- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 1, 2006

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — After Gilbert Arenas finally stopped complaining about one of the many questionable calls he felt went against Washington in its 108-98 loss to Memphis on Monday night, the Wizards guard said something positive about the game.

He had just watched teammate Antawn Jamison hit shots from all over the floor en route to a season-high 35 points and was particularly impressed with Jamison’s 6-for-10 performance from behind the 3-point line.

“He was really catching it and shooting it in rhythm,” said Arenas, who scored 37 points. “I’ve never seen ‘Tawn put up 10 shots from there. But he’s feeling it, and he’s making them.”

Jamison is having the best season of his career from long distance and has been particularly hot from 3-point range for the last two months. He already has made the most 3-pointers (88) of his eight-year career. His .429 shooting percentage from 3-point range is also a career best.

And in the months of January and February, Jamison has been extraordinarily hot from long range, having made 60 of 110 (.545) 3-pointers.

“I’ve never felt like this before,” said Jamison, who leads the Wizards (29-26) into tonight’s game against Indiana (28-25). “I’ve never felt this comfortable shooting them. Coach [Eddie Jordan] has been comfortable letting me shoot them, and he’s been giving me the green light.”

His six 3s in Monday’s loss, which ended the Wizards’ three-game winning streak, were a career high.

Jamison is not alone in being in a comfort zone with the 3-pointer. The Wizards have made 31 of 55 from behind the line in winning two of their last three games.

Jordan is like most coaches when it comes to firing away from outside: content if they are going in but filled with angst if they aren’t.

“There comes a point in every game when you have to control the game and manage the game a little better,” Jordan said. “There’s an upside, and there’s a downside to it. The downside is when they aren’t going in and what they become is the first pass on a fast break. You don’t want to give a team anything they can use for more juice.”

However, Jordan recognizes that Jamison is in a zone right now from long distance. He said the key for Jamison — who has been contacted by USA Basketball and is a candidate for the U.S. team this summer — is getting his shots in the flow of the game and not forcing them.

“It’s hard not to let him shoot them because they are coming in rhythm,” Jordan said. “When we are swinging [the ball] around and he’s got a nice look, I want him to shoot it — as long as we’re getting back on defense and have floor balance.”

Jamison agrees. He knows he’s at his best when the offense is coming more from the inside out.

“Sometimes I think I might hurt myself because I think I might be relying on it too much,” Jamison said. “But the mechanics are there. The rhythm is there. It just feels good right now.”

Notes — The Wizards have won six straight against Eastern Conference teams and nine straight at home. A win over the Pacers tonight would give them the tiebreaker if the two teams finish tied at the end of the season. The Wizards lead the season series 2-1.

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