WASHINGTON (AP)—Leave it to Gilbert Arenas to come up with yet another way to stand out from the crowd: Before launching a shot these days, he’ll make a reference to a small cooking stove usually heated by charcoal.
That’s right: Arenas yells, “Hibachi!” then lets the ball fly. After letting his teammates get going Friday night, Arenas started shouting and shooting, and he wound up with 33 points and 10 assists to lead the Washington Wizards past the Charlotte Bobcats 121-109.
“He says it every time he shoots. Everybody hears it—whenever Gilbert talks, everybody hears,” said Caron Butler, who added 24 points for Washington. “He really was screaming it this morning in the shootaround, so ‘hibachi’ it is. He’s on fire, so ‘hibachi.”’
Antawn Jamison added 22 points and, for the first game this season, every Wizards starter scored in double figures. They improved to 6-2 at home; they’re 0-7 on the road.
“Everybody was sharing the ball and everyone was making shots. We feel good about ourselves,” said Arenas, who compiled six assists before he made a field goal. “That’s how we look when we’re good.”
He tends to be good, particularly at home, where he’s averaging 33 points— compared to 18.7 on the road. Arenas also has a way of distinguishing himself, from his number (zero), to throwing a jersey into the crowd after games, to playing online poker at halftime, to having the air in his house thinned so it always feels above sea level.
So it shouldn’t be all that surprising that he’s come up with a new form of trash talking.
“You know, a hibachi grill gets real hot. That’s what my shot’s like, so I’ve been calling it that: ‘Welcome to the hibachi,”’ Arenas said.
He had plenty of help Friday the other members of Washington’s so-called Big Three, the formula the club counted on last season.
“They’re very tough, especially when Gilbert is going, and then you’ve got a guy like Caron, who can always hurt you. And there’s the guy who’s been doing it for years, Antawn,” Charlotte’s Adam Morrison said. “They’ve got such a good perimeter game that it makes it tough all the way around.”
Morrison scored 23 points on the day he was honored as Eastern Conference rookie of the month, and Brevin Knight added 22 points and nine assists.
“I love the kid,” Arenas said about Morrison. “He’s an old Larry Bird throwback, from the hair, the way he walks.”
Charlotte began its previous game, a loss to Atlanta on Wednesday, by missing its first 13 field-goal attempts, the worst start to an NBA game since 2004. And Charlotte came in tied for 27th in the league with a 92.1-point team scoring average.
But the Bobcats set season highs for points in a half (63 in the first) and game. Here’s another indication of what the offense was like: Nine of the game’s 10 starters reached double figures in points; Charlotte’s Primoz Brezec only scored eight in 15 minutes, but even he was 3-for-3 from the field.
The Wizards led 31-30 after the first quarter, during which Butler, Etan Thomas and DeShawn Stevenson went a combined 12-for-12 from the field. Butler did, however, miss his second free-throw attempt, ending his streak of consecutive foul shots made at 33.
“It was just a scoring-fest in the first half,” Wizards coach Eddie Jordan said. “We couldn’t stop anybody. They couldn’t stop us.”
The Bobcats lost for the fourth time in their last five games and fell to an NBA-worst 4-12. Coach Bernie Bickerstaff pointed to one statistic: His team committed 22 turnovers (six more than Washington) that led to 33 points.
“And, you know, the Wizards aren’t the type of team that puts a lot of pressure on you,” Bickerstaff said. “We’re the culprits.”
Two nights after his first NBA game without a single rebound, Charlotte’s Emeka Okafor grabbed 13. … Starting Saturday at Chicago, Washington plays three of its next four games on the road, where the team will try to avoid what would be a club-record 0-8 mark. … Fans jeered when Bobcats F Gerald Wallace finished an uncontested breakaway with a layup instead of a dunk in the second quarter. “They booed him for not dunking the ball. They know he’s a high flyer,” Arenas said. “I was sitting there booing, too.”