- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 15, 2005

NEW ORLEANS — Gilbert Arenas has hit enough big shots for the Washington Wizards this season to gain him a spot on the Eastern Conference All-Star team, but he might remember one he didn’t hit last night.

Although Arenas scored 34 points, his potential game-winning 3-pointer at the buzzer bounced off the front of the rim as the hapless New Orleans Hornets escaped with a 98-96 victory.

J.R. Smith scored 18 points and Dan Dickau hit a pair of go-ahead free throws with 4.5 seconds left to give New Orleans its winning margin.

Chris Andersen had 16 points and nine rebounds for the Hornets, converting an alley-oop dunk and a tip-in on consecutive possessions to help New Orleans maintain a slim lead late in the fourth quarter.

Bostjan Nachbar added 15 points, P.J. Brown 13 and Rodney Rogers 12.

Antawn Jamison, who will join Arenas in Sunday’s NBA All-Star Game in Denver, had 30 points and 12 rebounds for Washington (30-21). However, the Wizards’ reserves were outscored by the Hornets’ bench 39-12.

Washington outrebounded New Orleans 48-34, and the Wizards had 17 offensive rebounds.

Down 94-88, Washington missed three shots on one possession but rebounded all three, getting the ball to Juan Dixon for a floater that cut the deficit to four.

After Smith’s spin into the lane for a driving layup put New Orleans (11-41) ahead 96-90, Washington came back with three straight baskets to tie it, including Jamison’s putback after yet another offensive rebound.

Jamison was fouled on the play and missed the free throw, but the rebound went out of bounds off Nachbar, allowing Washington to retain possession with 47 seconds left. Arenas then made a driving layup into a crowd of defenders to tie it with 38.4 seconds left.

Dickau, who struggled to score against Arenas, missed a 3-point attempt, but Brown got his seventh rebound and called timeout with 21.9 seconds to go.

Dickau then let the clock wind down inside seven seconds before starting to drive, and Brendan Haywood was called for a push with Washington already over the limit. That sent Dickau, who had missed his previous two foul shots, back to the line. He hit both to win the game and finish with 10 points.

The Hornets, coming off a three-point loss at Orlando on Sunday, were sharper early on, opening the second quarter by hitting six of eight shots and forcing four turnovers. That led to a 15-2 run during which Andersen had two steals, a transition dunk, a driving layup and an alley-oop dunk, putting New Orleans ahead 44-32.

But after scoring once in 11 possessions, Washington closed the quarter with a 12-5 run. Arenas had six points, including an 18-foot jumper that cut the Hornets’ lead to 51-48 at halftime.

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