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Wizards vs. Hawks
Atlanta's Tyronn Lue (right) fouls Wizards guard Gilbert Arenas during the second quarter last night. Arenas later was upset about the calls he didn't get.
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Date published: 11/29/2006
WASHINGTON--It is just November, and this basketball season will stretch well into spring.
But late in the Wizards' game against the visiting Atlanta Hawks last night, there was a palpable sense of urgency. Washington entered the night mired in a four-game losing streak.
It seemed that the Hawks, perennial doormats of the Eastern Conference, would provide the needed elixir. Instead, they trailed by a point in the final minute and had two opportunities to win.
But the Wizards, who are not known for lockdown defense, got frisky on those two possessions. They forced a cold shooter to take a long 3-pointer on the first, and they kept a hot shooter away from the rim on the second. When Joe Johnson (33 points) lofted a 17-foot fadeaway that clanged off the back of the rim, the Wizards escaped with a 96-95 victory.
"Frankly," Wizards coach Eddie Jordan began, "I'm still trying to catch my breath over those last two possessions."
The game came down to the final moments mainly because of the struggles of the Wizards' two stars, Antawn Jamison and Gilbert Arenas, who combined to make 13 of 36 field goal attempts.
Arenas, who also committed nine turnovers, has made just 34 of 102 shots over his last four games. After yesterday's win, the all-star point guard voiced his frustrations with the officiating.
"At the end of the day, I don't think they're calling the game the way it was called last year," said Arenas, who went to the free-throw line seven times. "It's just real inconsistent right now and I'm trying to figure out the angle If someone's holding me down and blocking my shot, you've got to call that."
A few minutes before Arenas spoke, Jordan alluded to frustrations with his players' frustrations.
"You get caught up in calls," the coach said, "and that's been happening too long now."
While Arenas was frustrated with a lack of calls in his favor, one call that went against him could have cost the Wizards.