Arenas had 36 points and 11 assists as Washington beat Denver 116-110 on Wednesday night, snapping a three-game losing streak. It was the second straight game of 30 or more points for Arenas and the 11th time he has done it this season.
A boost was provided by the play of Jamison, who contributed 20 points and 10 rebounds, perhaps a slump-busting performance for the former All-Star. In his previous five games, Jamison had been averaging 8.2 points while shooting 25 percent (18-of-72) from the field.
“Everybody came on hard because we were in a desperate situation,” said Jamison, who hadn’t scored 20 points since Dec. 6. “We had to dig down deep and get this win.”
All five starters scored in double figures for the first time this season for the Wizards, who have won both of their games this month when Jamison has scored at least 20 points. They’re 1-7 in December when he hasn’t.
The team’s poor December record includes a 1-3 mark on its current five-game road trip, which ends in a city where Washington has won only once since 1988. The Wizards have lost three straight and 15 of 16 in Phoenix.
Since starting the season 5-1, Washington has won just five of 18 games. The victory over the Nuggets may be a step in the right direction.
“We had positive energy,” Wizards coach Eddie Jordan said. “We’ve never wavered in confidence with each other or for each other.”
The Suns relied on their bench to beat Seattle 111-83 on Tuesday for just their second win in six games. Eddie House had 20 points while fellow reserve James Jones returned to score 16 points after missing four games with a sprained right ankle.
“It felt good, as good as it can be coming back from a severe ankle sprain,” Jones said. “The adrenaline was going, the electricity was in the building and my teammates were playing hard. I mean, that drives you. I’m pretty sure I’ll feel a little bit of something later tonight or tomorrow, but it really doesn’t matter, we got a win.”
Phoenix’s reserves outscored the SuperSonics’ bench 50-16.
“We’ve got eight, nine, 10 guys who can play,” Suns coach Mike D’Antoni said, “guys who could start for other teams.”
Phoenix leaves for a five-game road trip following this game.
STANDINGS (through Dec. 22): Wizards - 2nd place, 4 GB, Southeast Division. Suns - 1st place, Pacific Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Wizards - Arenas, 28.3 ppg and 6.3 apg; Jamison, 10.8 rpg. Suns - Marion, 19.7 ppg and 11.8 rpg; Nash, 10.3 apg.
2004-05 SEASON SERIES: 1-1.
LAST MEETING: Jan. 15, 2005; Wizards, 108-103. At Washington, the Wizards used a 16-0 run in the fourth quarter to pull ahead for their seventh straight win. Juan Dixon, now with Portland, had 13 of his 26 points in the final period.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Wizards - 4-10 on the road; Suns - 10-5 at home.