Wall scores 37 as Wizards rally to beat 76ers 116-108
WASHINGTON (AP) A sloppy stretch for the Washington Wizards almost proved costly. Then John Wall took over against the overmatched Philadelphia 76ers.
Wall scored 16 of his 37 points in the fourth quarter, and the Wizards rallied for a 116-108 victory over the last-place 76ers on Monday night.
''You always appreciate a win but it's not the way we wanted to win,'' Wall said. ''I feel like we took a step back.''
Marcin Gortat added 13 of his 18 points in the fourth and grabbed a career-high 20 rebounds for Washington, which was outscored 26-6 by Philadelphia to open the second half before responding with a 16-0 run in the fourth quarter.
Markieff Morris had 16 points and 13 rebounds in his first double-double with Washington. It was his first start since joining the Wizards at the trade deadline.
Washington (29-30) has won six of eight since the All-Star break to move within 1 1/2 games of four teams tied for the last three Eastern Conference playoff spots.
In the Wizards' five previous wins, they held opponents under 100 points. This time, the 76ers scored 60 points in the second half, even with rookie center Jahlil Okafor sidelined by a bruised right shin.
Washington also turned it over 11 times after halftime, including eight times in the third quarter.
''We came out nonchalant, didn't defend, didn't move the ball, overdribbled,'' Wizards coach Randy Wittman said. ''I almost called the Commissioner to see if I could buy a couple more timeouts to use.''
Ish Smith had 25 points and reserve Carl Landry scored 15 for the 76ers, who were outrebounded 53-32 in their ninth straight loss. Philadelphia was officially eliminated from playoff contention, according to STATS, and hasn't won on the road since Jan. 20.
''I was proud of our games for a lot in that game. The third period, the camaraderie on the bench, the spirit on the floor,'' Philadelphia coach Brett Brown said. ''We just have to play longer.''
The Wizards trailed by seven before Wall spearheaded their run midway through the fourth.
Wall gave the Wizards the lead when he drove the lane, hit a layup while absorbing Robert Covington's foul, and finished the three-point play to make it 95-93.
Then he added a steal and a layup, Gortat converted a three-point play off a driving layup, and Morris hit a pair of free throws to make it 102-93 with 5:43 left.
Smith's 3-pointer cut it to 110-107 with 1:09 remaining. But Wall spotted Morris for a jumper and followed with a fadeaway.
''Sometimes when things aren't going our way, just be more aggressive,'' Wall said of his performance, ''but also do it in the team concept. Taking good shots, getting into a rhythm, getting to the basket, and just finishing plays.''
3 AND EASY
Philadelphia's Nerlens Noel made his first career 3-pointer in the third quarter on his first career try from beyond the arc. He finished with 11 points and six rebounds.
Morris also received his first technical foul since joining Washington. He was whistled for six with Phoenix before the trade.
76ers: Brown suggested Philadelphia could be looking to acquire a guard to fill the remaining spot on its roster. ''That seems to see the most likely place you should go or would go, and it's hard to argue that,'' Brown said. ... Okafor got hurt during his 26-point performance in Sunday's loss at Orlando. Brown said he thought the 20-year-old rookie would only miss one game. ... Hollis Thompson (upper respiratory infection) also sat out.
Wizards: C Nene (body soreness) and G/F Alan Anderson (left ankle) sat out after playing Sunday. ... Gortat and Morris each had 10 rebounds by halftime.
76ers: Hosts Charlotte on Wednesday.
Wizards: At Minnesota on Wednesday.