John Wall is going above and beyond to help the Washington Wizards' quest to make it into playoff position.
Carmelo Anthony just wants to believe the New York Knicks are capable of a better effort than they gave in their latest defeat.
With Wall in position to record a third straight triple-double, the Wizards can equal a season high with their fourth consecutive victory Saturday night against Anthony and the visiting Knicks.
A night after recording 29 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds in a 117-96 rout of Chicago, Wall put up 16, 14 and 13 as Washington (33-35) hung on for Thursday's 99-94 win at Philadelphia.
Tied for fourth in the league with a career-high four triple-doubles, Wall is looking to become the first Washington player in 30 years to accomplish that feat in three straight contests. Wall turned the ball over eight times but shot 11 of 19 against the Bulls to make at least 50 percent of his shots for the third time in a four-game stretch. He had a season-high nine turnovers and went 4 of 17 from the field but hit all eight free throws Thursday.
"He stepped up (Thursday), but the good thing is that John wasn't happy about it," coach Randy Wittman said.
Perfect in three games since losing five in a row, the Wizards are 10th in the Eastern Conference but 1 1/2 games out of the eighth and final playoff spot. Washington led by as many as 24, but allowed the 76ers to tie the score twice in the final 5 1/2 minutes. The Wizards scored their final nine points from the free-throw line.
''If you want to reach the next levels, you have to be more professional in finishing off a game," Wittman said.
Wittman should be happy that the Wizards have allowed an average of 90.3 points and 39.7 percent shooting in three games after yielding 110.8 and 48.9 percent from the field in the previous five.
Wall had 25 points but just four assists as New York (28-41) snapped a seven-game series skid with its 117-110 win at Washington on Halloween. Wall had 28 and 17 assists to help the Wizards avenge that defeat with a 111-108 victory at Madison Square Garden on Feb. 9, hitting four free throws in the final seconds.
With 37 points in the win and 33 plus 13 rebounds in the loss, two of Anthony's top three scoring games this season were against the Wizards.
Anthony has shot 52 percent while New York's gone 3-5 this month, and averaged 25.1 points in eight games prior to finishing with 18 in Wednesday's 121-85 loss at Golden State.
The Knicks' other starters totaled 10 points as the team shot 39.6 percent, allowed the Warriors to go 18 of 37 from 3-point range and were outscored 35-18 in the third quarter. That all added up to an irritated Anthony.
"At times we didn't even try to compete," he said.
"This is not an indication of who we are as a team (in terms of effort). We can bounce back and be the team we really are against the Wizards."