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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Agent Zero sits out of Wizards’ loss

    Washington Wizards point guard Gilbert Arenas, left, sits on the bench with forward Caron Butler during the second half of a 124-115 loss to the Indiana Pacers in Canseco Fieldhouse on Sunday night. Arenas, a former Wildcat, did not play, although he made his season debut Saturday night against Detriot.
    Washington Wizards point guard Gilbert Arenas, left, sits on the bench with forward Caron Butler during the second half of a 124-115 loss to the Indiana Pacers in Canseco Fieldhouse on Sunday night. Arenas, a former Wildcat, did not play, although he made his season debut Saturday night against Detriot.

    INDIANAPOLISÿ- Former Arizona Wildcat Gilbert Arenas didn’t join his team on the bench in Canseco Fieldhouse until halftime on Sunday night, but he never checked into the game.

    It was known that the Washington Wizards would be without Arenas, who made his season debut Saturday in a loss to Detroit after missing 11 months of action.

    Arenas scored 15 points and dished out 10 assists in 29 minutes against Detroit. It was a huge outing for the player who missed 156 of his last 173 games and had three surgeries over an 18-month span.

    He came out in his warmup gear at halftime, but never made an entrance into the game. Instead, he watched the lowly Wizards (17-58) fall 124-115 to the Indiana Pacers (31-43).

    Washington currently has the second-worst record in the NBA and is the only Eastern Conference team to be eliminated from playoff contention already.

    “”I was just out there watching the game, supporting the team,”” Arenas said.

    The point guard said he is in his last phase of his rehab – testing the progress he has made. He will play in games, but not in back-to-back games.

    His reasoning for coming back so late in the season was that a player can get injured in virtually any game.

    “”At the end of the day, you know, I can play now, or I can play at the beginning of (next) season and get hurt,”” Arenas said. “”Who knows? You never go out there until you test it.””

    Javaris Crittenton started in Arenas’ place. He scored 19 points on 8-for-14 shooting.

    As Arenas walked out of the visitors’ locker room, he called out to Crittenton, who was buttoning his shirt in the corner of the room.

    “”You would have gone perfect from the field if all your shots were layups,”” Arenas said with a smile.

    What the Wizards really needed, however, was more ball distribution. They finished the game with just 10 assists on 36 field goals – seven coming in the second half – compared to the Pacers’ 26 assists on 49 field goals.

    “”Ten assists where were scored (115) points,”” said Wizards’ coach Ed Tapscott. “”That’s out of proportion. So that means we didn’t do a good enough job of sharing the ball at the right time.

    “”We need to take note of the fact that we need to make plays for each other, not just for ourselves,”” Tapscott added. “”My-turn basketball is not often winning basketball.””

    Indiana went into halftime with a 59-52 lead behind Brandon Rush’s 15 first-half points on 6-for-10 shooting.

    Rush tacked on 14 more points in the second half, starting with a 21-footer from, extending their lead to double digits, 63-52.

    Rush’s 29 points matched a career-high.

    “”We know that Rush has been on a tare here lately,”” Tapscott said. “”He’s shooting the ball with great confidence. … Confidence is a wonderful thing when you have it; it’s a terrible thing when you lose it.””

    Added Pacers coach Jim O’Brien: “”It’s amazing what confidence will do.””

    Rush had help from forward Danny Granger, who scored a game-high 31 points and made 4-of-6 3-pointers. His contribution helped put the Pacers up by 22 in the last quarter.

    “”It definitely gives me more room because all the defenses zone in on Danny all the time,”” Rush said. “”Somebody else is going to have to step up.””

    Jarrett Jack (19 point), Roy Hibbert (12) and Rasho Nesterovic (10) wrapped up the quintet that scored in double digits for Indiana.

    As for Arenas, he said his body hurt Sunday, but his knee was fine.

    “”The body felt like I had been through a war,”” he said. “”It’s just not running. I haven’t pushed my body like that in almost a year now.””

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