- The Washington Times - Friday, March 23, 2007

Just like it did not keep track of blocked shots when Bill Russell played, the NBA today doesn’t keep a record of how many game-winning shots or free throws players make — mostly because they are hard to quantify.

If the NBA did keep track, Washington Wizards guard Gilbert Arenas likely would be among the league leaders.

King of the last-second heartbreaker this season, Arenas hit a driving layup at the buzzer Wednesday to give Washington a 108-106 victory at Seattle. He has had 10 game-winning baskets or free throws in his four seasons with the Wizards, according to Jason Rosenthal of RealGM.com.

Arenas’ shot Wednesday was the third buzzer-beater he has hit this season, with the others coming against Utah and Milwaukee. Counting the three free throws he hit with 0.1 seconds left for a 107-106 victory against Golden State earlier this month, Arenas has won four games this season in the final seconds.

Wednesday’s shot came a night after Arenas’ attempt to force overtime against Portland fell well short of the rim as time expired.

“It was the same type of game. Not the same ending though,” Arenas said Wednesday. “I had the opportunity to win the game yesterday and came up short. Today I made the basket. It happens. You make some, you win some.”

Arenas’ most famous buzzer-beater came in the first round of the 2005 playoffs. The Wizards guard rose up and nailed a shot over the outstretched arm of Chicago’s Tyson Chandler to give the Wizards a 112-110 victory and a 3-2 lead in their first-round series.

But tonight’s opponent, Golden State, seems to get the worst of Arenas’ heroics. In addition to the three free throws against his old team earlier this month, Arenas had a game-winning layup as time expired in a 103-101 victory Dec. 20, 2004.

Butler not ready

The Wizards said it would be seven to 10 days before All-Star forward Caron Butler would be able to return to the team. Today marks Day 7.

However, don’t expect to see Butler (knee contusion) in uniform tonight against Golden State. It is also probably a safe bet to rule out Butler — the team’s second-leading rebounder (7.5) and third-leading scorer (19.1) — for the last two games of the trip as well (tomorrow against the Los Angeles Clippers and Monday in Utah).

Butler, though, is working out daily with no pain. Expect him to return to the lineup when Washington plays host to Philadelphia on Wednesday.

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