Gilbert vs. The Combustible Couple
With no game to help him quickly bounce back from his awful shooting night in the season opener, Gilbert Arenas took out his aggression the only way he could -- on teammates James Lang and Andray Blatche. A day after he shot a miserable 2-for-12 and scored just seven points against Cleveland, Arenas stopped Blatche and Lang after practice Thursday and asked, "Okay, y'all wanna do this?"
One-on-two. Arenas against the youngster. First one to seven.
"Bet. Bet," Blatche shot back.
What followed was pure hilarity, as Arenas took advantage of the young duo of Lang and Blatche, which proved to be more combustible than Kobe and Shaq or Donovan and T.O. For some reason, Lang and Blatche forgot that they were both taller than 6-10, that Gilbert was just 6-3, and that it was freaking one-on-two! They refused to post up Arenas or share the ball. Instead, they feuded while Arenas scored and scored -- and cheated a little -- and scored some more. Here's how it went:
Arenas grabbed a ball and lined up around the three-point arc. Blatche was up on him defending, while Lang sagged back. Arenas quickly dribbled left, two took dribbles and split the duo for a layup off the glass: 1-0, Gil.
Arenas got the ball back and faced down Blatche. Arenas dribbled in, took a step and missed a pull-up jumper, but he noticed that Lang was camped out in the lane. "That's three seconds! You've got to get out of the lane."
Blatche didn't pay Arenas any attention. He passed the ball to Lang, then, in what would prove to be a rare display of teamwork, the duo played keep away with Arenas, throwing the ball over his head four times until Blatche laid it in: 1-1.
"If he gets the ball back, y'all better quit," Antonio Daniels said from behind the baseline.
Next possession, Blatche canned a jumper: 2-1, Combustible Couple.
Then, Blatche dribbled inside and fed the ball to Lang. But as Lang tried to back the ball inside, Arenas reached in and slapped the ball - and a good portion of Lang's wrist. The ball rolled out of bounds. "Out on James," referee Daniels screamed. "Gil's ball."
Lang shook his head in disbelief. He knew at the very least, they were supposed to get the ball, especially after he got hammered. After Lang and Blatche protested to the official, Daniels shouted, "Shoot for it, 'Dray!"
Blatche buried the three pointer to retain possession, then he posted up Arenas. He backed him down until Arenas stumbled back and nearly hit the ground. "That's not a foul. He's flopping," Lang said, before taking a pass from Blatche on the left block and knocking down a pretty bank shot: 3-1, Combustible Couple.
That, unfortunately was the end of the pleasantries for Blatche and Lang. When Blatche drove toward the hoop the next trip, Arenas clobbered Blatche and grabbed the ball away. "Good D, Gil!" Daniels said. No foul. (Lang would later add another layup to make the score 4-1, but Arenas complains that Lang had been in the lane for three seconds. The bucket should've count, but no one noticed).
After Arenas scored back-to-back buckets, Lang, feeling cheated by Arenas and Daniels, dropped his hands and said, "This ain't fair!"
Then, after both sides traded possessions a few times, Lang turned his frustration to Blatche, who refused to pass him the ball. "I don't want him," Lang said.
"You need some help," Arenas said, before driving to the basket on Blatche. Blatche intentionally fouled Arenas, bumping him to ground. Daniels said, "Foul on 'Dray!" Except Arenas didn't stop playing. He grabbed the loose ball and scored while Lang and Blatche weren't looking: 4-3, Gil.
Daniels then said, "If Gil wins this game, we will hear this. . ."
After Arenas missed a layup, Blatche grabbed the rebound and tried to score. Arenas fouled him again. Arenas refused to respect the call but Lang is fed up because, with it being two-on-one - hello? - he was wide open. Lang shouted, "I quit, man."
In frustration over not having his foul call respected, Blatche grabbed the ball, channeled his inner Adam Vinatieri, and booted the ball about 70 feet toward the other end of the court.
After Lang and Blatche settled down, Arenas grabbed another ball and scored on a driving layup. 5-3, Gil.
"Bust them, Gil," Daniels shouted.
Lang then asked Calvin Booth, who was sitting in a chair along the baseline, for the score. "5-3," he said.
"No, it's 5-4," Lang said. "I scored two points."
While Lang and Blatche argue with Booth, Arenas zips by for an uncontested layup: 6-3.
Lang is ready to leave at this point. He began to head up the stairs before Daniels said, "You're a bigger man than that."
Lang then looked at Blatche, angry that he refused to pass throughout the entire game. "I can't play with him," Lang said.
Then, Blatche finally decided to share and threw an awful pass that Arenas intercepted.
"If I was you, I'd quit," Daniels said, laughing and egging him on.
Arenas ended their misery with a pull up jumper for the victory.
"They've been talking trash for a couple of weeks," Arenas said. "I had to show them."
Blatche told a different story. "He had a tough night last night, so we decided to take it easy on him, to get his confidence back," Blatche said, smiling. "We can take a loss to help a teammate, ya feel me?"
When told that Blatche and Lang took the loss to help Arenas, Coach Eddie Jordan replied, "Well, if those two guys will wear Celtic green on Saturday, we'll be fine."
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