WASHINGTON – Gilbert Arenas scored 13 of his 29 points in the fourth quarter, and the Washington Wizards overcame an 11-point deficit in the final period Friday night to beat the Milwaukee Bucks 116-111.

Arenas also had 11 assists and scored the last six points for the Wizards, who recovered from a miserable third quarter to improve to 3-0 at home.

Antawn Jamison added 24 points, including a fortuitous layup in the final two minutes after he grabbed an airball by teammate Caron Butler. The layup gave the Wizards a 108-106 lead, and Butler fed Jamison with a more conventional pass on the next possession to make it a four-point lead. Washington stayed ahead the rest of the way.

Michael Redd scored 28 points to lead the Bucks, who have lost three straight. Charlie Villanueva added 18, and Andrew Bogut had 15 before fouling out with 1:47 to play.

The Wizards made just three field goals in the third quarter and trailed 91-80 with 9:51 to play, but Butler made a three-point play and later made three free throws after getting fouled while attempting a 3-pointer in a run that put Washington ahead 101-99 with 4:42 remaining.

The lead seesawed for the next few minutes until Jamison’s two layups began a game-ending 10-5 run.

Arenas and Redd had 43 points apiece the last time the Bucks and Wizards played, a Washington victory that determined playoff seeding on the next-to-last day of the regular season in April. This time, Arenas got started quickly, outscoring Redd 11-2 in the first quarter, but the Milwaukee guard made up ground with a 14-point second quarter. The Wizards led 59-51 at halftime, but Arenas and Redd were tied at 16.

The Wizards built their lead with open 3-point shots from Arenas, Jamison and Jarvis Hayes, who combined to make seven of 10 beyond the arc in the first half.

The Wizards led by as many as 16 in the second quarter, but Redd and Bogut scored 12 of the Bucks’ last 14 points to pull within eight at the break.

Milwaukee kept the momentum in the third quarter, stifling the Wizards with a matchup zone. Unable to get into any kind of offensive flow, the Wizards went 3-for-16 from the field – including 0-for-5 from Arenas – and stayed in the game only by making 11 of 15 free throws.

Meanwhile, the Bucks sliced through the Wizards’ forgiving defense to score 18 points in the paint in the quarter to take an 85-76 lead going into the fourth.

Notes: Arenas had become the first NBA player since Wilt Chamberlain to score 40-plus points in his first two home games, but that streak stopped Friday night. Chamberlain scored 40-plus in four straight to open 1962-63 season. … Think it’s so unusual to see the Rutgers football team undefeated this late in the season? Not so for Wizards coach Eddie Jordan. He was at the school when it went 11-0 in 1976, the same year he played on the Scarlet Knights basketball team that went 31-0 before losing in the Final Four. “We won more games,” he said with a grin. … A seed planted in stone? That’s the mental picture Jordan created as he scrambled his metaphors while trying to describe the Wizards’ work-in-progress defense. “If you’re going to grow a different plant, you have to wait for that thing to break to seed and come up through the soil and then sprout,” Jordan said. “We’re laying a new foundation. We’ve got to let that thing set in stone, let it dry, and we’ll go from there.”

AP-ES-11-10-06 2200EST



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