Wizards 88, Hornets 69

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WASHINGTON (AP)—The Washington Wizards stole a victory from the New Orleans Hornets.

Gilbert Arenas had a season-high six of Washington’s season-high 20 steals in an 88-69 victory, the Wizards’ ninth in their last 11 games. The Hornets have now lost 10 in a row.

Antawn Jamison and Brendan Haywood both scored 17 points to lead the Wizards, who lead the league in steals. Arenas added 16 points and six assists.

“It wasn’t pretty at times, but defensively we got it done,” Jamison said. “We threw different things at them and made them take tough shots. Our defense was really the key today. When you’ve got guys like Gilbert and Larry (Hughes) out there stealing balls on every occasion it becomes contagious and everybody else gets into it.”

Eight Wizards had at least one steal.

“Yeah, I guess you could say we stole one,” Jamison said. “I like that.”

Hughes had four steals and scored 13 of his 15 points in the third quarter to spark Washington.

“You will cause a lot of turnovers when you get out and are running and jumping and doing some things to mess them up,” said Hughes, who leads the league with 56 steals. “We wanted to get in the passing lanes and make them do things they didn’t want to do.”

Reserves Junior Harrington and Dan Dickau both scored 14 points to lead the Hornets. New Orleans tied a franchise-high with 33 total turnovers, including three team turnovers, which the Wizards converted into 30 points.

“They applied pressure and we panicked,” said David Wesley, who finished with 12 points, five turnovers and four assists. “We started gambling and it gives you energy when you start causing turnovers and getting transitions. The game got out of hand.”

Added Hornets coach Byron Scott: “When you have 33 turnovers it is going to be hard to win the basketball game. What they were able to do was just beat our guys up. We are not used to that.”

Kwame Brown returned to the Wizards after serving a one-game club suspension, finishing with six points and four rebounds in 20 minutes. He was suspended for refusing to join the huddle during a timeout in Wednesday’s loss to Denver.

“It’s a luxury to have big Haywood and then have Kwame come in and be physical,” Jamison said. “What he brings offensively and defensively is something that we definitely need. We’re ready to go on a West Coast trip and we’re going to need his tough play on both sides of the ball.”

The Wizards opened the fourth period with a 9-2 run, capped by Hughes’ layup for a 75-55 lead with 9:10 left. The Hornets had used a 14-2 run at the end of the third quarter, capped by Harrington’s three-point play, to make the game close.

New Orleans’ run came after Washington went on a 18-0 run, giving the Wizards a 60-39 lead midway through the third period. Arenas made a flashy behind-the-back pass to Hughes, who assisted Haywood on a layup, to cap Washington’s run.

The Hornets lost point guard Alex Garcia with 8:29 remaining in the third quarter when he twisted his left knee. The extent of his injury was not immediately clear.

Notes

The Hornets signed Lonny Baxter and put David West on the injured list with a bruised right knee. Baxter, a 6-8 forward from nearby Maryland, was averaging 16.3 points, 13 rebounds and 1.3 blocks in six games with the CBA’s Yakima Sun Kings. … The Wizards’ Arenas, Jamison and Hughes entered the game as the highest-scoring trio on one team in the league, averaging 63.5 points per game. … The Wizards are 9-0 when holding opponents to less than 100 points. … The banged-up Hornets lost 75 games to injury or illness in their first 18 games. Baron Davis, Jamal Magliore, Jamal Mashburn and Rodney Rogers are on the injured list.

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Top Performers

 Top Performers
 New Orleans
P.J. Brown P.J. Brown
3-9,  13 Pts
10 Rebs, 3 Assists
 Washington
L. Hughes L. Hughes
6-18,  15 Pts
9 Rebs, 5 Assists

Team Stat Leaders

Points
Rebounds
Assists