- The Washington Times - Saturday, December 5, 2009

The Washington Wizards battled back from a first-half funk that put them in a double-digit hole and had a fourth-quarter lead on the Toronto Raptors. But they couldn’t hold it down the stretch, falling 109-107 in overtime Friday night at Verizon Center.

The Raptors snapped a five-game losing streak and avenged a 106-103 loss to the Wizards on Tuesday in Toronto. For the second time this season, the Wizards (7-11) were denied their first three-game winning streak since April 2008.

For 31 seconds, it appeared Gilbert Arenas would rescue his team in vintage fashion and redeem himself from two early overtime gaffes.

Arenas — who had a season-high 34 points — booted the ball away early in overtime, and he later collided with teammate Earl Boykins, causing a turnover. But with Washington facing what appeared to be certain defeat, Arenas turned back the clock to his Hibachi days — briefly.

Catching a pass from Boykins on a fast break, Arenas rose up and made a 3-pointer to tie the score at 107-107 with 30.9 seconds left. With the Verizon Center fans on their feet, Arenas pounded his chest and skipped down the floor for a timeout.

Hedo Turkoglu came back with a turnaround jumper over Caron Butler with 8.1 seconds left for a 109-107 lead. After one final timeout, Arenas had the ball in his hands again but couldn’t quite deliver. He blew past Toronto’s Jarrett Jack but missed a baseline layup, and Andray Blatche’s tip-in attempt missed its mark as the horn sounded.