Around the NBA: Wizards All-Star not shy on his blog

Chris Beaven

Tired of questions about his knee and contract status, Gilbert Arenas stopped talking to reporters more than a week ago.

That doesn’t mean the Wizards All-Star guard has nothing to say. He’s just using his blog to deliver the message.

And give Arenas credit for honesty. He didn’t beat around the bush when writing about the playoffs, and the fight for the fourth through seventh seeds.

“I think everybody wants Cleveland in that first round,” Arenas wrote Friday for Agent Zero: The Blog File on “They’ve been a .500 team ever since they made that trade and everybody wants a chance at that matchup.

“We want Cleveland for our own reasons, we don’t think they can beat us in the playoffs three years straight. It’s hard to beat a team three years straight. We want to try our luck.”

The Cavs eliminated the Wizards in six games two years ago and swept them a year ago. Both series were in the first round. Arenas was out for all of that series last season.

Cleveland is trying to hold off Washington, Philadelphia and Toronto for the fourth seed and homecourt advantage in the first round. But the Cavs are limping to the finish.

They are 12-12 since Feb. 24 when Joe Smith, Wally Szczerbiak, Ben Wallace and Delonte West made their debut as Cavs after a three-team trade brought them to Cleveland.

One that got away

If the Wizards fall a game short of the Cavs for homecourt advantage, they have no one to blame but themselves.

Cleveland’s 90-89 win over Washington on Feb. 22, the day after that blockbuster trade, looms large today. The Cavs won that night at home despite dressing just eight players, including two guys only hours removed from being in the D-League. Washington’s DeShawn Stevenson had a chance to win the game at the buzzer, but sent a tough 7-foot runner off the top of the backboard.

More Arenas

Friday’s blog entry by Arenas could be his last for a while, as he wants to focus on the final days of the regular season. After missing almost the entire season because of a knee injury, he returned a week ago and has been coming off the bench. In his first four games back, he averaged 13.3 points per game.

“... I know most players, when they come back, especially when they’re the franchise player on the team, they can interrupt what’s going on,” he wrote.

“Instead of coming in and trying to fulfill what I used to do right away, I just wanted to come in as a role player and add to what the team was already doing. ... Me coming back should be a plus, not a minus.”

Still waiting

The Lakers are hoping for their own big late-season addition. But center Andrew Bynum remains on the mend from his knee injury Jan. 13, and he could be weeks away from coming back.

He spoke with Los Angeles media Friday, a day after the team announced he had not been cleared to return to full practices or contact drills. The team set no target day for his return, and Bynum didn’t have one when he talked.

Bynum said pain remains in the knee, and quick changes of direction, jumping, landing and backpedalling are “still a problem.” When asked if he could be done for the season, he said, “I’m hoping not, but anything’s possible at this point.”

Bynum made it clear that he does not want to suffer any long-term damage by coming back too soon. “I want to get all the way right before I return.”

Ready to go

Nuggets forward Kenyon Martin made sure he was focused for Denver’s showdown Thursday at Golden State. The Denver Post reported that Martin walked around the locker room before the game muttering comments aloud such as: “Let’s do this. If you’re scared, stay the (expletive) in here.”

The Nuggets won the game 114-105, putting them in great position to claim the eighth and final playoff spot out West.

24-second clock

- George Karl went with one of the biggest hunches of the season in Denver’s win at Golden State. After the Warriors ripped Denver for 37 first-quarter points, Karl turned to a zone defense that surprised even his star, Carmelo Anthony.

“We don’t even work on it,” Anthony told the Denver Post. “But after giving up 37 points, we had to change something.”

- Dallas locked up a playoff berth and a 50-win season this week and should not be overlooked once the playoffs begin. Dirk Nowitzki is playing like an MVP again. Josh Howard has taken his game up a notch. And Jason Kidd looks to be settling in at point guard.

- The Heat are the clubhouse leader for the NBA draft lottery on May 20. They have locked up the league’s worst record. Miami (14-65) needs to win two of its last three games to avoid having the worst record in the team’s 20-year history. The Heat went 15-67 in their expansion season of 1988-89.

Reach Repository sports writer Chris Beaven at (330) 580-8345 or e-mail