- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 26, 2006

BOSTON — For the second time this month, Washington Wizards guard Gilbert Arenas sank the Boston Celtics with two late free throws.

Last night, after getting fouled by Boston’s Ricky Davis, Arenas delivered the game-winners with 1.7 seconds left to give the Wizards an 89-87 victory over the Celtics. It was the Wizards’ first win here since April 6, 2003.

The foul call was accompanied by its share of controversy; 1.7 seconds had to be restored on the clock, which read 0:00 as Arenas headed to the free throw line. The announced crowd of 15,775 no doubt didn’t want to see the game decided on a pair of free throws.

“Ricky got me with a reach in,” said Arenas, who finished with 19 points on 7-for-21 shooting.

Protested Davis, who finished with 13 points: “It wasn’t a foul on me. I didn’t touch him. We’ll see the replay.”

On Jan. 7, Arenas sank a pair of clutch free throws with 3.5 seconds remaining to give the Wizards a 103-102 victory. In that game, the Wizards blew a seven-point lead in the final 29 seconds only to have Arenas bail them out.

Winners of seven of their last 10 games, the Wizards (19-21) must be given credit for scratching back in this one.

Down 81-74 following a bucket by Paul Pierce, the Wizards scored 11 consecutive points to go ahead by four when Arenas sank a jumper with 2:22 remaining.

Pierce tied the score at 85-85 when he hit a short jumper in the lane with 1:22 left, and after a sloppy Washington possession, Pierce responded with an unimpeded one-handed dunk to put the Celtics (17-25) up 87-85 and force Washington to call a timeout with 58.5 left to play.

When play resumed, Antawn Jamison (game-high 26 points, nine boards) hit a pair of free throws to tie the score at 87-87 after being shoved by Davis.

Pierce, who struggled at line (5-for-13), missed a pair of free throws, but the Wizards lost the ball out of bounds with 37.4 seconds remaining.

But the Celtics had a poor possession that resulted in an ill-advised 22-footer by Davis, setting the stage for Arenas’ drive to the basket that resulted in the game-winning free throws.

With the Wizards struggling to find offense early, they got it from center Brendan Haywood, who scored 14 of his season-high 21 in the first half.

Had Haywood, playing on a moderately sprained left foot, not played so well early, the game could have turned into a Boston blowout.

The Wizards trailed by 12 at one point in the first quarter. And in the second quarter, the Wizards used their defense to compensate for their faltering offense, holding the Celtics to just 4-for-19 shooting. Boston managed only one field goal in the final 5:36 of the half, which enabled Washington to erase all but two points of what had been a 37-26 deficit.

“The second quarter was really a defensive clinic for us,” Wizards coach Eddie Jordan said. “Holding somebody like the Celtics, who shoot close to 50 percent, down like that is good. We held them to just 10 points in the quarter, and it kind of jump-started us from there.”

Jamison scored 22 points in the second half, when he connected on four of five 3-pointers. Sixteen of his points came in the fourth quarter.

Note: Reserve center Etan Thomas rejoined the team after missing three games following the death of his grandmother.

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