Arenas Rethinks Final Shot

By Ivan Carter
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, April 28, 2008

The ball was in the hands of Gilbert Arenas with the game on the line yesterday at Verizon Center. With 5.4 seconds remaining and the Wizards down by three, DeShawn Stevenson inbounded the ball at midcourt to Arenas, who received it at the top of the key and found himself defended one-on-one by Delonte West.

Arenas squared up on West, took two dribbles to his left and released an off-balance three-point attempt that grazed the left side of the rim. On Washington's previous possession, Arenas drove around West and made a difficult fadeaway jump shot that banked in off glass and tied the game.

West answered that shot by making what turned out to be the game-winning three-pointer after a pass from LeBron James.

Arenas, who has made plenty of clutch shots in his career, was kicking himself afterward for his decision-making on his final shot. From the moment the ball left his fingertips, Arenas knew it was off target.

"I should have shot it the first time, when I bumped off" West, Arenas said of the moment when he initially received Stevenson's pass. "I should have taken that shot, but I really don't like fading back. Looking back on it, I had a better shot when I first caught the ball."

Arenas missed a potential game-tying three-pointer from almost the same spot at the end of a Game 3 loss in the 2006 first-round series against Cleveland.

Cleveland Coach Mike Brown elected not to foul on the final possession, and even though nearly everyone in the building expected that the ball would likely wind up in Arenas's hands, he didn't call for a double team.

"We said no fouls and make them take a tough shot," Brown said. "I'm not the guy that likes to foul at the end of the game. I trust my guys and I trust my defense, so I would rather them take a difficult shot at the end of the game and contest it and get the rebound than foul."

Wallace Makes His Points

Despite not making a single shot attempt and failing to score a point in 33 minutes of action, Cleveland's Ben Wallace had a major impact on the game. He finished with 12 rebounds, including 4 offensive rebounds, and added 2 assists, 2 steals and 2 blocks.

"He just doesn't care about scoring at all," LeBron James said. "He's got to be the only power forward in the NBA who can dominate a game without taking a shot and that's what he did tonight. He was big for us."

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