committed his sixth foul
on Jamison, who made both free throws to give the Wizards a 117-111
lead with 37 seconds left.
But the Warriors refused to go away.
Jason Richardson, who led Golden State with 31 points, pulled
the Warriors to 121-116 with a 3-pointer off the glass with 15.8
seconds left. Arenas then sandwiched four free throws around a
three-point play by Golden State rookie Monta Ellis.
Derek Fisher pulled the Warriors to 127-125 on another 3-pointer
with a second remaining. Arenas made two foul shots with 0.3 left
to seal the victory against his former team.
"We shot 56 percent," Warriors coach Mike Montgomery said.
"It wasn't a matter of us being able to score. It was a matter of
us being able to defend. They are quick at the point and they
spread the floor with four guys. It is hard to get help."
The last time Washington had two players score 30 or more points
in a game was April 15, 2005, when Arenas and Larry Hughes did it
against the Cleveland Cavaliers. In that game, Arenas scored 33
points and Hughes added 31.
Jamison had 18 points and six rebounds for the Wizards.
Davis had 28 points and 13 assists for Golden State. Pietrus
scored 18 points and Troy Murphy added 14 points and 12 rebounds.
Through three quarters, Arenas and Butler both were shooting
10-for-20 from the field with 28 points apiece. Butler scored 20 in
the first half.
"Butler came out with great energy and he was unstoppable
tonight," Davis said. "We couldn't stop him down low. We didn't
have an answer for him. He really set them up and kept them in the
Golden State's 35 points in the first quarter and 62 in the
first half were the most the Wizards have allowed this season, but
the score was tied at halftime.
"Neither team played defense," Richardson said. "A lot of
guys scored points and there was a lot of foul shooting and a lot
of fouling. If we could have made a couple of stops, we would have
won the game."<
^@Notes: Arenas scored 40 or more points for the sixth time this
season. ... Murphy has posted a double-double in seven of Golden
State's past nine games. He's the first Warrior to record five
straight double-doubles since Danny Fortson in 2001.