- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 26, 2006

Maybe Larry Brown should have reconsidered his All-Star Game ballot.

Brown, the coach of the New York Knicks, is on record as having voted for all five Detroit Pistons starters for the Eastern Conference All-Star team — and not Gilbert Arenas. Last night, the Wizards guard showed Brown why he was named to the team to replace injured forward Jermaine O’Neal, scoring a game-high 46 points and relentlessly attacking the Knicks in a 110-89 victory at MCI Center.

Arenas shot 13-for-16 from the field, 7-for-10 from 3-point range and 13-for-14 at the free throw line in just 30 minutes. He sat out the entire fourth quarter, which kept him from going after Earl Monroe’s franchise record of 56 points on Feb. 13, 1968.

And yes, the snub had a little to do with it.

“It’s not just personally against him,” Arenas said after the second-highest scoring game of his career. “I’ve got to send a message to the league. I’m a nice guy. I don’t really say much. If something happens to me, I usually just let it go. But now I’ve got to start fighting for myself. I felt that I got overlooked just because I’m not a household name, and now I’m just going to make everybody pay.

“I’m not going to jeopardize losing games for my team, but I’m going to make sure they notice me.”

Failing to notice him was impossible.

He blistered the Knicks (15-40), losers of their last 11 road games, for 23 points in the first quarter alone.

“We all know, everybody in this organization, everybody in this arena, that we have a special player,” Wizards coach Eddie Jordan said.

Said Brown: “He was great.”

The Wizards were facing the Knicks for the first time since they traded for former Maryland standout Steve Francis — now on his fourth team in seven seasons and on the verge of becoming an overpaid journeyman.

When last they met, Francis, who collaborated with Marbury, Jamal Crawford and Quentin Richardson in a futile attempt to slow Arenas, was playing for Orlando. After the Magic had won that game, Francis, who had just returned from a three-game suspension for what the Magic termed “conduct detrimental to the team,” said the Wizards’ offense was basically about letting Arenas shoot as often as he’d like.

“I’d be considered an explosive player, too,” Francis said of Arenas, who was 5-for-20 with 21 points that night.

Francis, who started for the Knicks, finished with nine points in 27 minutes.

As good as Arenas was in giving most of his teammates the night off, the residual benefits of his performance were huge. With Arenas erupting early, the game was over at halftime, when the Wizards (29-25) led 71-45.

Other than Arenas, only Antonio Daniels (14) and Antawn Jamison (13) scored in double digits for the Wizards. The fact is his teammates were actually watching him.

“I knew he had a great first half, but it wasn’t until I sat down in the third quarter and I was really seeing what he was doing,” forward Antawn Jamison said. “He had it going offensively. He was focused. Mike [Ruffin] and I were sitting there trying to remember when was the last time he missed a shot.”

New York got a game-high 15 points out of Stephon Marbury, who left the game after just 20 minutes with a sore shoulder.

The win extended the Wizards’ home winning streak to nine games, their longest since they ran off 15 straight from Feb. 9 to April 7 in the 1988-89 season. Their last home loss came Jan. 22 against Memphis. Their last home loss to an Eastern Conference team was Dec. 30 to Miami 128-113. Arenas scored a career-high 47 points in that game.

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