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WASHINGTON - Gilbert Arenas has a mission for the second half of the season. Arenas scored 46 points, including 33 in the first half, and the Washington Wizards beat the New York Knicks 110-89 Saturday night for their ninth straight home win. "I don't need to say anything, I really don't," Arenas said of originally being snubbed for the All-Star game. "I thought I played great the first half of the season. If not, I'm going to prove it now in the second half of the season. "I'm the Eastern Conference assassin right now. It's a tour, from city to city. I just hope they all have a good game plan." Arenas shot 13-for-16 from the field, including 7-for-10 on 3-pointers, and made 13 of 14 free throws. He made a season-high seven 3-pointers and had four steals and two assists. "I don't care what he calls himself as long as we continue to win and he does his job," Washington's Antawn Jamison said. "His job is to first come in and make my job and the rest of these guys' job easy. The guy is unbelievable and the scary thing is the sky's the limit. He's just scratching the surface and he's just learning how to play the game." The Wizards led 71-45 at halftime. Arenas left the game with 44 seconds remaining in the third quarter and did not return. "I thought coach was going to put me back in but he just didn't," said Arenas, who finished one point shy of his career high. "Once I looked at the stat sheet in the fourth quarter, but we were up 25. Maybe if it was a close game and we were fighting for the game. But when you're up 25, he's not going to jeopardize a player." The Washington franchise hadn't won nine consecutive home games since 1989, when the Bullets won 15 straight from Feb. 9-April 7. The Wizards, who have won 12 of their last 13 games at home, have won 16 of their last 22 overall. Reserve Antonio Daniels had 14 points as the Wizards (29-25) improved to four games above .500 for the first time since Nov. 12. Jamison added 13 points and six rebounds. "It feels much better right now because we're deeper into the season," Butler said. "This is the right time for a team to be peaking and we're doing a good job of playing together." Stephon Marbury, who was guarding Arenas, left with 55 seconds remaining in the first half and did not return. Marbury, who led the Knicks with 15 points, was bothered by a recurring left shoulder injury that forced him to miss 11 games earlier in the season.
"Yeah, I got hit again," Marbury said. "I was trying to front Antawn Jamison, but I had got hit prior to that. I think when I tried to front, I tried to push off, and that's when I really aggravated it. "I was starting to get back into a nice little rhythm, as far as shooting the ball and as far as attacking," Marbury continued. "Going to the basket, I just was like: If I get hit, I get hit. But I took another step backwards tonight." Quentin Richardson and Jackie Butler had 10 points apiece for the Knicks, who dropped to 4-23 on the road. Steve Francis scored nine and shot 3-of-9 in his second game with the Knicks. Arenas was 9-for-11, including 5-for-7 on 3-pointers, in the first half. He also was perfect on 10 free throws and had three steals and two assists. "Gilbert was relaxed in the locker room and during pregame warmups, so we didn't know before the game he would explode for 46 points on 16 shots," Wizards coach Eddie Jordan said. "We all know he is a special player and his specialness came out tonight." The 71 first-half points matched the Wizards' highest-scoring half of the season, set Nov. 11 against Seattle. Arenas, a two-time All-Star, established a career high for points in a quarter with 23 in the opening period. The only better first quarter in franchise history was Michael Jordan's 24-point effort on Dec. 29, 2001, against Charlotte at MCI Center. "It was unbelievable," Butler said. "He always has starts like that, but a guy like that is not trying to continue to shoot to go for records or anything. He's just playing good basketball and getting good rhythm shots. The guy had like 40 somewhere in the third quarter and he just chilled out after that. He was playing to win." The Wizards led 38-27 after the first quarter, eclipsing their previous first-quarter season-high of 35 points. Arenas has scored at least 30 points in 25 games this season and has broken the 40-point barrier eight times. He scored 47 points against Miami on Dec. 30. "He's great," Knicks coach Larry Brown said. "He made shots. He's phenomenal. We tried to run with him and gave up 71 points."