- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 26, 2004

TORONTO — Gilbert Arenas failed to hoist a shot for the first 42 minutes of last night’s game against Toronto, then scored seven points late in the game to help the Washington Wizards end their five-game losing streak with a 76-74 victory over the injury-depleted Raptors before 17,291 at Air Canada Centre.

Fresh off his squabble with Kwame Brown over shot selection in Sunday’s 113-85 loss to Milwaukee, Arenas didn’t attempt a shot from the field until the final 5:30. He matched his season low with seven points and attempted just three shots — making two, another season low. He also had eight rebounds and an assist.

Arenas shot 7-for-21 from the floor Sunday and finished with 21 points

“I wanted to make everyone else happy and to make sure we won the game — that’s all that matters,” Arenas said. “If I have to sacrifice my shot, I’ll do it. I hit my shots, took my shots when I needed to take them. If we had lost it would have been my fault. Congratulations to everybody else.”

Arenas denied that he was attempting to send a message to anyone, but he has played similar games like this in his career. Last season with Golden State in a victory over the New York Knicks, Arenas didn’t take a shot until the final seven minutes of that game, when he scored 14 points.

Asked if he remembered that, Arenas replied, “Yeah. We’re going to keep going this way until somebody complains about something else. It worked tonight so we’re going to stick with it.”

Wizards coach Eddie Jordan knows he needs Arenas to score, especially since Jerry Stackhouse (11 points) is clearly still not himself. But Jordan was just happy to see his team win its sixth road game of the season and finally play some defense. The Raptors made just 40.6 percent of their shots.

“That’s the way he saw the game,” Jordan said of Arenas. “We were winning. There was a time in the game when I put him in at the three position late in the game and I said, ‘Your role has changed now — you have to look at the basket,’ and he did.”

Brown led the Wizards with 16 points on 8-for-16 shooting from the floor. Brown had 10 rebounds to help the Wizards (17-38) beat the Raptors 40-30 on the glass.

Brown came up big defensively at the end, jumping out to contest a 27-footer by Jannero Pargo with the Raptors trailing by just two points and less than two seconds to play.

Had the Wizards lost, it would have been just as ugly as some of their recent 20-point blowouts. The Raptors were playing without All-Star guard Vince Carter and two other starters, Jalen Rose and Alvin Williams.

Toronto (25-32), which has now lost a season-high seven straight games, trailed by 15 points in the third quarter.

“We hung on, played good defense,” Brown said. “If feels good to get this win — we needed it. Now we want to build some momentum going into the next game at home [against Chicago] tomorrow.”

Brendan Haywood finished with 13 points and eight rebounds, and Stackhouse added 11 points and had three assists as the Wizards won despite turning the ball over 22 times.

Donyell Marshall led the Raptors with 20 points.

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