And for the third time this season, Arenas used that as motivation in the fourth quarter to lead the Washington Wizards to a key win over the Celtics.
Arenas scored 38 points, including 13 in the fourth quarter, in Washington’s 108-91 victory Wednesday night.
Boston had three first-round draft selection in the 2001 draft, including the 10th and 11th picks, but Arenas wasn’t selected until Golden State took him in the second round.
“That pain from the Celtics is still in my blood,” says Arenas, who added eight rebounds, eight assists and four steals. “When they said they’d pick me with the 10th or 11th pick, they got my hopes all high. I usually hold a grudge for that.”
In each of the Wizards’ other two wins over the Celtics this year, Arenas sank a pair of game-winning free throws in the closing seconds.
The Wizards moved a step closer to qualifying for the playoffs for a second straight season. The last time Washington made the playoffs in consecutive seasons was when it had five straight berths in the 1980s, ending with the 1987-88 season.
Washington currently is fifth in the East, holds a five-game lead over ninth-place Philadelphia and has eight games remaining.
Caron Butler recorded 26 points, six rebounds and five steals for the Wizards, who have won two straight and four of six.
“It really shows how we’ve grown as a team and how the chemistry has come together,” Butler said. “It’s only going to get better. We’re going to prepare for something special.”
Paul Pierce scored 29 points for the Celtics to surpass 2,000 points on the season for the fourth time of his career, tying Larry Bird’s franchise record.
“Guys were disappointed in our play,” Pierce said. “Right now, we’re probably out of the playoff race.”
Allen intercepted Arenas’ pass and zoomed down the floor for a dunk to give the Celtics their largest lead, 78-75, with 1:03 remaining in the third quarter. But the Wizards went on a 16-2 run spanning the third and fourth quarters.
Antonio Daniels’ 3-point play with 2.4 seconds remaining in the third period put Washington up 79-78 and gave the Wizards the lead for good. Washington outscored Boston 29-13 in the fourth quarter, holding the Celtics to 3-of-14 shooting.
After Pierce drilled a 3-pointer to pull the Celtics to 91-85 midway through the fourth quarter, Arenas made one of his five 3-pointers to extend the lead and turn the game into a blowout. Arenas, who has scored at least 30 points 36 times this season, was 5-of-7 shooting in the fourth.
“Gilbert Arenas kind of put the team on his back and carried them home,” West said.
Antawn Jamison scored 13 points and Daniels added eight points and a season-high nine assists for the Wizards.
Washington led by as many as 11 in the first quarter, but Allen came off the bench and scored 12 first-half points to help the Celtics cut the deficit to 54-50 at halftime.
Washington recorded 12 steals as a team and forced 21 turnovers. … The first three games between the teams were decided by two points or less. … West blocked Brendan Haywood’s shot in the second quarter and leads NBA point guards in blocked shots with 45. … The Wizards won the season series for just the second time in eight seasons. … The Celtics are 4-13 on the second half of back-to-back games.