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Arenas has big night, Duncan doesn't

Wizards' Gilbert Arenas, right, tries to block shot of Spurs' Tony Parker in Saturday's game.
Wizards' Gilbert Arenas, right, tries to block shot of Spurs' Tony Parker in Saturday's game.
Kevin Wolf, Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Everything was going in for Gilbert Arenas on a 43-point night, right down to a 30-foot heave off the glass at the third-quarter buzzer.

And nothing was going in for Tim Duncan on a 3-for-18 night, right down to putbacks with the ball near the rim.

In a game the hosts insisted might as well have been against any ol' team — rather than a meaningful, show-how-good-we-are matchup against the reigning NBA champions — Arenas spurred his Washington Wizards to pull away late in the third quarter and beat Duncan's San Antonio Spurs 110-95 Saturday night.

With an impressive variety of moves, from mid-range jumpers to stutter-step slices through the lane, Arenas made 11 of his first 12 shots and finished 15-for-20, ending up one point shy of his career high.

"When he gets going, he gets that swagger," said Washington's other All-Star, Antawn Jamison, who added 19 points and eight rebounds. "The guy's unbelievable. I think he still doesn't get the recognition he deserves. He knows the more this team wins, the more recognition he gets."

After last season's breakthrough playoff trip, Arenas now has steered the Wizards to their first 5-1 start since 1989-90. He's scored at least 30 points in half of the season's games, reaching that figure by the third quarter both Saturday and in Friday's 41-point home victory over Seattle.

"He just attacked and attacked," Wizards coach Eddie Jordan said, "and it was sweet music."

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich acknowledged, "We tried everybody on him — and he was great."

The Wizards tried nearly everybody on Duncan, it seemed, and he was far from great, missing 15 straight shots. Jordan said before the game he wouldn't double-team Duncan unless it became necessary, and he was true to his word.

Jared Jeffries, Brendan Haywood, Michael Ruffin and Etan Thomas took turns guarding Duncan, and the Wizards' front-court players did a good job of fronting the three-time NBA Finals MVP in the low post.

He took only one shot in the second quarter — and missed it.

"It was just a long night. Things happen, the season happens. Those guys played well tonight; give them credit," Duncan said. "We compounded them playing well with myself playing very, very badly."

He connected on his first two attempts from the floor and then could not figure out a way to get the ball in the basket until a tip-in with just under 6 minutes left in the game. Duncan wound up 3-for-18 for 11 points and had 14 rebounds, barely keeping intact his run of a double-double in every game this season.

"I saw him miss a lot of easy shots," Haywood said.

When Duncan missed two straight putbacks early in the fourth quarter, he punched the air. He then quickly committed a foul at the other end and was replaced. Duncan put his head down during a slow shuffle to the sideline, ignored teammates' offers of hand slaps, pulled out his jersey and slumped into his chair.

"Timmy didn't have his best night," Popovich said, "but that's going to happen now and then."

Especially, perhaps, on the second half of a back-to-back set at the end of a five-game road trip, during which the Spurs (5-2) won three straight before Saturday.

"It's early. They've been on an East Coast trip," Jordan said. "I don't want to measure our team as far as predicting how good we are or will be."

Manu Ginobili scored 28 points and Tony Parker added 23, keeping the Spurs in the game until late in the third quarter. Washington reserve Caron Butler scored 15 — with six straight to help pull away early in the fourth.

Parker's pull-up jumper with 4:10 left in the third period gave San Antonio its last lead, at 74-73. The Wizards closed the quarter with a 12-4 run, capped by Arenas' long 3-pointer on the fly, a shot that was checked by the officials on TV replay to make sure it should count.

Sometimes, Arenas said, "you can't be stopped and you don't think you can be stopped. That's how I felt tonight."

GRIZZLIES 85, HAWKS 84: At Atlanta, Pau Gasol's tip-in at the final buzzer lifted Memphis over the winless Hawks.

Shane Battier scored a season-high 22 points, and Bobby Jackson added 17 for Memphis.

Officials reviewed the play to confirm there was still time on the clock when Gasol tipped in the miss of a 3-pointer by Mike Miller.

Joe Johnson led the Hawks with 17 points, Josh Smith added 14 and rookie Marvin Williams 12.

HEAT 108, BOBCATS 99: At Miami, Jason Williams scored 22 points, Dwyane Wade added 19 and Alonzo Mourning 16 to lead the Heat over Charlotte.

Sean May scored 18 points, Kareem Rush had 15 and Primoz Brezec added 11 for Charlotte, which lost its fourth straight. The Bobcats trailed by 20 points with 2:10 remaining in the game before making the final score close.

Udonis Haslem added 14 points and 11 rebounds for the Heat, who were without Shaquille O'Neal (sprained right ankle) for the fifth straight game.

Miami forward Antoine Walker snapped his streak of 487 consecutive starts. The stretch dated back to May 5, 1999, when he was with the Boston Celtics.

ROCKETS 99, NETS 91: At East Rutherford, N.J., Tracy McGrady scored 30 of his 35 points in the second half, and Yao Ming added 18 points to lead Houston over New Jersey.

Reserve guard David Wesley had 15 points before fouling out for Houston (2-3), which snapped a three-game losing streak. McGrady, making his return after missing three games due to back spasms, also grabbed 10 rebounds.

MAVERICKS 109, HORNETS 103: At Oklahoma City, Dirk Nowitzki scored 30 points and Jason Terry added 26 to lead Dallas over New Orleans.

Terry had eight points of his season-high total in the final 4:22. His driving basket with 31.8 seconds remaining made it 104-96. After a three-point play by Chris Paul got the Hornets within five, Nowitzki sank two free throws for a 106-99 lead and the Mavericks held on from there.

Paul led the Hornets with 26 points on 10-of-13 shooting.

BUCKS 103, PACERS 102: At Milwaukee, Mo Williams hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer, rallying Milwaukee over Indiana. Michael Redd led the Bucks with 28 points, and Williams and T. J. Ford added 19 apiece.

Jermaine O'Neal tied his season high with 27 points for Indiana. Ron Artest added 24 points, Stephen Jackson 20 and Fred Jones had a season-high 17 for the Pacers, who blew a 14-point lead late in the fourth quarter.

SUNS 101, WARRIORS 86: At Phoenix, Shawn Marion had 22 points and 15 rebounds and Raja Bell scored a season-high 20 points, helping Phoenix to a victory over Golden State for coach Mike D'Antoni's 100th NBA win.

The victory was the Suns' first in four home games. In their previous three losses, they blew double-digit leads in the second half. This time, they held on despite 23 points by the Warriors' Baron Davis.