- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Perhaps Gilbert Arenas wanted to prove a point. The last time Washington played Milwaukee, he set a career high in shots, and the Wizards lost.

Last night, he barely shot at all, and the Wizards ended their season-long five-game losing streak with a 119-112 victory before 14,205 at MCI Center over a Bucks team that almost never wins on the road.

Arenas, the Wizards’ leading scorer, finished with a season-high 13 assists, two less than his career best, and Kwame Brown was among five players in double figures with a season-high 17 points as Washington (42-35) guaranteed its first winning season since 1998.

The victory kept Washington tied with the Indiana Pacers for fifth in the Eastern Conference and marked the 100th career victory for Wizards coach Eddie Jordan, who is 67-92 with Washington and 100-156 overall.

Arenas finished with just eight points, marking the first time in 41 games he has failed to score in double figures.

“He managed the game well; he was certainly a point guard tonight,” Jordan said of Arenas, who scored his first points of the game on a driving layup with 10:47 left. “That is Gilbert-ology, as we call it.”

That his whimsical philosophy revealed itself again last night wasn’t a shock. After finishing with 44 points and only three assists in Saturday’s loss to Philadelphia, Arenas said, “I’m not Steve Nash, and I never will be. I’m not going to get you 22 assists.”

Plus, he attempted a career-high 35 shots when the Wizards fell to the Bucks 99-90 last month, taking full responsibility for the loss despite finishing with 27 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists. He spent most of the postgame apologizing to his teammates, some of whom felt he took too many shots.

As a result, he only attempted nine shots in the rematch, making two.

Although Arenas was long gone by the time the Wizards’ locker room doors opened, it was clear he was sending a message in his unique way. Arenas did something similar Feb. 25, 2004, failing to take a shot before scoring all seven of his points in the final five minutes of a 76-74 win over the Raptors.

However this minor soap opera resolves itself, it was secondary last night to the victory for a team fighting for its first playoff berth since 1998.

“We definitely needed to win,” said Antawn Jamison, who finished with 32 points on 13-for-19 shooting. I’m very impressed with the way we came out and played tonight. The key for us is to carry this over for the rest of the way.”

Jamison’s biggest basket of the night came on Arenas’ final assist, when a Milwaukee miss turned into a fastbreak layup. Jamison, who still is battling tendinitis in his right knee, played in consecutive games for the first time since March 13-14.

Jamison’s basket with 1:05 left in the game gave the Wizards a 113-106 lead and forced the Bucks to call a timeout.

The Bucks’ Desmond Mason (18 points) connected on a pair of free throws to cut it to 113-108, but Jamison was fouled on the Wizards’ next possession and sank a pair of free throws to secure the victory.

Michael Redd finished with a game-high 35 points for Milwaukee (29-48), which lost for the 12th consecutive time on the road. The Bucks haven’t won away from home since beating Charlotte on Feb. 22.

While Arenas played enigmatically, the Wizards’ frontcourt got much-needed boosts from several players who haven’t been much of a factor recently, namely Brown and Etan Thomas (17 points).

Thomas, offered a contract by the Bucks last season, provided the punch in the first quarter with 10 points, while Brown, who had been booed by the impatient MCI Center crowd in recent days, scored 10 points in the second.

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