Wizards 106, Cavaliers 88
CLEVELAND (AP)—Now that they’re finally relatively healthy, the Washington Wizards want to get their sickly record looking better.
“Now we’re whole again, and it really feels good,” said Stackhouse, back for his fourth game after missing 45 following knee surgery. “We’re piecing everyone back together.”
Stackhouse added 11 assists and Kwame Brown had 20 points and 10 rebounds to help the Wizards (16-33) win away from home for the first time since Dec. 6 in Milwaukee.
“This is the team we’ve been waiting to see all year,” said Washington coach Eddie Jordan, who has had to use 16 different starting lineups because of injuries. “A lot of our young guys played really well tonight, and that was the result of the experience they got with Gilbert and Stack out.”
Arenas missed 26 games with a strained abdomen and was playing just his third game since coming off the injured list. He scored only one point in the first quarter before taking over.
He scored 15 points in the third and also did a nice job shutting down Cavs rookie LeBron James, who lit up the Wizards for a season-high 38 points a week ago while Arenas was out.
“I’ve been sitting too long and it felt great to fill it up again,” Arenas said.
James scored 14 points, but went just 3-for-10 after scoring eight points in first quarter.
Before being benched with just under six minutes to go, James went 1-for-5 in the fourth period with Arenas draped all over him. In his last seven games, James is shooting just 16 percent (7-of-45) in the final period.
“We came out so flat,” James said. “We didn’t have a lot of energy. The fatigue factor really kicked in tonight.”
Arenas’ 15 points in the third quarter matched Cleveland’s team total in the period, as the Wizards opened a 15-point lead entering the fourth.
Arenas sandwiched a pair of 3-pointers around another jumper and scored 13 points in the final 5:50 of the third to give Washington a 78-63 lead.
“That’s why he’s one of the best point guards in the league,” Cavs forward Eric Williams said.
Cleveland was still hanging around in the first minutes of the fourth, but Arenas’ 3-pointer with 6:26 left made it 93-71 and fans in Gund Arena started heading for the exits.
The Wizards missed their first five shots and had four turnovers as the Cavs built a nine-point lead in the second quarter.
However, after being slapped with a technical foul for trash talking with Ilgauskas, Arenas scored seven points in the final 2:22 to help Washington move within 48-45 at halftime.
Following Arenas’ technical, the Wizards outscored the Cavs 68-43.
“The Tasmanian Devil came out in me,” Arenas said of his technical. “Iguess I did go on a little tear there.”
Cleveland had consecutive sellouts for the first time since Jan. 1998. … Like most NBA followers, Cavs coach Paul Silas has been shocked by the turnover of coaches around the league—especially in the Eastern Conference. Silas can’t figure out why it’s happening. “Let’s just hope my four-year deal works out,” joked Silas, in his first year with Cleveland after being fired by New Orleans. … Wizards starting G Larry Hughes sprained his left wrist in the first quarter and did not return. The team said it has been bothering him for some time. … James had averaged 27.7 points, 7.0 assists and 7.0 rebounds in his first three games against Washington. … The Wizards outrebounded Cleveland, the NBA’s top rebounding team, 54-39. … The Cavs will play Boston on Monday night in Ricky Davis’ first game in Cleveland since being traded tothe Celtics on Dec. 15.