PHILADELPHIA (AP) -Gilbert Arenas and the Washington Wizards were able to overcome a major distraction and a large deficit.
Antawn Jamison tied his season-high with 32 points and had 14 rebounds, Nick Young scored 21 points and the Wizards rallied from 18 points down in a 104-97 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday night.
Arenas had 19 points and a season-high 14 assists and Andray Blatche scored 12 for the Wizards, who snapped a four-game losing streak and improved to 3-0 against the Sixers this season.
And they accomplished the feat despite some extremely serious legal issues for the player known as Agent Zero.
``They were on me before any of this happened,' Arenas said. ``They're on everybody. I've got to go to Cleveland tomorrow. They're worse.'
One day after voluntarily meeting with law enforcement officials to explain why he had guns at the Verizon Center last month, Arenas was in the starting lineup for the Wizards.
In his statement Monday, Arenas repeated his earlier assertion that he brought four guns to the Verizon Center to store in his locker in order to get them out of his house and away from his children. Arenas told federal authorities that he believed recent changes in D.C. law made it legal for him to store unloaded guns at the arena.
The New York Post recently reported that Arenas and teammate Javaris Crittenton drew guns on each other.
Before the game, Wizards coach Flip Saunders called Arenas' legal issue a distraction, and added, ``I think right now, we're anxious to go out and play.'
Arenas played in just 15 games the past two seasons after three operations on his left knee. This season, Arenas has played in all 32 games and entered this game averaging a team-best 22.7 points.
Andre Iguodala scored 20 points, Samuel Dalembert had season-highs of 20 points and 20 rebounds and Lou Williams added 19 points for the Sixers, who were coming off a 3-3 road trip.
``It's tough. It's crazy,' Dalembert said. ``Teams are very good in this league when given new life and oxygen.'
A dunk by Dalembert gave the Sixers a 90-86 lead with 5:52 remaining, but the Wizards responded with a 10-0 run - with eight points coming from Young - to take a 96-90 lead.
``It's 2010 and a good way to start the new year,' Young said.
After Williams hit a short jumper, Jamison converted a layup on an assist from Arenas and Caron Butler made an 18-footer for a 100-92 advantage with 2:01 left.
``We finally got it clicking in the fourth,' Arenas said. ``That's where we usually falter. We made key baskets. We made key stops. We helped each other out and we pulled this one out.'
Before the game, the Sixers guaranteed Allen Iverson's contract for the rest of the season. Iverson, who was signed as a free agent on Dec. 3, had just four points and five assists in 34 minutes.
Philadelphia is 4-6 with Iverson in the lineup. The 34-year-old also sat out four games with arthritis in his left knee.
The Sixers held an 18-point lead early in the third quarter, but the Wizards finished with a 30-14 run to get within 80-78 at the end. Jamison scored 16 points in the quarter.
Philadelphia shot 62 percent from the field in the first half (24-for-39) and took a 58-44 lead at halftime.
``We just gave it away,' Iverson said. ``It was like a late Christmas present to them.'
NOTES: Wizards G Mike Miller (strained right calf) and C Brendan Haywood (ill) were late scratches. ... The Sixers had 17 assists in the first team, the most in any half this season. ... Washington F Antawn Jamison was whistled for a technical foul with 1:41 left in the third quarter. ... Villanova coach Jay Wright attended the game.
The Associated Press News Service
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