Wizards 84, Raptors 70

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WASHINGTON (AP)— As long as Gilbert Arenas can’t be stopped, the Washington Wizards might have a playoff push in them.

Arenas scored 27 points and Washington won for the fourth time in five games by beating the Toronto Raptors 84-70 Wednesday night.

Despite just missing his third straight 30-point game, Arenas helped the Wizards move within 4 1/2 games of the eighth playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

“Right now you can’t judge us on our record. You’ve got to judge us on how we’ve been playing,” Arenas said. “We’re on a roll, so we’re going to stay with it.”

A good strategy now that Arenas has averaged just more than 32 points per game over the last three games.

The win sets up a rare important weekend of basketball for Washington, with upcoming games against the Celtics and Knicks—teams the Wizards are chasing in the playoff picture.

“Four out of five is a pretty good accomplishment,” Washington coach Eddie Jordan said. “We see Boston and New York in sixth and seventh place in the playoff standings. We want to move up and that’s who we have to go through.”

The health of Toronto’s offense depends on the health of Vince Carter, who finished with 16 points in his second game back from a six-game absence because of an ankle injury.

In 41 minutes on Tuesday, Carter scored 27 points and helped snap Toronto’s nine-game losing streak. Carter, in his 34 minutes against the Wizards, was not as effective. He scored just four points in the second half after he said his tender ankle started to feel worse.

“It stiffened up on me a little bit tonight. I felt good early, but I just got tired, just didn’t have it,” Carter said.

“I couldn’t get much lift in the second half.”

Donyell Marshall scored 22 points to lead Toronto, which managed just 15 third-quarter points and had no response for an Arenas-led 14-3 third period run that gave the Wizards the lead for good.

Arenas had 14 points in the quarter and combined with Etan Thomas to score all of Washington’s points during the run.

Thomas finished with 15 points and 12 rebounds.

The Wizards, who blew a 21-point lead before beating New Orleans on Monday, made sure there was no letdown Wednesday.

Washington shot 25-for-32 from the line and outrebounded the Raptors 61-38, the highest rebound total allowed by Toronto in a regulation game.

Arenas and Jarvis Hayes each had 13 points at halftime and combined to score


Lonny Baxter, claimed off waivers earlier Wednesday, was in uniform for the Wizards. Baxter, who played the final 1:51, gives the Wizards their third member of the starting five that won the 2002 NCAA title at the University of Maryland. Washington already has guards Steve Blake and Juan Dixon. … Toronto has held opponents under 100 points in 21 consecutive games, one shy of thefranchise record.

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Top Performers

 Top Performers
V. Carter V. Carter
7-18,  16 Pts
4 Rebs, 5 Assists
G. Arenas G. Arenas
9-20,  27 Pts
4 Rebs, 3 Assists

Team Stat Leaders