Gilbert Arenas is establishing himself as one of the best clutch players in the league.
One night after missing a potential game-winner in a loss to Portland, Arenas made a running bank shot in the lane at the buzzer to give the Wizards (37-29) a 108-106 victory over Seattle on Wednesday.
“Same type of game, but not the same ending, though,” Arenas said. “Tonight I had a chance to redeem myself and did.”
It was Arenas’ fourth game-winning shot of the season, and it gave him 42 points, his ninth game with at least 40 points this season. Washington is 8-1 in those contests.
“You have to pick your poison,” coach Eddie Jordan said. “Are you going to double (Arenas) and allow Antawn (Jamison) or Darius (Songaila) to be open? Or are you going to play him 1-on-1 and hope to get help?”
Golden State (32-37) chose a significantly worse option when these teams last met March 4. Leading by two points with 2.9 seconds left in the game, the Warriors fouled a driving Arenas and coach Don Nelson got whistled for a technical when he protested the foul call. Arenas made the two foul shots and the technical free throw with a tenth of a second remaining to give the Wizards a 107-106 win.
Arenas has topped 30 points in his last three games against his former team, averaging 39.0 points and leading Washington to victory each time.
His game-winner Wednesday allowed Washington to maintain its half-game lead over Miami for the top spot in the Southeast Division.
The Wizards have won three of four since losing to the Heat on March 11, with Arenas averaging 35.7 points and 8.7 assists in those victories. He was held to 19 points and shot 4-of-16 from the field in a loss at Portland on Tuesday.
The team which drafted Arenas in 2001 is fighting for a playoff spot.
Golden State is a half-game back of the Los Angeles Clippers for the eighth and final postseason berth in the Western Conference.
The Warriors had won three straight and six of seven before losing 104-100 to Utah on Tuesday. It was their first defeat with point guard Baron Davis in the lineup since he missed 13 games with a knee injury.
Davis had 20 points and seven assists Tuesday, but the Warriors blew an early 15-point lead and were outscored 28-18 in the fourth quarter.
“This was a game where we just needed a little more focus, a little more determination to get over the hump,” said Al Harrington, who had 27 points with a career-high seven 3-pointers. “It’s very upsetting because we needed this game.”
Golden State looks to bounce back as it goes for a fifth straight home win. The Warriors are 24-10 at Oracle Arena this season, the best home record among sub-.500 teams in the NBA.
The Wizards, meanwhile, have the fewest road wins among teams above .500. They are 12-20 away from home, but have won two of three road games since dropping five straight.
The potential return of All-Star forward Caron Butler could help Washington as it enters the third game of a season-high five-game road trip. Butler, who has missed the last three games with a left knee injury, has rejoined the team but his status for Friday’s game is uncertain. Washington is 2-4 without him this season.