- The Washington Times - Monday, March 24, 2003

OAKLAND, Calif. The Washington Wizards usually win when they score 100 points or more.
That wasn't the case last night.
Behind 41 points from Gilbert Arenas and 37 for Antawn Jamison, the Golden State Warriors dealt the Wizards' playoff hopes another serious blow with a 113-107 victory at the Arena in Oakland.
Michael Jordan led the Wizards with 24 points but failed to score in the fourth quarter. Jerry Stackhouse finished with 18 points and 10 assists.
The loss dropped the Wizards (32-37) 1 games behind the Milwaukee Bucks for the final Eastern Conference playoff spot.
The loss was the Wizards' eighth in their last 11 games and it dropped their road record to 9-23 and just 1-9 against Western Conference teams. They'll play four more Western teams on this road trip.
The loss came although the Wizards played their best first half of the season. That carried over into the second half, but they could not sustain it at the end against a Warriors team that got a combined 78 points from their two young stars the most by two Golden State players since Mitch Richmond and Chris Mullin combined for 81 points in 1989.
It didn't help matters that the Wizards, after scoring 68 points in the first half, scored just 39 in the second.
"We got caught up in trying to play their game early on," Wizards coach Doug Collins said. "I told them at halftime that we had 68 points, and that at some point we were going to have to play defense and stop them. But when it came time to do that, we never did."
With the ball moving around quicker than it has perhaps at any point during the season, Washington extended its lead to 83-69 with 7:15 left in the third quarter.
But Golden State came on strong late in the quarter. With Arenas and Jamison continuing to roll, the Warriors used a 17-4 run to pull to within 89-86 with just more than two minutes left in the period.
They cut the lead to just one point when Bob Sura converted one of two free throws, but trailed 91-88 at the end of three quarters.
Golden State finally took its first lead of the second half when Sura drilled a 3-pointer to give it a 96-95 advantage with just more than seven minutes to play. And Arenas made a jumper on the Warriors' next possession to extend the lead to 98-95.
And when Sura nailed a pair of free throws to push the Golden State lead to 109-101, it looked as the door were closed for good.
The Wizards scored the game's next six points to cut the lead to 109-107 on a basket by Bobby Simmons. However, Golden State extended the lead to four points and forced the Wizards to use a timeout with 25.1 seconds to play.
But the Wizards never scored again. Meanwhile, Jamison and Earl Boykins both scored buckets for the Warriors, who are still fighting for a playoff spot in the Western Conference.
The first half provided some of the most entertaining basketball the Wizards have played this season. Washington scored a season-high 68 points in the first half and shot 56 percent from the floor.
Larry Hughes, making his first appearance at Golden State since the Wizards signed him away from them over the summer, picked up his second foul with just more than eight minutes left in the first quarter and was of no help to the Wizards early on.
This forced the Wizards to go with diminutive Tyronn Lue against Arenas, whose eyes it up at the prospect.
Utilizing what is at least a four-inch height advantage over Lue, Arenas, who is getting some mention for the league's most improved player award, hit all seven of his shots in the first quarter, scored 17 points and pushed the Warriors to a 35-31 lead.
Collins said before the game that he did not want to get into a run-and-gun type of game against the Warriors and he wanted the Wizards to mix it up under the boards with the Warriors' big men.
The latter request wasn't the easiest, considering that the Wizards were without tough guy Charles Oakley (knee), but Washington stepped up and met the challenge.
Part of the reason was the play of Jahidi White. Playing in just his sixth game of the season, White had 10 points and eight rebounds by halftime.
Kwame Brown also chipped in with 10 points two of them coming on a thunderous dunk in which he exploded through the defense for a one-handed slam and four rebounds.
All told, the Wizards' reserves proved to be the difference in the first half, during which they outscored the Warriors' bench 30-5. In the second quarter alone, in which the Wizards scored 37 points, the reserves were responsible for 24.
Arenas scored just five points in the second quarter. However, Jamison picked up the scoring load and had 23 by halftime.

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