Date: 15th January 2007
Location: Verizon Center, Washington, D.C.
Game: Regular season match-up between the Washington Wizards (114) and the Utah Jazz (111).
Gilbert Arenas points total: 51
Point of note: This game was held on Dr Martin Luther King Jr. day
2-0 Utah: 10:33 remaining – Gil has the ball about 16 feet out with his back to the basket. A couple of back down dribbles later, Gil turns, fades and fires with Deron Williams in his face and hits. The tone for the rest of the game has just been set.
4-4 Tied: 8:54 remaining – As the shot clock runs down to eight, Gil is on the wing with the ball in his hands. Arenas looks for any kind of opening but with the clock at 3 he takes a dribble to his left and shoots a three. The ball goes through as the shot clock buzzer sounds.
8-7 Utah: 8:03 remaining – A simple give and go gifts Gil a golden opportunity which he gladly takes, guiding the ball in for three. Today’s sentence has been sponsored by the letter G and the number 0.
Once again we’re reminded of the side of Gil that has often been overlooked: His generous side. Nominated learning centre, William Wirt Middle School, is the game’s recipient of $100 for every point Arenas gets.
20-18 Utah: 3:49 remaining – You know what was written a moment ago about the bucket off of the give and go? Yeah, well just re-read it because it happens again.
56-43 Utah: 59.0 remaining – Arenas drives to the basket, his defender leans on his back but Gil is still able to finish at the rim. What started off as beating just his own man turned into blowing by two men and finishing over a third.
60-51 Utah: 9:28 remaining – Gilbert steals the entry pass, gets his head down and drives the full length of the court where he draws another foul off of Brewer before finishing at the rim.
66-61 Utah: 6:14 remaining – This play is created by Arenas’ crossover on the wing but helped by the fact that instead of playing defence, Ronnie Brewer stumbles around like a hapless drunk, fouling Gil and then inadvertently clearing the path to the rim by blocking Kirilenko which allowed Gil to convert an uncontested lay-up. And talking of Kirilenko…
69-66 Utah: 4:30 remaining – Agent Zero takes the lengthy Russian for a native Khorovod dance before driving baseline and hitting the lay-up on the opposite side of the rim.
69-68 Utah: 4:10 remaining – A baseline inbounds play finds Gil a couple of feet behind the three point line. He drills it. A fan holds up a sign saying ‘Arenas = MVP’.
80-78 Washington: 15.8 seconds remaining – Arenas streaks down the court off of the Jazz miss where he lays it up and in despite Kirilenko swooping in for the block.
99-96 Utah: 3:16 remaining – “Casual [ˈkæʒjʊəl] adj: being or seeming unconcerned or apathetic” – that pretty much summed up Gil’s attitude when he dribbled back out to the three point line before taking a step in and nailing the jumper with the defender on him.
104-100: Utah: 2:15 remaining – Gil no worry about screen on perimeter no working. Gil shoot ball anyway and watch ball touch net only.
106-103: Utah: 1:47 remaining – Give + go + screen = open look from 3. Which Gil cans in typical Gil fashion.
111-111 Tied: 10.4 remaining – The ball is in Gilbert’s hands at just over centre court. Deron Williams is no more than a foot away from Gil which, considering he’s about 40 feet from the basket, tells you everything you need to know about the damage the Jazz fear Arenas could do.
Gil has the ball held away from Deron like an old brother holding a younger brother’s favourite toy away from him in order to tease him, while the younger brother looks to knock it loose. And then it happens:
With the shot clock turned off and only five seconds the difference between a W or an overtime session, Arenas spins to his right and Williams jumps off of him, allowing Gil only a little space to operate but that is all he needs. He threads the ball through his leg with the same unconscious thought that we use to breathe, there’s a slight hesitation in his dribble, less than a millisecond and then he explodes. One hard dribble to get to the three point line and then he stops, pops and it drops. GAME OVER.
The true beauty of the shot and the defining moment of the play is that as the ball was still in the air Arenas raised his arms and began to turn his back in triumph.
Some may describe his actions as pure confidence, some as pure arrogance. We can all agree though, that it was definitely pure Arenas.