Originally created 12/19/06

Arenas steals Kobe's show



LOS ANGELES - On the same court where Kobe Bryant reigns, Gilbert Arenas went on a spectacular scoring spree of his own - with Bryant futilely trying to guard him.

Putting the ball through the hoop on a dazzling array of drives and jumpers, Arenas scored 60 points, the most in the NBA this season and a Washington Wizards franchise record. Bryant had a mere 45 for the Lakers in the Wizards' 147-141 overtime victory.

"It felt great because all of my friends here are Kobe fans," said Arenas, who grew up in the area and attended high school in suburban Van Nuys.

Arenas broke the franchise record of 56 points set by Earl Monroe on Feb. 13, 1968 - also against the Lakers in overtime - when the Wizards were the Baltimore Bullets.

He also became a member of an elite club of two: Wilt Chamberlain had been the only player to score 60 or more against the Lakers, a feat he accomplished seven times - the last a 65-point effort 40 years ago.

Bryant is one of the NBA's better defensive players. Asked why Arenas was able to rack up so many points Sunday night, Bryant said, "First of all, he shot 27 free throws. We as a team shot 30. Think about that."

The Wizards attempted 60 free throws, making 47. The Lakers were 24-of-30 from the line.

"But him individually, it's funny," Bryant said. "He doesn't seem to have much of a conscience. I really don't think he does. Some of the shots he took tonight, you miss those, and they're just terrible shots. Awful.

"You make them and they're unbelievable shots. I don't get a chance to play him much, so I haven't gotten used to that mentality of just chucking it up there. He made some big ones, but I'll be ready next time."

Bryant was coming off a 53-point outing, and his 81-point game in January ranks second in NBA history - behind Chamberlain's 100-point performance.

Arenas, who outscored Bryant 16-4 in overtime, went 17-of-32 from the floor, including 5-of-12 from beyond the arc, and made 21-of-27 free throws. He also had eight assists and eight rebounds.

"That's what he does," said teammate Caron Butler, a former Laker who scored 27 points. "He makes big plays and he was incredible. He came back home, played his game and he wasn't forcing anything. He just had a hot hand."

Bryant had 10 assists and eight rebounds to go with his 45 points. He shot 15-of-24 including 7-of-11 from 3-point range.

Arenas, whose previous career high was 47 against Miami last December, wasn't particularly surprised to hit 60. He scored 43 after halftime.

"It was bound to happen," he said. "I'm a scorer, so I was going to have one of those days where I was clicking. Most of the time when I've scored 46 in three quarters, we were blowing the other team out, so I didn't get to play in the fourth.

"But tonight was that time. It was a close game and I stayed in. I found the rhythm, especially in the fourth quarter and in overtime, and I never looked back."