- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 20, 2004

In a startling defensive turnaround, the Washington Wizards didn’t allow a single Atlanta player to score 20 or more points last night in a 94-84 victory over the Hawks before 13,746 at MCI Center.

A week ago, five Hawks scored at least 20 points against the Wizards in a 14-point Atlanta win. But this time, the Wizards (22-46) got big performances from suddenly dangerous power forward Kwame Brown, who posted a double-double, and Gilbert Arenas, who notched his third triple-double.

Brown dropped in 27 points, hitting 10 of 14 shots, and snared 11 rebounds. On Wednesday against Sacramento, he had career highs in points (30) and rebounds (19).

“I just wanted to come out and not try to overdo it, not try and score 30 again,” said Brown, who played 39 minutes and heard fans calling for him when he did sit. “I wanted to come out and play with the same energy and get us going. It was a good feeling to know that my presence was what was controlling the game.”

Atlanta’s Stephen Jackson, who had a career-high 42 points against the Wizards last week, finished with a team-high 17 this time. The Hawks (22-47) made 31 of 91 shots.

Arenas, who had led the Wizards in scoring 11 straight times before Brown had his big night against the Kings, finished with 13 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists as the Wizards won their second game in a row. New Jersey’s Jason Kidd leads the league with nine triple-doubles, the only player ahead of Arenas in the category.

“I’m second — and I missed all those games,” said Arenas, who sat out 26 games with injuries.

Last night Brown’s teammates knew the big man looked ready to follow his career night with another big game.

“Gilbert, who loves to score, came to me and said, ‘Let’s work on getting it down to Kwame on the post,’” said Wizards coach Eddie Jordan. “I said, ‘Good, that’s a good thing,’ That’s a good thing for a coach to hear.”

When the teams played last week at Philips Arena, the Hawks flat-out embarrassed the Wizards, scoring a season-high 138 points. They had 83 of them in the second half — one less than they managed for the whole game last night.

Payback was in order

“I thought that would be the case, but it didn’t seem like that in the first half,” Jordan said. “This team really handed it to us down there, and we really shouldn’t have had any trouble getting up for the game.”

After rallying to build a three-point lead by halftime, the Hawks were defenseless in the third quarter, particularly during a 19-5 run by the Wizards that took them from a one-point deficit to a 70-57 lead after Brown split a pair of defenders for a rim-rattling slamdunk. The Wizard made 12 of 18 shots in the quarter, eight on dunks or layups.

The only other time the Hawks challenged was in the fourth quarter when reserve forward Boris Diaw scored on a reverse layup to close Atlanta within 87-80. But Washington’s Jared Jeffries scored on a layup and a dunk to restore the lead to double figures.

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