Who Blocked It Better? Bradley Beal vs. Gilbert Arenas | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

Who Blocked It Better? Bradley Beal vs. Gilbert Arenas

Updated: February 4, 2017

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Late in the fourth quarter of Washington’s 116-108 win over the Los Angeles Lakers, Bradley Beal executed a brilliant chase down block against D’Angelo Russell. Washington was clinging to a five-point lead at the time and the Lakers were threatening to put an end to Washington’s 15-game home winning streak.

D’Angelo raced down the court with Otto Porter in front of him and attempted a soft finger-roll. Beal, who was trailing the play, measured his steps, skied toward the rim, and emphatically slammed the ball off the backboard.

As Beal completed the improbable play, I was immediately reminded of another block by another Wizards guard that happened at the exact same spot at the exact same basket almost twelve years ago.

On May 7, 2005, Washington held a 3-2 lead over the Chicago Bulls in the first round of the NBA playoffs. The Wizards returned to Washington with a chance to close out the series after Gilbert Arenas hit his iconic buzzer-beater to save the Wizards from a historic collapse in Game 5.

The Bulls controlled the action for most of Game 6, leading by as many as 10 points, and they held a four-point advantage with under three minutes left in the game.

That’s when Kirk Hinrich picked Larry Hughes’ pocket in the backcourt and headed straight to the rim for an easy layup to put the Bulls up six points.

Gilbert Arenas had other ideas.

Hinrich, like Russell, chose to go straight at the rim and lay it up without using the glass. This gave Gilbert enough time to recover and attack the ball before it started its descent. Arenas batted the ball off the glass and landed on Hinrich. Hughes got the rebound and scored on the other end, sparking a 7-0 run to end the game—and the series.

Both defensive plays were incredibly athletic and came at crucial times late in the fourth quarter. Beal’s block may have been more emphatic but Gilbert’s takes the prize based on the importance of the game and the effect the play had on the Wizards’ win probability.

To this day, Gilbert’s play stands as the greatest block I have ever witnessed in person. As long as we are reminiscing about that fateful Game 6, here is the incredible ending where Hinrich throws the inbounds off Chris Duhon’s back and Jared Jeffries races for what turns out to be the game-winning dunk.

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Adam Rubin
Reporter / Writer at TAI
Adam grew up in the D.C. area and has been a Washington Bullets fan for over 25 years. He will not refer to the franchise as anything other than the Bullets unless required to do so by Truth About It editorial standards. Adam spent many nights at the Capital Centre in the ‘90s where he witnessed such things as Michael Jordan’s “LaBradford Smith game,” the inexcusable under-usage of Gheorghe Muresan’s unstoppable post moves, and the basketball stylings of Ledell Eackles.