But after Arenas outplayed Williams during the Golden State Warriors' 100-94 victory over the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday night, Arenas didn't stick around to add anything to his statement on the court.
Antawn Jamison scored 25 points, and Arenas had 16 points and 11
assists as the Warriors withstood Jalen Rose's one-man comeback in
the second half for their fourth straight home victory over the Bulls.
"I don't know if he was any more excited for this one. Gilbert is always excited,'' Golden State coach Eric Musselman said. "He played a real solid floor game and got his teammates involved. We made a lot of progress in several areas we've been trying to improve.''
Arenas has felt slighted and overshadowed by Williams since they played in high school All-Star games together, and his antipathy only increased when Williams won the NCAA title at Duke over Arenas and the Arizona Wildcats.
But this time the Golden State guard's steady play on both ends helped the Warriors hold on in the tense final minutes, when the Bulls cut a 17-point lead to two. Rose scored 26 of his 34 points in the second half.
With 40 seconds left, Arenas deflected Rose's pass and dribbled the length of the court for a layup that sealed the win.
But Arenas, normally the most loquacious player in the Warriors' locker room, disappeared moments after the game, apparently content to let his play do the talking.
It must have been particularly sweet for Arenas, who was annoyed by Golden State's open desire to draft Williams last summer to supplant him as the point guard of the future.
Troy Murphy had 17 points and 13 rebounds as Golden State
grabbed a big early lead and held on despite a stirring second-half
performance by Rose, who carried Chicago back into it by shooting
9-of-12 after halftime.
The Bulls pulled to 96-94 with 2:26 left when Rose hit a
3-pointer to cap a 19-9 run. Chicago had the ball twice with a
chance to tie, but couldn't score.
"There are a ton of things you could point to,'' Rose said,
"but the bottom line is to come out and set the tone. We were
playing from behind all night, so it didn't matter how well we
played in the second half. It wasn't going to be enough.''
Adonal Foyle blocked Williams' layup attempt with 30 seconds left -- the last of eight blocks for Foyle, who almost didn't play after getting several teeth loosened during practice on Tuesday.
Rose dribbled the ball off his foot moments later, slamming his fist on the scorers' table in frustration.
Despite all the drama, the young Warriors never trailed. The Bulls lost their sixth consecutive road game.
"A team like the Bulls, when they're playing well, you have to disrupt their flow some way,'' Foyle said. "I was telling our guys to just keep letting them drive the lane. I was there every time, either for the block or to make them take a more difficult shot.''
Since 1999, the Bulls are 1-32 on the road in November,
including Tuesday night's 111-98 loss at Sacramento. The current
six-game trip doesn't get any easier for the Bulls: Shaquille
O'Neal is expected to make his season debut Friday night when
Chicago visits the Los Angeles Lakers.
"Besides our last 8 minutes, we weren't very good,'' said Bulls
coach Bill Cartwright, who might be contemplating a change to his
starting lineup. "We got outrebounded and pushed around. We
searched for guys who were looking to play today, looking to get
after it, but we couldn't find anybody until late.''
With the win, Golden State left the Lakers alone in last place
in the Pacific Division.
The Warriors built a double-digit lead in the second quarter
with a lineup featuring rookies Dunleavy and Jiri Welsch. Jamison
and Jason Richardson made offensive contributions down the stretch,
but the Warriors needed a few defensive stops to hold on.
Bulls G Fred Hoiberg, who played in Sacramento on Tuesday
night, missed the game with an illness. ... A.J. Guyton, who signed
with the Warriors on Monday, spent the past two seasons with the
Bulls. He missed two shots in his only minute of play. ... Danny
Fortson, who sat out two of the Warriors' previous four games, had
five rebounds. He has been slow to reclaim his spot in Golden
State's rotation after missing 16 days of training camp and the
regular season following his father's death.