WASHINGTON, (Reuters) – The Detroit Pistons held off the Washington Wizards 98-96 on Saturday with Gilbert Arenas denied a dramatic return from injury when his three-pointer was blocked in the closing seconds.
Arenas, playing for the first time this season, could only watch as Kwame Brown rejected his shot with two seconds to play, ending a three-game skid for the Pistons.
“I saw that Gilbert was going to go for the shot as soon as he got the ball,” Brown told reporters. “I jumped to contest it and I was able to get a piece of the ball.”
Arenas, who had missed 156 of the Wizards’ last 173 games due to three surgeries, said it felt good to be back.
“I feel fine right now,” he said. The stiffness usually doesn’t kick in until the body settles.”
Detroit (35-37) are eighth in the Eastern Conference, while Washington (17-57) have the worst record in the conference.
Richard Hamilton scored 31 points for the Pistons, including two free throws with five seconds to play that gave Detroit a 98-95 lead.
Arenas hit the first of two free throws a second later, but missed the second. He grabbed the rebound and fired off a three-pointer that could have won the game.
Brown blocked the shot and Washington’s Caron Butler got the rebound, missing a two-pointer.
“Kwame Brown did a great defensive job,” Arenas said. “I tried to use the ball to get some space but he was there.”
The Wizards guard finished with 15 points and 10 assists. Antawn Jamison led the Wizards with 21 points.