The Washington Times - March 28, 2009, 11:14PM

Well, the game had everything but the Hibachi ending, but at least someone resembling Agent Zero was back out there and doing Agent Zero-like things for the most part. Sure, he would’ve liked to shoot better than 3-for-12 from the field, but that will come. The Wizards now have to work on sharpening their chemistry with Gil back in the fold, but it was a promising start. Nick Young, JaVale McGee, Andray Blatche and Dominic McGuire all played well off of him. … Nick extended his double-digit scoring streak to 10 games after posting 13 points on 3-for-3 shooting from the field and 2-for-3 from the foul line tonight. … Caron Butler had a decent night back with 11 points and 10 rebounds. He didn’t shoot the best (4-for-13), but that’s to be expected.


As Ed Tapscott said, the Wizards just needed one more possession. Gilbert Arenas said he got brain freeze from not playing in so long and wished he could’ve had a do-over. If he did, he said he either would’ve called a timeout, or just gone for a two-point basket to tie the game rather than hoist the 3-pointer over Kwame. Gil said Kwame got a clean defensive play on the ball and that the refs got it right in not calling a foul.


Here are some other things he had to say:


On what was running through his head during introductions:
“Just to stay calm. I just wanted to make sure I didn’t try to do anything flamboyant on my first day back. Just try to go out and play.”


His grade for the performance:
“Actually, that’s not my job. That’s the trainer’s job to judge how I did, how I looked. I’m not gonna — that’s what you guys are here for. … I would’ve liked to have shot a better percentage, but it’s just getting a better feel for it. … I don’t get nervous. That’s the old days. I was just out there tonight to see how the knee felt. … I felt fine. They were playing off me a little bit. I hit jumpers, drove a little bit and missed some layups. I’ve got to get back into the flow of playing games.

On how he felt afterward:
“I feel fine right now. Normally stiffness or pain doesn’t set in until the next day. … Everybody’s harping how I feel. I’m just trying to figure out what my limitations are, what I can do without pain, how much I can play so I’ll know heading into next season.”


On how he felt in this comeback vs. last year’s late-season comeback:
“My legs are a lot stronger this year. My legs are. I feel a lot more comfortable jumping again. I’m squatting this year. Last year I wasn’t. Now my max is 500. It’s just one of those things, I hurt my knee and I had to do something to get my quads back strong. Last year I didn’t have quads either time. I got my quickness back so fast, but I had to do something to get my strength back.”


On the final free throw miss
“No, I didn’t miss it on purpose. I don’t miss shots on purpose. I was trying to make it.”


On his teammates’ play:
“It was great to see the young guys come out and perform well. … I got the ball and I commanded so much attention that players like Javale, Dominic, Andray and were cutting backdoor and that made it easy for me.”


On being able to distinguish between the pain of further damage and discomfort associated with just getting back into the groove:
“I’ve had this thing for two years. Discomfort won’t bother me. Straight pain, where I can’t run, is the only thing that can keep me out. Other than that, I can run through the swelling, the soreness.”


On if he had any doubts about if he should play tonight:
“All day. It was one of those things. … Once I said I was gonna do it, I went with it. ….. But there was a point, you ever hear that saying, ‘If you wish for rain, wash you car”? Sure enough, it happened. As soon as I got here today, my knee started aching. I said, ‘Oh, man, now it starts.’ I thought I wasn’t gonna play today. But as soon as I got back home I felt better. Once I said I wasn’t going to play it started feeling better. … And so I figured it was just nerves or whatever, and got ready for the game with a Denzel movie … Inside Man.”


Antawn Jamison on having Arenas and Butler back:
“It felt good. It’s been a tough season. Gilbert hasn’t been out there all season and Caron has been in and out. So to get him back and get Gilbert back shows some good fortune is coming around. It was good to be running up and down the court with those guys again. It felt good to have familiar faces out there. We comepete and played hard. Just as long as you compete at a very high level and give yoruself a chance to win, that’s all you can ask for right now.”


Caron on having Gil back:
“This was a special moment, and I really wanted to be a part of this and show the fans what next year is going to possibly look like. It really did [feel like old times]. He didn’t miss a beat. At the end of the game, we already knew where we wanted to go and what type of play we wanted to draw up. Everything was flowing good. It was real good to get back out here.”


Rip Hamilton on Gil:
“He looked good. He looked real good.”


Kwame on the last shot:
“I saw Gilbert was going to go for the shot as soon as he got hte ball. I jumped up to contest it and I was able to get a piece of the ball. he tried to stick his leg out to draw the foul and they didn’t call it. It was a good job by the officials for not calling a foul.”

 

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The Wizards play at Indiana tomorrow, game-time: 7 p.m. I’m stuck home again because of budget issues, but it should be interesting to see how the team responds to coming off of an emotional night like tonight. Gil won’t play, and I’m not sure about Caron. With Mike James out, that will leave Javaris Crittenton (who did some good things tonight with seven assists, five rebounds and four points) to start at point guard. And it gives Nick Young another opportunity for increased playing time.