RICHMOND, Va. — Gilbert Arenas had 10 assists in 24 minutes, and the Washington Wizards beat the Memphis Grizzlies 101-92 on Tuesday night in the preseason opener for both teams.
The anticipated matchup of Arenas and Allen Iverson didn’t happen. Iverson, the Hampton, Va., native whose presence helped sell out Virginia Commonwealth University’s Verizon Wireless Arena, sat out with a strained left hamstring.
The 34-year-old Iverson, who signed as a free agent with the Grizzlies last month, was injured in a scrimmage on Sunday. He’ll have an MRI today in Memphis.
“I wouldn’t even look at it as being safe or smart,” Iverson said. “I can’t go. If it was Game 7 in the finals, I wouldn’t be able to go.”
Antawn Jamison led Washington with 20 points. Caron Butler added 15. Mike Conley scored 12 for Memphis.
Arenas, who has been limited to 15 games over the last two seasons due to three operations on his left knee, assisted on Washington’s first seven baskets. In just over 11 minutes in the first quarter, he had five points, hitting one of his two shots, and three of five free throws.
He ended up missing six of nine free throws, blocking a shot, committing three turnovers and stealing the ball twice — one of them spectacular. Late in the first quarter, Arenas nabbed the ball from Memphis’ Marc Gasol and leaped over the scorer’s table and landed on his feet.
Wizards Coach Flip Saunders said he planned to play Arenas between eight and 10 minutes, and was leery of resting him and having him to warm up again. But after Arenas spent the first half of the second quarter applying a hot pad and massaging his left knee, he played the final five minutes of the period and the first 7-1/2 minutes of the third quarter.
Arenas had a brief painful moment late in the first half. With 2:15 remaining, the Grizzlies’ Mike Taylor accidentally hit Arenas in the groin and was called for a foul. Arenas winced and missed his two free throws.
Iverson dressed and sat at the end of the bench for the first half. He didn’t even join in the team’s huddles during timeouts, preferring to watch the oncourt antics instead. Iverson failed to return for the second half.
Wizards G Javaris Crittenton missed the game with a strained tendon in his left foot. He’ll be out two weeks. ... Memphis F Darrell Arthur was not with the team. He’s missed the entire training camp with a strained pectoral muscle. ... One of the officials was Robbie Robinson, one of two replacements formerly fired by the NBA. There were few controversial calls and no prolonged arguments.
Javaris out for two weeks...Iverson still not playing.
I saw the wizards-cavs game on wednesday night and i thought they looked impressive. I thought that randy foye did a good job handling the point guard role, especially towards the end. Mike Miller had an offensive explosion but i thought that he really lacked on the defensive end. We have people that can score the points and get the assists (arenas, butler, jamison etc.) so it would have been nice to see him not get beat as much as he did. Plus, they beat the best team in the NBA last year. Granted they were missing their MVP who was out with the flu but still it is a sweet win. Im really looking forward to tuesdays game @ Philadelphia.