Even though my mountain of Christmas presents have been opened and are now scattered throughout my house and despite the opening slate of NBA games having been played after a lengthy off-season, I am left unfulfilled. The reason for this is because Gilbert Arenas, the Agent formerly known as Zero and now perceived as being a zero following his injuries and off-court antics, hasn’t yet had opportunity to suit up.
While others have been signed off of waivers and are getting minutes with their new teams, Arenas has been left untouched and unwanted. So to remind the world exactly why Gil should be at the fore of every GM’s mind, we here at Gilbertology.net have decided that until he is signed by a team we will take a look back at some of Gil’s finest scoring performances via everyone’s favourite video library, www.youtube.com.
First up is his one man show against the Phoenix Suns.
Date: 22nd December 2006
Location: US Airways Center, Phoenix, Arizona
Game: Regular season clash between the Phoenix Suns (139) and the Washington Wizards (144).
Gilbert Arenas points total: 54.
Point of note: Gilbert Arenas had been cut by Team USA in the summer before the ’06 season and stated he was going to drop 50 points on Mike D’Antoni and Nate McMillan, both of whom were assistant coaches for Team USA.
Check out the video below to see Gil shoot the lights out.
As soon as the clip starts, we hear about the ‘Scores for Schools’ scheme where every point Arenas scores, $100 is donated to a chosen school. The school in question, East Silver Spring Elementary, is about to be on the receiving end of a very generous donation courtesy of Gil’s hot hand.
12-10 Phoenix: 7:30 remaining – Gil dribbles to the high post where he backs down the smaller Nash, turns fades and fires while the Suns throw an extra defender from the top of the arc to block the shot. It hits and kinda sets the tone for the rest of the game.
14-12 Phoenix: 6:39 remaining – Arenas makes a straight cut from the right wing to the top of the key where he receives the ball and with a half-hearted Steve Nash hand in his face, he squares up and drains the jumper. Effortless.
20-18 Washington: 4:04 remaining – Gil brings the ball up, throws it cross court, jogs down to the wing where he gets the ball back again, sets himself and let’s fly a three pointer. Bottom of the bucket.
27-22 Washington: 1:48 remaining – An attempted pick and roll between team-mates sees Jamison in the post and Gil rolling out to beyond the arc. The ball reaches Arenas with one second left on the shot clock, he shoots it in rhythm and it’s another triple. When he’s on, he is ON.
33-25 Washington: 53 seconds remaining – A screen at the top of the arc frees Gil up to launch a three which is automatic.
36-28 Washington: 05.6 seconds remaining – Arenas in-bounds the ball, receives it right back, takes four aggressive dribbles which gets him into the front court. Raja Bell is shadowing him but doesn’t expect Gil to pick up his dribble, pull up from about 35 feet out, raise up and launch a shot with two seconds left. He does and it hits. “He can do it from almost anywhere on the court”. Yes, yes he can.
45-41 Washington: 7:42 remaining – The ball is launched from painted area to painted area where Arenas collects it and lays the ball off the glass.
50-49 Phoenix: 5:06 remaining – Bell, one of the premier perimeter defenders in the league in 2006 is on Gil at the top of the arc. Arenas jabs with his right foot, gathers the ball as if preparing to take a jump shot, Bell swipes at it and Gil explodes. Not literally but figuratively. The last thing he needs is a reputation as a guy who dabbles with gun powder….oh wait….
Anyway, two hard dribbles to Bell’s right and a sharp pull-up J from the free throw line.
57-54 Washington: 2:23 remaining – This time a defensive switch gives Shawn Marion the chance to lock down Arenas and enhance his reputation as one of the best defenders in the league. Gil keeps his dribble and moves towards the wing, threading the ball through his legs and forcing Marion to change his feet defensively. As soon as that happens, Gil makes his move by going into the middle of the lane, drawing the contact and making the shot.
HALF TIME: Arenas has 24 points.
64-58 Washington: 11:43 remaining – Gil drives right at Marion from the top of the arc and then pulls up in a sweet hesitation dribble, leans back slightly and draws Marion in before blowing by him. THING. OF. BEAUTY. Illegal goal tending is called on the shot.
78-67 Washington: 7:47 remaining – Gil has the ball at the top of the arc and goes iso against Marion. The ball passes through his legs as he dribbles, making Marion back peddle and giving Agentzero a clear path to the top of the key where Gil hits the jumper.
80-69 Washington: 7:05 remaining – On the elbow of the wing and with Marion on him once again, Gil pulls up about 24 feet out and hits another three. “Gilbert Arenas is putting on another clinic here”.
84-72 Washington: 5:26 remaining – Coming off two screens, Gil finds himself with a clear lane to the basket and on a hard drive he draws a foul from Bell falls to the deck and STILL hits an off balance lay up.
88-80 Washington: 3:08 remaining – Gil backs down his defender before fading away with a jumper that hits. Simple as that.
95-90 Washington: 06.8 seconds remaining – The shot clock is off and the ball is in Gil’s hands which can mean only one thing: we’re about to witness a buzzer beater. Y’know, the thing that makes great players great is that everyone watching knows how the final possession will play out and yet no-one can prevent what takes place. On the Wizards final possession, Arenas attacks Bell before pulling up and hitting the last second shot. (Check the bottom right hand corner of the screen as the seconds play out – perfect reaction by a team-mate)
103-98 Washington: 7:56 remaining – Gil uses a screen to get a relatively open look to the basket where he uses his body to shield the ball from the defender before flipping it up and in.
117-115 Phoenix: 2:45 remaining – Copy and paste an earlier field goal attempt by Gil where he dribbles towards the bucket before pulling up and canning the J. The defender, Marion in this instance, has backed off out of fear that Gil will burn him. (I waited until the fourth quarter before making weak ‘Suns temperature’ references – burn, heat, too hot, smokin’ etc. I’m proud of me even if you’re not.)
121-117 Phoenix: 1:50 remaining – Arenas puts the moves on Marion once again, actually loses control of the ball, gathers it and from about 10 feet out drills the jumper with a hand in his face.
127-124 Phoenix: 23.8 seconds remaining – Arenas in-bounds the ball inside the Suns half and gets it back where he then drives straight at Marion, draws the foul just outside the key and throws it in off the glass. Marion looks bewildered and there isn’t a single person who can blame him.
131-128 Phoenix: 2:55 remaining – Classic Arenas coming up – dribble through the legs at the top of the arc followed by a quick pull-up two point jump shot which lands. The only difference with this one is that it bangs home as opposed to swishing through the net. Shoddy technique.
136-134 Washington: 36.4 seconds remaining – Guess what happens when the shot clock is off and the ball is in Gil’s hands? If you’d guessed it was a dribble through his legs 23 feet out followed by a banked three pointer which slams off the backboard and into the basket, it would be one helluva guess and it would also be completely correct.
Gilbert Arenas finished the game 21/37 from the field, 6/12 from three point range and 6/6 from the free throw line.
It was a vintage Gilbert performance and one that showed just what a force he was back in his prime. Although those days are believed to be behind him, it still confuses me how anyone can overlook Gil in favour of four year, $12 million Travis Outlaw, especially when video like the one above exists.