PHOENIX (AP)—The Washington Wizards are the NBA’s streak-busters.
Arenas capped a 54-point night by banking in a 3-pointer from the top of the key with 30.7 seconds left in overtime and the Wizards beat the Suns 144-139.
He didn’t call bank, he said, but wasn’t surprised it went in.
“The way I was going,” Arenas said, “I knew it was good.”
The Wizards have snapped the two longest winning streaks in the league this season, earlier ending Dallas’ 11-game string with a victory in Washington.
“That just goes to show you how talented we are,” the Wizards’ Caron Butler said.
Arenas’ output was the second-most points ever scored against Phoenix. Only Wilt Chamberlain scored more, 66 for the Lakers in February 1969 in the Suns’ first season.
“He wants to win,” Washington coach Eddie Jordan said. “He wants to show he’s going to be one of the greatest of all time.”
Steve Nash matched his career high with 42 points and had 12 assists, and Shawn Marion added 28 points and 13 rebounds for the Suns, who rallied from 15 points down in the second half to send the game into overtime.
But Butler scored 10 of his 34—one shy of his career best—in the extra session to help Washington to its eighth victory in 10 games.
The Suns arrived a little over two hours before tipoff after being snowed in for two nights in Denver, and couldn’t quite overcome an offensive onslaught by Arenas that brought an end to the NBA’s longest winning streak in seven seasons.
“It’s obviously not ideal to be on a bus for three hours and on a plane and come straight to the arena not smelling our best and not in our pressed linens,” Nash said. “But that’s the hand we were dealt. Maybe that did us in a bit tonight.”
Arenas started the Wizards’ four-game western trip with a career-high 60 points against the Lakers and wrapped it up with his second-best career output.
He converted a three-point play after he was fouled on a running one-handed 9-foot bank shot to tie it at 127 with 20.9 seconds to play in regulation. Nash missed a 3-pointer, then Marion and Amare Stoudemire missed rebound attempts and the game went into overtime.
“We had our chances,” Suns coach Mike D’Antoni said, “and didn’t get it done in regulation. You have to give Gilbert Arenas credit. He made some big shots.”
Arenas, admittedly carrying a grudge after being cut from the U.S. team for this year’s world championships, pounded his chest and appeared to stare into the stands at Jerry Colangelo several times after making big plays. Colangelo, the Suns’ chairman and ex-owner, is the head of USA Basketball.
He also stared down D’Antoni after sinking a 37-footer at the first-quarter buzzer. But Arenas said he was not upset with D’Antoni and insisted he didn’t even know Colangelo was in the building.
“When you’re on fire, you’re on fire,” Arenas said of his showmanship. “We’ve shown the world that we can compete with these good teams out here.”
In a game that resembled the Suns’ 161-157 double-overtime thriller at New Jersey on Dec. 7, Arenas was 21-of-37 from the field, 6-of-12 on 3-pointers.
The sixth of Nash’s seven 3-pointers—in 15 attempts—tied it at 134 with 1:20 left in overtime, but Butler scored inside to put Phoenix ahead 136-134 1:04 from the finish.
Phoenix took a 131-128 lead early on the overtime on Stoudemire’s inside basket, but he missed the free throw for what would have been a three-point play, then Arenas sank a 22-footer to cut it to 131-130. Butler’s eight-footer put Washington up 139-134 with 30.7 seconds to go.
The lead changed hands 10 times in a torrid 4-minute span in the fourth quarter before Marion’s 12-footer put Phoenix ahead 119-117 with 2:14 to play. After Stoudemire blocked Butler’s shot, Nash made two free throws to boost it 121-117 with 1:59 left.
Jarvis Hayes sank a 3-pointer to cut the lead to 123-122 with 1:04 left, then Stoudemire’s reverse stuff made it 125-122. Arenas made two free throws to cut it to 125-124 with 36.6 seconds to play.
Nash sank two more free throws to boost the lead to 127-124 with 23.9 seconds left.
The Suns had to take a three-hour bus ride to Colorado Springs to meet their charter flight back home on Friday. They arrived at U.S. Airways Center at 6:15 p.m., 2 hours and 15 minutes before tipoff.
Phoenix is 33-4 at home against Eastern Conference teams since Nash joined the Suns in 2004, and two of the losses have been to Washington. … The Wizards topped 100 points for the 10th consecutive game. … Arenas was 6-for-11 shooting in the first quarter, 4-of-6 on 3-pointers. … Jumaine Jones, who hadn’t played in the last five games for Phoenix, saw action in the second quarter. … D’Antoni and Nash each drew technical fouls.